How to Become a Good Dancer – Part 2: The 3 Secrets
Ladies you are going to love this advice! Here in Part 2 of How to Become a Good Dancer by Arthur Murray, he gives you Three Secrets to becoming a good dancer. These words are from Arthur Murray -the man himself!
That Will Help a Girl Become a Good Dancer
- 1. First learn lightness – it is vital – and to do this you must practice in order to strengthen the muscles used in dancing.
- 2. Learn to do the basic steps ALONE. Then when you are on the actual dance floor you will know what your partner is doing, and you will not discourage him by depending on him for support.
- 3. Learn a VARIETY of steps. You can follow properly only as many steps as you know, and the strongest leader can’t make you follow steps that are unfamiliar to you.
Thanks Arthur Murray… Now…Let’s dissect how you are going to achieve this…
First, to learn lightness- engaging your muscles will be a huge part of achieving this. Too often our interpretation of following is the man putting us there. Instead, he should be initiating the movement and we should do it ourselves! See, there still is a little independence when we are following. Let’s use our frame as an example. We should not rest our arms on top of the man when we are in dance hold. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are not touching but we are to use our shoulder muscles to hold our arms up still in the air. This is not something practiced in your daily routine as we do not walk around with our arms in dance position. I remember the first time I went from dancing a couple of hours in a day to teaching for 8 hours, boy my arms were tired! That’s because I had to develop strength in those muscles. So, when Arthur Murray says practice so you can learn lightness, practice holding your frame up on your own when you are rehearsing your steps. This is actually a common practice of our instructors.
Second, learn to do the basic steps alone. I do not believe when Arthur Murray wrote this book there was such a thing as school figure tests, but this is exactly what he is talking about. The interesting thing here is that most ladies I come across do not always see the value in this practice. They often say, “I don’t want to do this by myself, I’m just going to follow.” And yes, you are going to follow but the more you understand your part, the lighter follower you will be. The other place you will achieve this is in group instruction. When the instructor is demonstrating your part, whatever you do, do it with them. Monkey see – monkey do.
Third, learn a variety of steps. I do believe that the more concepts and movements you learn the better dancer you will become. A terrific way to get very familiar with your steps is attending group classes regularly. The more the better! The structure of group instruction is based on repetition of patterns. What a better way to achieve this! I know sometimes you walk away and a week later you can’t remember anything you learned from class. Don’t be discouraged, the more you attend the more steps will get fully engrained.
However, I will add that I do not believe that you can learn every pattern that exists. I have been dancing for over 23 years and I still don’t know them all! Can you believe it? The beauty of this is that if you learn the core movements and principles that exist through patterns, you will be able to follow steps that are unfamiliar to you. That is the Art of Dance. Every time I get up on the dance floor it is never the same (unless I’m doing a routine) and that, ladies, is what makes Ballroom dancing so exciting. Ladies, please Live these 3 Secrets and you are on the road to becoming an amazing dancer!
Good luck! If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask any of your instructors or – me!
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