What are Ballroom dances?
Ballroom dancing refers to one of many partner style dances, which are mostly danced in a social setting. Smooth or Standard Styles include Foxtrot, Waltz, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, and Tango, while Rhythm or Latin Styles include Rumba, Cha, Cha, Samba, Mambo, Salsa, Merengue, Swing (or Jive) and others.
Do I need a partner to take dance classes?
No partner, no problem. We have many advanced students, both male and female, who come and assist us with our classes. Provided you let us know in advance that you will be attending a class without a partner, we will contact one of our assistants to be there for you.
Do I need special shoes for dancing?
For your first class, no, you do not. You can wear comfortable street shoes. As you progress with your lessons, dance shoes will make a huge difference. Regardless of the shoes you will wear for your lesson, to help preserve our dance floor, we do ask that you carry in the shoes you will be wearing to the lesson.
Some reasons why you should consider investing in a pair of dance shoes:
- Most women’s dress shoes do not have the flexibility, fit, or comfort suitable for dancing. Some women who wear them complain of discomfort when dancing. Heels are more susceptible to breaking and slanting to one side if they are too high and thin.
- Most dancers soon realize that heels higher than two inches make energetic dancing for long periods of time a painful experience. Dance shoes come with flared heels that are preferred for the Latin dances that require more stability.
- A man’s dress shoe tends to be too bulky, long and heavy. The soles are too rigid and do not have enough slip to spin and slide properly. Non-slip soles are essential. Look for suede soles, which provide the right combination of grip and slide. Rubber sneaker-like soles can stick to the floor and cause knee injuries; and leather soles can slide too much.
- Dance shoes have thinner soles than normal shoes. Most dancing shoes have a steel shank for support. The shoe material is flexible and lightweight.
What do I wear to classes?
The attire worn to ballroom dance classes is as varied as the people who attend them. Some wear jeans or slacks. Some women prefer to dance in skirts or dresses. Wear clothes that are comfortable and, perhaps, a little loose, to give you the freedom to move without constriction. Another thing to consider when choosing your clothing is temperature. Most studios are kept a little on the cool side, so you may be tempted to wear a sweater or long-sleeved shirt. We advise against this. Your body temperature will increase as you dance, and some people will perspire.
A short-sleeved, lightweight shirt will serve you well. Be clean, casual and comfortable. If you think you may need a sweater, bring one that can be taken off if you get too hot.
Where do I start?
Signing up for a beginner group class is recommended for several reasons. Group classes are pay-as-you-go, so there is no huge expense. Everyone in the group is just like you, a beginner, so there’s less chance of feeling silly if you miss a step or two. (And you will. But so will everyone else. You’ll quickly learn to just laugh it off and keep going.) There’s a lot of fun during group classes as everyone learns new skills and makes mistakes along the way. You’ll be surprised how quickly you begin looking forward to the next class. One-hour beginner group classes are one per week for four weeks.
Does Ballroom Dancing require a lot of practice?
It sure helps. But, most importantly, it’s not only fun, it’s the reason you’re taking lessons in the first place. Why take lessons if you are not going to dance? And going to dances is, well, practice! At Integral Ballroom, we hold a practice dance every Friday.
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of our studio dances and the role they play in honing your skills. Make plans to attend whenever possible, even when you’re new and just starting out. Maybe even ESPECIALLY when you’re new and just starting out! The seasoned dancers are always happy to help a newcomer and your instructor is always there. This dance provides a perfect complement to your classes.