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Published September 7th 2013
Get in to dance
So, have you ever questioned yourself, "Would I be good at dancing?" Is learning how to dance on your bucket list? Are you interested, but not sure whether it's worth it to give a try because you think you have two left feet? There's no such thing as two left feet. Don't hesitate – just do it!
Rage Box Contemporary Dance Centre Source: Michael Muccioli / Wikimiedia Commons
Currently, I am not a part of any dance school and am not advertising for any particular school. But having learnt a wide variety of dances a few years ago, and loving it, I want to advocate dancing, especially since it has boomed in the last decade or so when shows like So You Think You Can Dance became so popular.
So I've come up with 6 questions you can ask yourself before trying it out:
1. Have you ever gone dancing anywhere and enjoyed it? 2. Do you have two legs? 3. Are your joints and muscles in good working order? 4. Do you understand rhythm?
5. Do you know basic shapes like a square, circle, and triangle? 6. Do you dance like Elaine on Seinfeld?
A couple doing the tango. Source: Tibchris / Wikimiedia Commons
If you answered yes to all those questions (except question 6 of course), then you can dance!! I didn't include a question about getting fit because learning to dance at the beginning is not heart pumping at all.
But "I don't have a partner", you say. When you go to lessons, you don't need a partner. If you do group lessons, there will be guys learning how to dance as well and they can be your partner. If there are not enough guys, usually the instructor can be your partner. Good dancing schools will have a good instructor to student ratio to give you enough practice with a partner. Of course, this will translate to extra costs. If you do private lessons, then your instructor will obviously be your partner.
But "Which dance should I learn?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you briefly about the dance styles which will hopefully help you decide.
Contemporary modern dance. Source: Barry Goyette / Wikimedia Commons
Latin dance styles include Cha-Cha, Rumba, Salsa, Mambo, Samba, Argentine Tango, Paso Doblé, Bachata and more recently Zumba (if you call that a dance). These are sexy styles that get you and your partner really close. Yes, I see your face cringe when I say this but when I mean close, I don't mean crotch grinding close. There will be no grinding like Miley Cyrus in the latest twerk. Being close in dance position is totally different to how you're thinking. Like with all dances, it's not sexual, unless you want it to be. Although, there are a lot of hip movements, so if you like shaking your butt, this is for you.
Salsa is particularly popular in the social dance world. There are always dances happening in Adelaide every week, so if you want a good night out, learn Salsa. I warn you though; a lot of people go to Salsa nights to meet new people, not just to dance. So if this is not your scene, then don't go. Zumba is conducted like a group aerobics class at a gym to get your heart pumping. I don't exactly call this a dance but it does have the basic hip shaking movements.
Ballroom dancing includes Waltz, Fox Trot, Ballroom Tango and Quick Step. Derived from the word "ball" in the 16th Century, it's more formal. These are supposed to look classic, effortless and graceful. If you like to look elegant in dancing, this is for you. Learning Ballroom will also open up competitions if you're interested.
Swing dance include Jive, Rock n Roll, East Coast Swing, and West Coast Swing. They are fun and lively, and will definitely get your energy going. When you get to the advanced stage, there are lots of cool tricks. There are lots of Rock n Roll clubs and dance events happening. Again, this is another world to explore if you wish.
Jazz and contemporary dance are more modern dances, emerging early in the 20th Century. They can be performed solo, with a partner or in a group. They have their own style and movement so these steps help with your overall coordination. These styles are not so popular socially, but may lead to jobs in dance and theatre companies if you're serious.
Hip hop is for you if you want that "cool" edge. Even if you don't think you have it in you, it will develop. It now has diverged into many different forms, such as lyrical hip-hop, breakdancing, krumping, and popping and locking. This will be good if you want to show off some moves somewhere without having a partner.
Ballet, I believe is for those who are serious about dancing. However, a little bit of ballet will help with most of the other dance styles that I've mentioned because most of those basic dance moves come from ballet technique. So if you just learn the basic technique, it will help with everything else.
Other dances that I've done include Belly dancing and pole dancing. Belly dancing is a good start if you want to be less like a piece of wood. I didn't find it too stimulating as it doesn't really have difficult techniques. Pole dancing is a lot more difficult than it looks. If you want a toned body, this is it, even from the beginning. My arms and upper body would get really sore even after the very first lesson. However, both belly dancing and pole dancing can boost your confidence and in being comfortable with your body.
I started to learn how to dance for my wedding dance. I fell in love with it after that and continued with it for quite a few years. My favourite dances are Latin and Ballroom. I have spent quite a bit of money, but money well spent. The dance school that I went to was on the expensive side. When I tried the cheaper schools though, I found that the quality of the teaching is not there. You get what you pay for. So depending on your budget and what you like, I say give it a try. What have you got to lose?