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What dance should I learn first?

Dance Talk Blog - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 5:12pm
What dance should I learn first? Read the complete answer here!

Having taught partner dancing for almost four decades, I have been asked this same question hundreds of times. I will briefly answer this question for partner genres of dancing like American style ballroom including rhythm and smooth, East & West Coast swing dance, Latin dances including salsa, bachata and merengue and Argentine tango. I will also  provide some links for further reading.

Many people have the privilege of starting dance lessons as children, training in ballet, jazz and tap. Nothing is cuter than a group of toddlers dancing the yellow, ducky dance as their first performance. My nieces had this fantastic opportunity to perform and acquire grace and coordination at a ballet school as children, pre-teens and teenagers. This head start in learning dance makes it easier to pick up new dance genres throughout ones life.

Many of us, however, started later. I started learning formal dance in college with ballet and jazz classes. Later, in my mid-twenties, I walked into a ballroom dance studio and began training in partner dancing and also was mentored in dance teaching by many experienced and even famous dancers. After three years training and teaching in a ballroom dance studio in San Diego, California, I branched out on my own and have continued to run my own teaching company since 1980.

I recommend starting with one of these dance genres if you have never danced before and/or have no musical background:

Recommended for newcomers to dance!

East Coast Swing/Jitterbug  (Read more about East Coast Swing here)
American style Waltz (box step, etc.)
American style Foxtrot (walking steps)
American style Rumba (box step, breaks)
Merengue (Latin walking steps)
Salsa Dance (Club Latin dance with Basics, Turns)

Recommended after the fundamentals of dance have been learned.
I recommend these dance genres after one has acquired a few basic concepts including the concepts of rock steps (breaking action), walking steps (forward & back) and triple steps (three weighted steps for two beats of music).

West Coast Swing (Read more about West Coast Swing here)
Argentine Tango (walking and rock steps)
Hustle  Dancing (either L.A. style or N.Y. style using rocks & walking steps)
Night Club 2 Step (side steps and break steps)
American style Cha cha (triples steps and rock steps)

Additional Recommended Dance Genres.
There are a variety of other dance genres to pick up in each of the major groups of partner dances as follows:

Swing Dance (Read about the swing dance styles here)
Lindy Hop
East Coast Swing (triple)
Carolina Shag
St. Louis Shag

* Read the Differences between Lindy, East & West Coast swing and Jitterbug here.

American Ballroom:
Viennese waltz

International Style:
Latin Dances include Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive and Paso Doble
Standard includes: Foxtrot, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep

Club Latin:

Blues Dance:
Improvisational dance to blues music

Country Western Dance:
Country Western 2-Step
C&W Waltz
C&W Cha Cha
Cowboy cha cha
C&W Polka
Pony Swing
Rodeo Swing

The questions of why humans dance and when it started will be featured in future blogs and articles. Please check back and read more articles by Pattie Wells here.

Categories: Ballroom Blogs

Style comes from Habits

Dance Forums - Thu, 09/13/2012 - 10:45am
Decided to start a new thread on this idea, that personal style comes from an habitual way of dancing. And then, if one is dancing habitually, can they be "in the moment", whatever that means?

We recognize the individual style of many well known dancers, because they have certain movements that they regularly do. I guess you could call that a habit.

The chu chi girls `the chu chi slide` dance competition!! :)

Dance Forums - Thu, 09/13/2012 - 4:31am

After recently hitting number 7 in Belgium's official top 40, featuring with 1950, The Chu Chi Girls are
now working on a solo album. Here is their first promo POP VIDEO of there debut song as solo artists.


The Chu Chi Girls


Lead singer Danni, 21 from London
Lead singer Becki, 20 from Leeds
Rapper Chelsea, 21 from Manchester
Backing singer Laura, 21 from Reading

The Chu Chi Girls CHU CHI SLIDE DANCE...



Throughout the decades from the 60's to 90's there has always been a formation routine simple dance in the shape of a song
In the 70s and 80's there was "oops up side your head" and "gimmie some"
In the 90's there was "The Ketchup Song", "Saturday Night", "The Cha Cha Slide"

Think of all the formation dance games available for the nintendo wi... and even in arcades.
LMFAO proved that kids can rock, when the shuffle came out, now we present The Chu Chi Girls - Th Chu Chi Slide...

The Competition

The Chu Chi girls will be touring England promoting the brand new single "Me and My Chihuahua" and the new formation dance phenomenon "The Chu Chi Slide"

Age Restrictions: 10-17
Minimum Number of People needed to enter: x2 per group
Maximum Number of people can enter: x10 per group

How to enter??
You will need - A phone (With Camera) or camcorder, or camera.. Any equipment that has capability to record film (Video),
Also you will require a Pc or Mac.

1) Have someone film you performing the dance (Maximum Length Of Clip 15 seconds)

2) Upload your clip to youtube following instructions here - youtube.com/watch?v=_O7iUiftbKU

3) Copy link that Youtube provides you, Become friends on facebook.com/chelsea.beckydanni
Then paste YouTube link to Facebook wall. we have created this Facebook especially for competition.

The 50 best groups from all entrants will be chosen, The the Chu Chi Girls will pick the best 30 groups from the 50,
These 30 Groups will be featured in the new Pop Video for "The Chu Chi Slide". They will get to meet the Chu Chi
Girls for the day while filming the video.

The Best Group on the Day of filming will be chosen as the overall winners and will win a prize of £500.00 worth of
Music and Fashion Vouchers from the coolest high street stores, and Goody bags.

The 29 Runners up will get a goody bag.

Anyone just watch AGT?

Dance Forums - Wed, 09/12/2012 - 9:09pm
What did you think of the Untouchables performance tonight on America's Got Talent?

DC Dancesport Inferno

Dance Forums - Wed, 09/12/2012 - 3:40pm
Get excited, DC Dancesport Inferno is fast approaching!! Who is planning to attend?

Early Registration ends 9/30 so sign up fast. However registration will continue into late October (just without the nice little discount).

For more information, please go to: http://www.dcdancesportinferno.com/

ISTD Silver Rumba Syllabus.

Dance Forums - Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:07am
I am currently in the process of choreographing my Rumba routine. I am at Silver level under the ISTD and I would like to incorporate a syncopated Cuban Rock into this routine, my question is: Would this be acceptable for my grade?

*It does not appear in the syllabus book and so I am unsure of whether it would be an issue for me to dance one.

*The variation I would like to use is: Hockey stick - New york to the right - SYNCOPATED CUBAN ROCK - Switch turn to the left

As a final note I would like to say that I am open to new ideas (that are acceptable at silver level) specifically more advanced variations.

Learn Salsa (PR-style) in the Caribbean

Dance Forums - Tue, 09/11/2012 - 11:54pm
hola a todos
Quiero aprender a bailar Salsa (de preferencia Salsa Puerto Riqueña y no Cubana), ya tengo una idea pero me concidero principiante (y lamentablemente no con demasiado talento). Quisiera tomar unos cursos intensivos (mas o menos 2 semanas) directamente en el Caribe. Alguien tiene experiencia con algo asi, me puede tal vez aconsejar un lugar, una escuela, un profesor ... ??? Lo importante es que sea de verdad intensivo (y sobre todo efectivo ). GRACIAS

I'd like to learn Salsa (PR-Style), I've already some knowledges but I'm still a beginner (without so much talent). I'd like to take a intense course (about 2 weeks) directly in Puerto Rico o somewhere around there (Spanish speeking). Does somebody have any experience with something like that, can recommend me a scool or a teacher ... ??? I don't want to be a profesional but I want to be able to dance at the Salsa parties around here. I would apreciate a lot if someone can help me. THANKS

Which is more difficult, Ballroom or Latin?

Dance Forums - Tue, 09/11/2012 - 11:24am
I have had a lot of discussion with various professionals & students and still do not have a straight answer. Is there one? or is it just personal preference? I am looking in terms of technique, characterisation and rhythm here.

Forum like DF in Italy?

Dance Forums - Tue, 09/11/2012 - 10:10am
Can anyone suggest a forum in Italy that is constructed more or less like DF and has both latin and ballroom sections? Thanks for your help! It goes without saying that if my question is not pertinent, please delete it from DF!

What kind of dance group should I join?

Dance Forums - Tue, 09/11/2012 - 7:29am
I'd like to join a dance group that would do dances similar to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzM-miOUfZs this one. Basically, I want to learn a choreography to fun, upbeat music. What should the keywords be for my search?

I live in Berlin, in case any of you happens to know a good dance studio there.
Thanks in advance!

Fausto Carpino - Stéphanie Fesneau

Dance Forums - Tue, 09/11/2012 - 6:19am
Dancing to a milonga :

Top competitions for amateur 9 dance?

Dance Forums - Mon, 09/10/2012 - 9:38pm

So I have been thinking that I want to become a 9-dance guy over time, and hopefully becoming half of a top couple in 9-dance at the amateur level. I have been under (a perhaps false?) assumption that USADance Nationals would be the biggest and most important competition if I wanted to be a champion in 9-dance. From what I understood, I would want to compete 9-dance at an NQE, qualify for Nationals, and win there.

But now I'm understanding that there are other events that might be more important/prestigious in the USA for 9-dance? From what I get, NDCA has other "National" events, including USDC and Grand Nationals, and BYU holds a National event too...and these are more prestigious than the USADance Nationals?

Can someone who is knowledgeable about these explain which of these events have amateur 9-dance, and what is the order of importance of these comps in regards to this. It doesn't really matter (I'd not be competitive in this for years to be honest), but I'm curious so I can figure out what I am gunning for.

Womens Size 12+ Ballroom Dance Shoes??

Dance Forums - Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:02pm
I'm having GREAT difficulty finding size 12 (maybe 12.5 or 13) ballroom dance shoes online. Capezio size 12 were just a little too small. The only other website I found has size 12 but they are special order/final sales. Any suggestions? Looking for lower heel latin style...help!

Double Oven? or not...suggestions?

Dance Forums - Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:12pm
ok, all y'all. TC (yes I'm outting you) and I have been discussing the things I will be doing to my kitchen (not changing the footprint) updating ideas after I retire in 10 days.
I would LOVE to change-out my 3-year old, stainless steel counter high, glasstop, all electic oven/range. It has one single big oven box and a lower warming drawer.
That said, I love love love to bake. With the exception that using a big single oven box for a cookie sheet of goods, or a lasagna or one pie...really heats up the kitchen.
TC asked, double oven? well, I had one of those in previous house,
I saw a counter high gas range/oven that has a smaller oven box just
under the burners and then a larger oven box. I'm thinking the smaller oven would be perfect for my "single" bakery items when I'm not cooking for a crowd and it won't heat the kitchen up as much.
Does anyone cook/bake with one of these stove/oven combinations? any DF reviews on such a thing would really help me to decide "keep current big oven/range" or "go with counter high double oven/range"....:cool: A few thoughts are greatly appreciated before I jump into updating in the next few weeks.:rolleyes:

Beginner Study Both Vals + Milonga Advisable?

Dance Forums - Mon, 09/10/2012 - 2:18am
Would it be advisable for a beginner to start out taking a class in both Vals and Milonga on the same night?

The school I would be going to has a Level 1 class in Vals immediately following an L1 workshop in Milonga. Since I would already be at the school, it would be very convenient to take both classes consecutively.

However, I was wondering if it might be confusing for a beginner to take both styles at the same time?

I'm not a rank beginner. I did attend one two month long class in Argentine Tango a year ago. Almost all we learned how to do though, was walk forward and backward with a contra-body motion.

mp3 player that can slow down the pace of the music

Dance Forums - Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:31am
I am looking for an mp3 player that can slow down the temp of the music without changing the pitch with an external microphone. Budget is about 100-200 dollars


Tong Li Lost in Love Translation

Dance Forums - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 10:07pm

I really like this waltz song Lost in Love by Tong Li in Ballroom Stars 4 CD however I think it is in Chinesse ?

Can anyone tell me what is the lyric translation to this song ?

Thanks !

How to handle partner search/change

Dance Forums - Sun, 09/09/2012 - 6:03pm
This is also about importance of equality in dance partnership.

For whatever reason, and maybe because I tend to jump into dance partnerships too soon, all my three amateur competitive partnerships were with guys who were either much older, or much younger, came from different dance background, or were significantly better than me. It worked for me as I was growing in my dancing, but first two partnerships were short lived and it was obvious to all involved parties from the very beginning.

I am still with partner #3 and we started very recently. He is in the "much older/much better" category. I am paying 100% of the lessons and am constantly reminded how much I need to advance to catch up to his level. I don't mind that, but questions like "why do I dance with him?" started to pop into my head more and more often. He is very respectful and encouraging, but I can't stop feeling that I am dancing with a teacher, not an equal partner. Besides, he has another practice partner and I never got a clear explanation why would he have two partners. We don't have any competition plans just yet...

Well, someone else just approached me who is my age, just lost his partner, and is approximately my skill level. So, being myself, I am tempted to jump into that new partnership #4. It would be so new and interesting to be in an "equal" partnership, or so I think. I also think that maybe I can keep dancing with both of them for a while and see, just not sure how either of them would take it.... Needless to say, the whole situation also makes me feel a bit awkward.

I know no one can decide for me, but any thoughts and/or suggestion on how to handle this are welcome.

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