Hot vs. Tepid

It’s a fact, if you are going to participate in ballroom/dancesport, you must be prepared for anything. I thought I would share with you some pointers that are slightly not so obvious or you may be taking for granted. If you can grasp what I’m trying to point out, it can make all the difference in the world between mediocre and excellent.

Sometimes we can learn something new just by coming upon it by accident. If you want to be a millimeter better than the rest, start picking up on subtle nuances. Hopefully, this is all going to make sense in a minute and I will strike a chord.  I hope you’ll find a little something here – to get you to that next dimension of your dance career.

Hip Action – Boy this is a big one. When I go to competitions and see people dance, I can

instantly tell who is going to be good, just by their hip action alone. Hip action puts me in a trance if it is done naturally and in rhythm with the music. Do not underestimate the power of your hips in motion. Do you sway just right to the music? Go look in a mirror and see what I’m talking about. How do you look when you move?

The Beat – Listen to the beat and rhythm of the music. All dance steps should be right on the beat, not before and certainly, not after. When you pick music to dance to, pick songs that accent the style and movements of the dance you are doing.

Watch Videos – You can never see enough quality dancers doing their thing. See if you can see why a dancer’s technique is winning awards and then try and “one up them.” And by the

way, have someone video tape you dancing, to see how you look dancing. I bet there’s a lot you can learn about yourself just from watching  yourself.

Dress for your Age – Dress appropriately for your age. Besides having strict dress codes at ballroom competitions, which you should be adhering to, if a dancer is dressed inappropriately, it detracts from their dancing, as we are more occupied with how they look rather than how they are dancing. Don’t be in a rush to look older than you are – be in a rush to dance well!

Shoes – Shoes are a huge factor on how you move in a competition. There is no excuse, your shoes must be comfortable and allow you to move properly. Inspect them from time to time so they don’t fall apart on the dance floor. If you don’t think the judges can tell that you are not moving smoothly, think again, and please, do not let it be because of your shoes!

Take more lessons – So you think you are ready, and then you go to a competition and find yourself not exactly keeping up with your partner. It’s okay, go back and take more lessons. We all have to do it if we want to excel. It’s practice and great teachers that help us along. Of course, our partners have a great influence on us too. So, if you both need to practice together more, fit it in, get an extra hour in a week. I bet you nail it at the next comp after that!

Stamina – It takes lots of energy to be vibrant at a comp. Make sure to keep your body healthy and fit with proper nutrition and good sleeping habits. And by the way, sugar is not your best friend, it lets you down in the end.

Over The Top – It may not be a good idea in life to obsess over things that happen in life, i.e. that you get in a fight with someone and can’t stop talking about why it’s not your fault, or you studied for a test all week and can’t believe you only got a C. It’s probably better to just move on and forget about it. But in dancesport, it may be okay to become obsessed. What great dancer has not been noted for being over the top on how they move or look when they dance. They are great because they made dancing a number one priority and learned how to make it look so easy. So, in this case, obsession may make you stand out from the crowd. Even better, what if we take away the obsession and replace it with passion, and say, “we dance because we absolutely MUST,” then you are truly doing something that you love to do. What is better than that and usually the results that go with this line of thinking are in your favor!

Practice Visualization – This works on two levels. First, it lets you meditate on what you want and how it will look in your mind. And secondly, you can act upon it and synchronize your mind to go with your body to move exactly the way you pictured it to be. That is power in motion!

Learn Dance Facts – So you can walk the walk and talk the talk. In this case, so you can dance the dance and also be smart enough to talk about it. Learn new things about dance all the time. Be open, inquisitive and eager.

Fall in Love with Music – Be a fan of all kinds of music. You need music in your dance life, why not make it your best friend. There is so much out there – find songs that make your dance look good! Be creative with music.

Listen with your Eyes – Be aware that you are involved in a true visual dancesport.  Be in charge of what others see!?!  Take it all in and absorb like a sponge. Pick up on things others do not notice!

Fun, Fun, Fun – My favorite dancers at comps are the ones who look like they are having the

time of their life! It is so much fun to watch them enjoy themselves and make whatever they are dancing look so easy. Remember, if it looks like fun…it probably is!

So there, now that isn’t too much to think about and I’m sure you can even think of more things to add to this list. You already know the main things to concentrate on, so get out there, look good and dance smart.

Happy dancing,

Thought Of The Week:

The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible – Arthur C. Clarke



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website