Ballroom Dance Technique Tips

  1. Start in closed position. That means each partner's right foot is pointing between the other partner's feet.  Each partner is facing the other partner's right shoulder.  Do not turn your bodies to face each other.  Your bodies should be parallel to each other and slightly offset to the left of center.
  2. Beginners and novices should NEVER watch their feet (at dance speeds).  Here's why.
  3. Learn "school figures" that are done on walls and corners.  Make your turns and figures that involve turns conform to the school figures using 45, 90, 135, 180 degrees, etc.  Watch the walls so that after a 180 degree figure you are facing the opposite wall.  This will help you develop the control and precision that will allow you to go exactly where you want to.  Once you are on the dance floor, you can relax these limits, but following the school figures always looks better.  If you can't do the school figures "right", you won't be able to control your dancing very well.  
  4. Teach on consistent compass headings.  Teachers should be aware of significant gender differences between men and women. Women, in general, are better at seeing relationships; they navigate using landmarks.  Men navigate in terms of directions.  This means that, for most men, starting to learn a new step is just like learning to go somewhere.  Change the direction or compass heading, and it become learning to go someplace else! There are always exceptions, but, most of the time, changing compass headings during the teaching of a step results in losing many leaders.  We get frustrated when a teacher fails to account for this basic gender difference.  Advanced teachers I have seen never make this common mistake..  It is imperative that a good teacher take this into consideration.  Never change the directions used when teaching a new step to men, until the step is thoroughly learned on one compass heading.  If a part of a new step ends up on a different compass heading than the earlier part, ALWAYS start the next part on the same heading that the last part ended.  Do not rotate the compass heading while teaching the step.  For example, the cross-body lead in the cha-cha begins on one direction and finishes facing the opposite direction.  If you are teaching a sequence that includes the cross-body lead, and then adds a new step, the new step should start facing the direction the cross-body lead ended on.
  5. Learn and follow ballroom dance floor etiquette.
  6. Some dance figure names
  7. Lead and Follow FAQ

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2015-12-01 at 11:48 and has been accessed 33305 times at 239 hits per month.