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Dancing Tips for BeginnersDANCING TIPS FOR BEGINNERSIntroductionCouples dancing – they make it look so easy on television – but if you’ve never doneit before it can present all kinds of problems. Not only can it feel awkward, but youare expected to remember so many things at once. When you first start, just gettingthe basic steps right is hard enough; let alone worry about what to do with the rest ofyour body!Learning to dance is like learning to drive: difficult and clumsy when you start, but as youpractise you’ll develop a feel for it, and before you know it the movement will become secondnature. My suggestions is to not let the little things bug you; and to embrace the idea oflooking silly for the first few lessons, instead of giving up, because you WILL eventually getbetter and if you stick with it you’ll be dancing like a pro. Well maybe not as good as theprofessionals, but hey; dancing is a GREAT skill to have in life. Girls love guys who candance and guys love girls who can move – but more importantly dancing is fun! I know a lotof people who were pretty nervous and said they had two left feet when they started, butwithin a few lessons were already looking pretty damn good on the dance floor, and now havethe confidence to get up and spin with the best of them.Hi, my name is Andrew, and this is a little guide/document I’ve wanted to write for a while,and I plan on uploading it to both my own website (www.andrewnoske.com) and also theuqdance website (www.uqdance.net). UQDance is social dance club at the University ofQueensland which I joined a year ago and has been HEAPS of fun for me. This year (2006) Iam treasurer and we have lots of new members (a.k.a. “newbies”), and so I guess that’s whatmade me finally decide to write this!I’d also like to thank some good friends of mine; Michelle Kiob (secretary of uqdance),Nadim Cody (president of uqdance) and Mariah Andersson (friendly blonde Swedishchick); for their suggestions and proof reading. Also I’d like to thank those people who leftonline feedback for this article here – especially Jon Memmott, the creator of Dance-Card(www.dance-card.com), for uploading it (2008). I wanted this document to outline some ofthe common mistakes people make and list some important advice. For your first few lessons,you shouldn’t worry about these things too much; but at the same time you DO want to breakbad habits as early as possible. It was Michelle’s idea to also add a section about danceetiquette, which we think is important for both girls and guys to understand. So have a read,see if you can take some pointers on board. I hope our advice/encouragement helps, and Ihope you enjoy dancing as much as we do.Dancing rules! Page 1 of 31

Dancing Tips for BeginnersTable of ContentsWhy Learn to Dance. 3Ten Things to Remember when Dancing . 6Dancing Tips and Etiquette . 14For the Girls . 14Basic Etiquette. 14Safety. 15Things to Remember . 17What to Wear. 19Keeping Everybody Happy . 20For the Boys . 21Being a Gentleman . 22Things to Remember . 25What to Wear. 28Keeping Everyone Happy. 29Conclusion. 31Other Links:. 31DisclaimerYes, this document is pretty long! Sorry about that, I just didn’t want to miss anything important.Fortunately it’s written such that you can easily skip sections which are not relevant to you – forexample, if you’re already sold on the dancing you might want to skip the first section and just read thedance etiquette bit for your gender. I think one thing I should emphasise is that I’m not a professional dancer – not even close. I only reallystarted dancing a year ago when I joined uqdance, but I like to think I’m good enough to hold my ownand there are many little observations I’ve made, and pointers I’ve been given which are too useful notto share. If you want REAL advice I’d highly recommend going to professional lessons, but hey; thisshould be a good place to start.2006 Uqdance ExecutiveMichelle Kiob (Secretary), Nadim Cody(Treasurer) and me (treasurer).We’re all friendly (plus Michelle’s bitingproblem is now under control), so next timeyou see us say hello, or ask for a dance!Don’t forget dancing keeps going WELLafter the lesson has finished and most havegone home so if you’re really keen that’sabsolutely the best time to ask someone moreexperienced to teach you new moves.Page 2 of 31

Dancing Tips for BeginnersWhy Learn to Dance1. is FUN!Dancing is a GREAT skill to have in lifeDancing is a GREAT way to make new friendsDancing is a great way to meet members of the opposite sexDancing relieves stressDancing builds confidenceDancing is great exerciseDancing is universalDancing gets progressively easierDancing is foreverIn fact these are just a few of numerous reasons to dance, but certainly some of the best ones.1. Dancing is FUN! If you are the type of person who hears a song and suddenly wants to dance – almostas an involuntary reaction – then you’ll already know what I’m talking about. Forsome people, dancing is a way of life, and the idea of living without music almostinconceivable. But hey; it’s important to remember that these people were not bornwith dancing ability; it is something developed over time. The best dancers have beendancing for years – some of them since pre-school! I remember at my high school graduation you could pretty much determine who had agreat time (and thought it was ordinary) based on who got up and danced, and whowas either too shy or too macho to leave their seats. And hey, we all know how muchit sucks to watch other people having fun and not being able to join in! The more you dance, and the better you get, the more you’ll enjoy it. As a youngchild I used to absolutely love watching Michael Jackson – and I’m sure he wouldhave loved me too although perhaps for different reasons (obligatory MichaelJackson joke there, I apologise). Although Michael is no longer much of a role model,the fact remains he motivated a lot of people to learn how to dance. I still have fundancing alone, but now I’m well and truly past the “girl germs” stage of my life I’vedecided that dancing with a partner is definitely more fun. 2. Dancing is a GREAT skill to have in life You’d be surprised that as you age, there are more and more opportunities to strutyour stuff – not only at weddings, parties, clubs and supermarkets (whoops, did I justsay supermarkets) – but there is a whole community of people out there who meet upand dance once a week (or more), and events you can go to if you are “in the know”. There is no doubt in my mind, girls prefer a guy who can dance (and has enoughconfidence to dance in the first place) over one who can’t, and vice versa!3. Dancing is a GREAT way to make new friends For whatever reason almost every person I’ve ever met through learning to dance hasbeen nice! Dancing just seems to attract nice people (although yes, you will findexceptions at certain clubs and dance venues). For the most part people who arepassionate about dancing and music are some of the best in society – confident,outgoing, considerate and carefree. Better still they come from diverse backgrounds.I’ve made a lot of great friends through dancing. Page 3 of 31

Dancing Tips for Beginners4. Dancing is a great way to meet members of the opposite sex It can be awkward to admit; but many of us don’t often get the chance to meet andinteract with new people; especially those of the opposite sex. In my case (and this isnot a normal case mind you) during my ENTIRE undergrad I met almost no girls (Idid study I.T. mind you) – I met very few through sport, and even fewer through my(all male) group of friends and those that I did meet I was far too shy toapproach and talk to properly. We often don’t talk about it, but an awful lot of us are single these days and we allwant the same thing; we want to meet someone nice and find love. In couples dancing, the whole idea is to relax, have fun, and socialize in a mixedgroup. When you ask a girl to dance, you are not hitting on her; you just want todance. Age, marital status, it doesn’t matter, everyone just wants to dance. Once you’ve mastered talking and dancing at the same time, you can find out a lotabout a person during a single song. If you go out a lot you’ll probably meet lots ofgirls and boys and if you if you feel you are clicking with a person and you thinkthere might be a spark there (maybe you have the same sense of humour), then afteryou’ve finished dancing it’s a good time to tell a girl you enjoy dancing with her andask her if she wants to meet up for coffee or another dance event. If you ask her thisquestion while you are still on a high, then if she says “no thanks” you’re more likelyto stay smiling. Don’t take it to heart; this isn’t a rejection; she is probably busy, orelse she has boyfriend or she already likes someone else.5. Dancing is great exercise I use to play touch football, and do salsa lesson on the same day, and found the salsalesson was just as physically demanding as football! We often don’t think ofprofessional dancers as athletes as such, but these people are among the fittest peoplein the world. Next time you see real dancers on television take notice of their waists,thighs and bum! These people not only look great, they are REALLY fit. I’m notsuggesting doing social dancing once a week will give you a bum as great as that, butit can definitely help you work up a sweat, lose weight and feel great after your done.The benefits of exercise are tremendous – physically, mentally, and emotionally – andtrust me. dancing to a few fast songs is a great work-out! Everyone needs a way to unwind sometimes. If you ask me, people who say they’retoo busy for a bit of exercise/relaxation/socializing each week have it all wrong notonly are they missing out on having fun, but also because they don’t realize that acouple of hours of exercise and relaxation every day serves a very important purposein clearing your head so you can come back refreshed and more productive. By takingenough time to keep healthy you can also become a better student. NOTE: If you’re not already an exercise buff you’ll find a good list of reasons toexercise here.6. Dancing relieves stress Most of you are probably pretty young and perhaps in university orschool, when the pressure of study can really get to you! And hey; thoseof you who work (i.e. earn money) can have lots of pressure on you too.In the first semester of my PhD I didn’t even have a viable project, andthat weighed down on my mind a LOT. Looking back I’m really lucky Ijoined uqdance because after 2 hours of dancing, I felt great. I’d forgotten all myworried and pretty much whistled on my way back home.Page 4 of 31

Dancing Tips for Beginners7. Dancing builds confidence Once you’ve got rhythm, and know all the basics you’re likely to get that wonderfulthing we call confidence. This will help you relax, put your chin up(and shoulders back), be a stronger lead for the girl, improvise a littlebit, try new moves, and hopefully get over any fear you might havewhich prevents you from asking someone who’s a got moreexperience than you for a dance – because hey; they were oncebeginners too.The confidence you build in dancing, and looking good when youdance transfers to other aspects of your life. Most significantly, itshould give you confidence around members of the opposite sex.Lots of girls and guys still have a strange fear of each other, and find the idea of“touching” intimidating, but couples dancing (whereby you are required to touch andtalk to each other) can help break those barriers – soon you’ll realise that members ofthe opposite sex are not that scary after all, and with any luck you’ll be able to makefriends with people of both sexes more easily.8. Dancing is universal People dance all over the world, it’s just on of those universal things – a languagealmost – and I think Australia is pretty slack in that so few of us know how!It’s a horrible attitude many people have in this country, thanks mostly to night-clubs,that if a guy asks a girls to dance he ALMOST certainly has ulterior motives. Incountries like South America, people get together in huge masses and dance the nightaway. A person might dance with over a dozen different people in one night – most ofthem complete strangers – but even around people they have never seen before theycan all interact, have fun and smile together.9. Dancing gets progressively easier On thing you’ll notice about dancing is that, although you might forget a particularmove, you won’t forget the dance. Better yet, once you are good at one dance, it’samazing how much fast you will pick up another, and then another. A good idea is tostart with something simple like merengue, then get good a popular social dance likesalsa, and from there you can try any of the other latin dances: rueda, cha-cha,rumba, jive, or ballroom dances: tango, waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, or social/rhythmdances: bolero, swing. you name it, you will be able to dance it within a few lessonsonce you understand the fundamentals. I’ve met a few girls who told me they had just started learning a dance, but were sogood at it I didn’t believed them! Turns out they might not have done that particulardance, but they may be really good at something else (say, ballet) and as a result ofthat experience they were able to pick up the new steps incredibly fast. So yes, it’sdifficult at first; you won’t know where to put your feet, hands or eyes, but eventuallyit will come together, and you WILL improve. So patience young grasshopper!10. Dancing is forever Just like riding a bike, dancing is something you never forget.Dancing is something you can and WILL want to teach your children when you areolder.Dancing is forever. Page 5 of 31

Dancing Tips for BeginnersTen Things to Remember when Dancing1. is about fun; so don’t take yourself too seriously!Be confident!The man leadsBe relaxed, be smoothEye contact – don’t stare at your feetCommunicateHelp each other outExperimentNever dismayPractice make perfectThese are the top ten dance principles I came up with, ranked in order of importance, andfollowing is an explanation of what each point actually means!1. Dancing is about fun; so don’t take yourself too seriously!There is a very good reason I put “don’t take yourself too seriously” as number one onthis list. The whole idea of dancing is about having fun, so if you start treating it like acompetition or being hard on yourself every time you struggle with a move you havecompletely missed the point! If the guy next to you is a better dancer it is probablybecause he has been learning/practising much longer than you. Your reason for being hereis to learn how to dance, and it isn’t easy, it will probably take longer than you expect, sojust take it slowly and set your own pace. I can almost guarantee you WILL get muddledup during your first few lessons and, you will forget moves you have learnt the weekbefore unless you practise them; but that’s all part of the fun. If you make a mistake, fallover, or step on a foot then you can just laugh it off. Don’t take yourself too seriously isperhaps the most important piece of advice you’ll ever get in life (it has been in mine),and it applies doubly so when you are dancing!If you have a sense of humour show people! This might sound ridiculous but the bestmove I have on the dance floor is to open my mouth in feigned shock and say somethinglame like: “I can’t believe you just spun around; why would you DO something like thatto me”, “you lifted your arm!”, “oh so it’s MY fault”. It wouldn’t matter if I did the basicstep to the whole song, if it gets her laughing (and it’s amazing how often it does); I’malready regarded fun to dance with. It’s my secret move and now you know; use thissecret weapon carefully I very nearly didn’t tell you. 2. Be confident!Dancing is all about confidence, so even if you are new to dancing, and a bit unsure ofyourself, you should show that you are eager to learn. Don’t be shy to grab a girls handand put it on your shoulder. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be, and thequicker your dancing will improve. Smile, introduce yourself, and the rest shouldcome naturally.3. The man leadsIn couples dancing, it is always the man who leads, NOT the woman. This rule is anartefact of a time not-so-long-ago when husband saw himself as in charge of the wife andPage 6 of 31

Dancing Tips for Beginnersmade all the decisions. Attitudes have certainly changed since then – and nowadays we allknow women are the ones who wield the real power – but dancing remains unchanged. Indancing, the man is in charge.In case you don’t know, the idea of a lead is as follows. If you are doing a choreographedmove, then it’s pretty straight forward; you just follow the instructor, and you bothknow/remember what steps come when. However, in non-choreographed (i.e. social)couples dancing, the guys and girls know the basic steps and turns, but there is NOpredefined order; thus one of the partners has to tell the other what to do and when. Theguy does this by making fairly intuitive gestures with his arms and legs, and the girl picksup on these gestures and does what the guy wants. For instance, the guy can tell the girl todo a right (clockwise) turn by lifting her right hand/arm firmly (but gently) around theback of her head. The pressure he applies effectively pushes her and tells her to turnaround.For guys this means having enough confidence to say (typically though strong bodylanguage not words): “Hey lady; I am in charge here. I know what I’m doing, I say whenyou turn”. The idea of doing this is pretty scary if you’ve just started and, in fact, you doNOT know what you are doing! During your first few lessons it always pays to tell thegirl “I should warn you I’m new at this, so you’ll have to help me”, and she’ll help youout. Don’t worry about being the lead straight away – it’s more of a joint effort at the startand most timing/moves you learn are dictated by the instructors – just know that you, asyou build up your skill, you should build up your confidence and start calling the shots.Being a good lead is something that develops ove

Dancing Tips for Beginners . Why Learn to Dance. 1. Dancing is FUN! 2. Dancing is a GREAT skill to have in life 3. Dancing is a GREAT way to make new friends

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