Ballroom dancing

An RKO publicity still of Astaire and Rogers d...
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My wife and I started taking ballroom dance lessons last month to celebrate our 25th anniversary and have really enjoyed it.  It is a great way to spend time together and learn something new.  I never liked free form dancing but ballroom is much different.  The key for me is just breaking it down and getting lots of repetition.

Do any of you do ballroom dancing?  What do you like about it?

We’re about ready to venture out into the public.  A friend told us about this place in the Heights that plays some big band music at least one Saturday a month.  Any other good places to go in the North Houston area?  We thought it would be fun to get some friends to go out together now and then.

We’ve covered a lot of dances – Rumba, Cha cha, Waltz, Foxtrot, Salsa, Swing, Two step, and more.  Some are progressing more than others!  We were leaving one night and I noted that I really enjoyed the Mamba.  My wife pointed out that a mamba is a poisonous African snake and that I probably meant the Rumba.  (She was right, though I should have claimed I meant it as a combination of the Samba and the Rumba).

We are taking at a Fred Astaire studio close to our house.  We’ve been really pleased with the instructors.  Very thorough and friendly.  If you tell them we referred you it is only $25 for a startup package with two private lessons and one group lesson (and they give us a free lesson).  The group lessons aren’t very large – we’ve never had more than 5 people in a class.  Note: It gets more expensive after the trial: There are packages that average $100 for a private lesson and a week of group lessons (i.e., $400 for 4 private lessons and 4 weeks of unlimited group lessons).  But group lessons are only $25 and you can learn a lot in those.

They also have free Saturday night open dancing for students, sort of a ballroom dance party.  They play music for all the different dances and are glad to give you tips along the way.

14 thoughts on “Ballroom dancing”

  1. I just got back from a ballroom dance party. Love it! It’s good exercise, fun, mentally stimulating, expressive, and it makes me happy. 🙂

    It also teaches me a lot about the Christian marriage dynamic. In ballroom dancing, as in Christian marriage, the man leads, and the woman follows his lead. They work together as a team, both being equally important and necessary to the dance, but with distinct roles. The man needs to lead gently, but firmly, making his intentions clear and doing his best to bring the best out of his dance partner. The woman follows the man’s leading, being sensitive to what direction he is taking her in and going with the flow of the movement he initiates. Much courtesy and grace is needed from both parties. Both will make mistakes. The key to getting the best out of one’s dance partner is encouragement for what they do right, coupled with diplomatic suggestions for improvement. Without the encouragement, the suggestions for improvement don’t go down as well. If one party gets the dance completely wrong, the other party has to stop them and gently indicate what it should be. Sometimes, there are times when the man gets the timing wrong. The woman can help him with the timing. But at other times it’s best to just keep going with the beat in his head. It feels frustrating sometimes but it works out better than struggling with your dance partner.

    I’m single, but the above looks a lot like the Christian marriage dynamic to me.

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  2. Oddly enough, I taught ballroom dancing once upon a time. In fact that is where I first met my wife – I was teaching ballroom dance for a Christian singles group, and needed a partner (she taught tap, jazz, and ballet).

    Personally I think you can tell a lot about a culture by the way they dance – it is no coincidence that ballroom dancing reached it’s popularity after the two great wars. It’s actually one of my favortie subjects.

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  3. My wife and I took it up for awhile … until that first actual dance. When the same pretty young thing came up to me TWICE at the “ladies choice” dances and asked me to dance with her, it instantly became a problem for her. Yeah … we don’t dance much anymore — never in public.

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      1. That was the most uncomfortable part of our lessons. We had private lessons and it was a 20-something woman who was teaching us, and I had to dance with her to learn my part. Very uncomfortable.

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      2. I know the feeling. Our instructors are good at teaching us how to do the dances without actually dancing with us, though now and then they do so. My biggest concern was that one instructor was trying to chit-chat with me when we danced, and I was tempted to ask, “What makes you think I can dance and talk at the same time?!”

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      3. Our instructor danced with both of us, one at a time, until we got the hang of it, then put us together while she would just instruct from the side line, although every now and then she would have to do the dance with us again- such as when we learned the twirl and stuff like that.

        She never talked while dancing except to give directions – so we didn’t have to worry about THAT problem. :oD

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