Thursday, October 31, 2013

How To Be A Good Dance Partner Part 2: "Say What?"

What you say before, during, and after dancing with someone can make or break whether they see you as a good dance partner and will want to dance with you again. Ballroom dancing is one of the last few truly social activities available today. It is a great way to meet new people and get to know them in a fun atmosphere. When you are dancing with a partner, you have ample opportunity to talk to them, so it is important that you know what to say to leave a good impression and make the dance enjoyable for both of you. Here are a few tips: 

1) Before the dance - When approaching a dance partner, be polite. If they are in the midst of a conversation, say "Pardon Me" or "Excuse Me" and wait to be acknowledged before asking for the dance. Always introduce yourself with a smile. Ask "Would you like to dance?" (Although traditionally the men ask the women to dance, it is also now perfectly acceptable for a woman to ask a man to dance.) If your offer to dance is accepted, take the person's hand and lead them onto the dance floor. If the offer is declined (no matter what the reason), be courteous and understanding. You never know when the opportunity might arise again with that particular person and you don't want to burn your bridges by being rude. We will discuss accepting and declining a dance in more detail in a later blog post.

2) During the dance - This is where you have the most opportunity to interact with your partner. Here are a few tips:

DO:                                                                           DON'T:
-ask questions about your partner                               -talk only about yourself
-sing along to the song                                                -don't count out loud as you dance
-say positive things about their dancing                        -correct your partner on their dancing
-find something to compliment them about                   -make fun of them
-SMILE!                                                                    -FROWN!

Remember that everyone is out to have a good time. You don't want to come across as selfish, boring, obnoxious, full of yourself, insecure or overbearing. Be genuinely interested in the person you are dancing with and find something to genuinely compliment them on. Everyone's favorite topic to talk about is themselves, by asking them questions you get a chance to learn more about them. The more fun your partner has, the more likely they are to dance with you again and to encourage their friends to dance with you! 

3) After the dance - There is really only one main rule for when the music ends, but it's very important.

MEN: Do NOT leave your partner alone on the dance floor and walk away. PLEASE escort her to the edge of the dance floor and thank her for the dance

WOMEN: SAME RULE! Do NOT leave your partner in the middle of the dance floor and walk away. Allow him to escort you to the edge of the dance floor and thank him for the dance.

Next time: Part 3: "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Interested in learning to dance? Contact the Arthur Murray nearest you to get started today!

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How To Be A Good Dance Partner! Part 1: "Winning By A Nose"

Learning to dance is one thing, but being a good dance partner is a whole other ballgame. You can take dance lesson after dance lesson and practice until you are blue in the face, but unless you heed these guidelines, you may not have anyone to try out your dance moves with!

Winning by a Nose: 

1) Let's first talk about Oral Hygiene. We all know that bad breath (also known as Halitosis) is offensive. Partner dancing (Ballroom, Latin, Swing, Country Western, Salsa) means you will be in close proximity to the other person's face and mouth. Your dance partner is particularly susceptible to noticing if you have bad breath. There are many things that can cause bad breath like garlic and onions, rotten or decaying food stuck in your teeth, cigarette smoke, alcohol*, or just plain old mouth bacteria. So, if you don't want your potential dance partner to pass out when you breathe "Hello" at them, here are a few tips:

- brush & floss your teeth regularly
- avoid foods that are heavy with garlic or onions for several hours before dancing
- refrain from smoking before dancing
- Buy some of those Wisp disposable toothbrushes and keep them with you in your purse of dance bag
- Gum or mints can help in a pinch, but they only mask the issue, they don't solve it.

*a note on alcohol - many ballroom dancers prefer to refrain from drinking when they are dancing as it can inhibit their physical stamina and mental clarity. Although a social drink at a dance is perfectly acceptable, just remember that moderation is key and no one wants to dance with the guy who smells like he took a bath in whiskey and is too drunk to stand up on his own. Again, moderation is key!

2) Next up, Body Odor. No one likes to talk about Body Odor, but here's the scoop. Make sure you don't smell. I'm not talking about overdosing on Axe body spray either.

- shower regularly
- use a deodorant that is strong enough (some people may need a prescription strength)
- if you are a heavy sweater, wear an undershirt, and bring a change of clothing to the dance
- don't douse yourself in cologne/perfume, that can be just as bad as B.O.
- don't forget about your feet/ dance shoes - use deodorizing pads/sprays if need be
- as mentioned above, refrain from garlic and onions for at least 12 hours before the big dance. (Did you know the smells from these foods can come through your pores for hours after you've eaten?)

Overall, when it comes to smell, keep in mind that how you smell DOES matter! You might be the best ballroom dancer in the place, but if your breath reeks of garlic and cigarette smoke, you smell bad, and you have sweated through your clothing, your first dance with Ms. or Mr. Dreamy might very well be your last!

Dance is a social activity and requires that you take into account how you are perceived by your potential dance partners. It may not be easy to hear, or to admit that any of this applies to you, but take this advice seriously and watch your dance card fill up!

Next time: "Say what?" How you talk can make or break you as a dance partner.

Interested in learning to dance? Check out your local Arthur Murray dance studio for more information!