various dance tips i find useful

by janedotx7

An assortment of couples dancing advice, which is generally applicable
to ballroom (waltz, polka, schottische) and to swing, and possibly to
Latin dances (cha-cha, tango, salsa). The advice at the beginning is
pretty rock-solid for any beginner, I think, but they get increasingly
me-specific and doubtful as we go further down the list.

–TAKE SMALL STEPS. A lot of beginners feel compelled to take gigantic
steps for some reason. Small steps are good because 1) they’re easier
to control, 2) faster to execute, 3) less likely to make you run into
someone, and 4) it makes you less tired.

–DANCE ON THE BALLS OF YOUR FEET. This means dancing on your
tip-toes–basically, the front part of your foot. Keep your heel
lifted off the ground, or at least, let your heel touch the ground
only lightly. Dancing on the balls of your feet makes it easier to
balance, and much easier to step quickly, and much easier to spin. You
may find that it is tiring, particularly if you are the sedentary
type, but it is completely worth it.

–WEAR SOCKS OR DANCE SHOES. Normal street shoes have rubber soles
that tend to stick to the ground and make it harder to spin or move
quickly. Also, if you’re trying to dance but are wearing sticky shoes,
you may damage your knees and ankles.

–DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR FOOTWORK. The first time you actually try to
dance for real with a partner, you’ll probably forget everything you
learned about what the basic step is. Ensuring that you step with your
right foot on the downbeat is really not as important as making sure
that you’re stepping on the downbeat, period. You will screw up, but
be happy! You now have the chance to learn the most important dance
step of all, which is making everything up.

–KEEP YOUR FEET UNDERNEATH YOUR BODY AT ALL TIMES. This is actually
hard enough to do that it is worth mentioning, and thinking about how
your feet are beneath your body can help guide your intuition about
the footwork is supposed to be like.

–HOLD YOURSELF LIKE YOU’RE SITTING IN A CHAIR. That is, keep your
knees bent and forward a little. Bent knees are springy, responsive
knees. Also, this helps you a lot if you’re rotating with your
partner, as you do in waltz.

–SMILE. When you agree to dance with someone, you’re putting yourself
in a position that makes them vulnerable to you, and you vulnerable to
them. Ease the awkwardness by smiling. I have lead and followed, and
talked to other leads and follows, and I’ve noticed that both sides
are pretty insecure about what they think the other person might be
thinking. Make yourself and your partner happier by smiling.

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