Dancing with my honey, my pals, on my own, and watching others dance — I love all dancing! When ballroom dance instructor Leon Turetsky offered this guest blog post, I was delighted…
Partner dancing, known as ballroom dancing, is one of the most rewarding activities couples can do together. You can learn how to dance for parties, weddings, and other social events. While the rest of the couples will be sitting down, you’ll be having a blast together.
Besides having fun together, couple dancing also makes for a great exercise, especially for those of you who don’t like going to the gym. You can motivate each other to go out and dance!
Okay so you’re sold on the idea of dancing together, but which dances should you focus on?
While there are more than 20 different Ballroom dances out there, I’d recommend you start with the Waltz, Rumba, and Swing:
1. Learn the Waltz
The Waltz is a classy dance that travels around the floor in a counterclockwise direction. Most of you may be familiar with the 1,2,3 count that is used in this dance. The reason you should learn how to Waltz is because the closed frame hold instills a very smooth and romantic feeling for couples. Also, it is based on a box step pattern which makes it very easy to learn for anyone.
2. Learn The Rumba
The Rumba comes originally from Cuba and unlike the Waltz stays mostly on one spot. The timing of this dance is slow, quick, quick. The Rumba is a great dance because it combines elegant movement with underarm turns and open breaks. This dance has plenty of moves in the closed position but allows couples to break apart into many other fancy moves. The is a great dance for those of you looking for variety.
3. Learn The Swing
The Swing is a dance that has triple steps from side to side, as well as rock steps. This dance has lots of turns, spins, arm changes and dips. Many of your favorite rock and roll songs will usually fit this dance. It’s the perfect dance for those couples looking to dance to faster music with a more energetic beat. Also, there are 2 styles of Swing you can start with – The Single time Swing, and the Triple time Swing. I’d recommend you start with the Single time first as it’s easier for beginners.
So what are you waiting for? The next time you’re looking for a new challenge, try some Ballroom dancing and ask them to start with the Rumba, Waltz or Swing. You can always expand into other dances later.
About Leon Turetsky: a professional Ballroom and Latin dance instructor, he runs Passion4dancing.com where he teaches people how to dance online with videos.
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My 8th Toastmasters speech: use visual aids. I only recorded myself from my desktop computer while hashing it out at home, so this is admittedly a bit funky, but I hope it’ll make you laugh the way it has others. The text is featured on Long Beach Underground — my good friend Peter’s brand new site dedicated to unsung artists. Check out his Facebook too, for great performances from recent his launch party.
Note the damp towel at my neck, under the hood of my green workout jacket. Pretend there’s a locker-room reek to the air around me, a whiff of some over sweet protein-maxed drink that’s spilled onto the gym bag at my feet. Ignore how, under the above-the-waist stuff, I’ve got on a flamenco skirt. I’m aiming for a, albeit girly version, of a Rocky Balboa vibe.
Pumping my left fist into the air while grasping the lyric sheet in my right, anyone can hear how off-key my rendition of the “Rocky” movie theme is. I’m no professional singer, and I don’t care to be one.
I’m here to praise the Amateur.
Who hasn’t watched at least one of Hollywood’s billion variations on the ultimate American icon — the underdog? Those characters who never give up clawing their ways to their goals? No matter how many times they’re knocked down, again and again they dust themselves off to start all over.
Underdogs surpass all. For them lamentable backgrounds and situations are jet fuel. They spur them to dream bigger, work harder, and stay persistent! In the end, like phoenixes rising from ashes with moon beams and sunshine combined to halo their outstretched wings, movie underdogs always win.
Phooey. My praise is reserved for the Amateur.
The underdog fantasy is encrusted with sayings in the vein of, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” and, “Do what you love, follow your dreams, and you’ll win lots of praise.” This is where Jiminy Cricket warbles “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
Amateur is stronger than all that! To the Amateur, money and praise are irrelevant. That’s because the Amateur is defined by the sincerest of love.
Look up the definition for Amateur. Better yet, don’t. All you’ll find are filthy words best not repeated. Words that have zilch to do with how the root of Amateur, is Amour, the French word for Love.
It may take a while to agree with me, given that it took me five years to arrive at this level of respect Amateurs. That’s because, for five years, I tried to master the maddeningly impossible to learn 12-beat rhythm of flamenco dance.
Taking my cue from underdog lore, for those five years I labored to become decent at flamenco. My efforts included:
attending several group classes per week
taking private lessons
practicing at outside of class
buying custom fitted shoes from Spain
experimenting with different teachers
sewing my own costume
listening to flamenco music wherever I went, whatever I did
watching flamenco movies and documentaries
reading about flamenco
hoping, praying, dreaming, talking — all about wanting to get good at flamenco
For people like me, Flamenco is a cruel love. Picture me:
swirling my hands as nearly like graceful doves as I could
arcing my arms as arabesque-ish as possible
standing as straight as solid as I might, rat-a-tat-tatting my heels for all I’m worth
swishing my skirt with all the emotion and conviction I was able to muster
None of it mattered. Nothing ratcheted into place. I never became anywhere near wonderful at it, nowhere close to a success at that damned 12-beat flamenco rhythm. If I was lucky, maybe on a super good day, I attained mediocrity.
It took all that, those five infuriating years, to fling aside my flamenco practice skirt.
That’s when I had my epiphany. Forget about experts and professionals. Amateurs — Amateurs! — are the ones who deserve praise!
Sure, experts and professionals work hard. But its easy get out of bed every day to practice something fun that you’re getting paid for. It’s painless to sink money behind money into a goal when a payoff is guaranteed.
Yeah, some experts and professionals swear they’re not doing it for the money. Whether they’re telling the truth or not, those truckloads of encouragement go a long way. So do the ribbons, trophies, and bragging points. With everyone exalting them, telling them how tremendous they are, how their dancing benefits the world of today and tomorrow, how could experts and professionals not keep at their goals?!
Real strength lies in committing to an endeavor devoid of all promise of any external validation. It’s deciding to enjoy it regardless of people sneering at one’s lack of mastery. Moreover, that strength defines mastery of the art of living a good life!
Life is not just a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s not some race toward a goal. I’m not racing to be born or to be in the middle of things. I’m not racing to die.
Life is every note of the entire song. Its every dance step. It’s savoring every moment. It’s embracing every pratfall, every misstep.
Only Amateurs transcend mastery of the 12-beat rhythm of flamenco. Only Amateurs are experts of what’s truly important — the call and the beat of one’s own heart.
All hail the Amateur!
What do you think of amateurs? Are you one?
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