How to Become a Good Dancer, Part 6 – Do’s and Don’ts

How to Become a Good Dancer, Part 6? – Do’s and Don’ts

Yet again I found myself reading Mr. Murray’s book, “How to Become a Good Dancer” and reflecting on how helpful his dance advice is. Now don’t get discouraged by his use of manners that we don’t seem to experience much of today (like being escorted across the street.) I find his information very useful, and in different ways I have advised many students on these different subjects. The title is “Don’t for beginners” but his advice is suitable for all levels of dancers. I was just coaching a student at the Long Beach Arthur Murray where the topic of conversation stemmed around her disappointment from comparing her results to another student’s.  This is not unusual. We all at some time have lost focus of our journey and compare ourselves to others. Obviously this does not only happen in dancing. I asked her what her vision was for her dancing and reminded her that her results have nothing to do with this person or anyone else for that matter. Enjoy the quirky words of Mr. Murray and see how you can apply them to your life of dance.

Don’ts for Beginners

1.  Don’t think the whole world is watching you when you step out on a dance floor.  Realize that the others are either good dancers, who are having too good a time themselves to pay much attention to what you do–or that they’re just fair-to-middling dancers, who are too busy taking care of their own feet to keep their eyes on any other particular couple.

          2.  Don’t be the first couple on the floor – unless you are very sure of your dancing.  Wait until the floor is comfortably filled—then step out.  Until you have complete confidence in your ability, there’s more safety in numbers.

3. Don’t be afraid to hold your partner firmly.  She won’t bite you.  But don’t crush her with the grip of a boa constrictor, either.  The correct amount of pressure for your hand while dancing is just about the same as it would be if you were holding the Girl’s arm to escort her across a street.

4. Don’t be worried about how you will get in step with the music in order to start dancing.  And don’t think that you have to start with the very first note the orchestra plays.  Remember that the distinctive rhythm of each type of dance music repeats itself every three or four seconds.  You can start to dance in the middle of a song as readily as at the beginning.  When you have raised your arms and taken hold of your partner, pause for a moment to catch the orchestra’s beat, until a slight sway in the direction of the first step shows that both of you captured the “feel” of the music.

5. Don’t forget that when a Man takes a Girl to a dance, he always has the first dance with her.  And that it is customary, as well, to dance the last dance of the evening together.  How many dances you share between these is up to the two of you—though it is exceedingly impolite for a Man to monopolize a Girl for the whole evening.  Unless, of course, just the two are dining and dancing together at a club or hotel, with no other friends present.

I hope this helps you feel more ready and confident to show off what you got on the dance floor!

Please don’t forget to read our other “How to Become a Good Dancer” Blogs.

How to Become a Good Dancer Part 5: The Curve of Learning 

How to Become a Good Dancer Part 4: Developing Your Sense of Rhythm 

How to Become a Good Dancer Part 3: How Many Steps Should a Good Dancer Know

How to Become a Good Dancer Part 2: The 3 Secrets 

How to Become a Good Dancer Part 1


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