If you are a ballroom dancer, a few steps you simply cannot run away from are the much dreaded heel turns and the double-reverse turns. Whether you are a lady or gent, heel turns are very much a part of the International Standard dances, the Waltz, Foxtrot and the Quickstep. A controlled and balanced heel turn (done by pivoting on your heel of course!) with the "rise and fall" done correctly and in sync with your partner, makes the dance look elegant and smooth. In the Foxtrot, every turn for the lady is a heel turn. Flexed knees, body rotation and all weight on your heels will produce a heel turn that would make you look the part of a pro dancer. And at the end of the turn all you have to do is rise up on your toes and continue on to the next step. So if you thought you can get away from heel turns, then I have to say, your very much mistaken!!
The double-reverse Turn, I am sure, is the nemesis for most of novice ballroom dancers. Done correctly and with a bit of practice, it is one of the figures that makes you look professional on the dance floor. The double reverse turn (DRT) is usually done after half a reverse turn and a reverse pivot. So if you keep your body turning constantly in the direction of travel, the DRT becomes that much easier to conquer. In the Waltz, the count is "1, 2, 3" (for the reverse turn), "AND" (which is half a beat for the reverse pivot) and "1, 2, 3" (for the DRT) where as in the Quickstep it is "S, Q, Q" (for the reverse turn), "S" (for the reverse pivot) and "S, S, Q, Q" (for the DRT).
Pay extra attention to your footwork, body rotation and the rise and fall the next time you do the heel turns and the double-reverse turns. I assure you the dance with be more fun and the steps will feel smoother and effortless.
Being a dance lover for many years, yet quite new to the dance arena, I am competing in my first Ballroom dance competition this month. With all the excitement and the hard work comes great payoffs - looking and feeling like a million dollars, dressed in shining couture (literally) and being the center of attention for the few minutes you are on the dance floor. However, due to time constraints and wanting to be the best I can, I am competing only in the International Standard events, the infamous Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quick Step and Viennese Waltz.. So I leave the 10-dance challenge till next time.
I consider ballroom dancing (at least in the competitive level) to be a luxury. The most important asset - your dancing partner. After all, the saying goes "it takes two to Tango". The more effort you put the more tuned and adjusted you will be to your dance partner. Being able to dance and dance in sync comes with great practice, but I believe the most important link to a great performance on the dance floor is the love and passion for dance. You live in the moment and you let go, it feels like you are in a different world, a world you can float in.
And then comes the dress!! The dance costume is usually of more importance to the lady than the gent. Then again, it IS the case most of the time, whether your dancing or not!! :)
I spent a lot of time looking for ballroom dresses. I considered many options such as getting a custom gown done or renting - which designer to go with, who had the most selection, creativity and unique designs. During my hunt I came across many many well-known designers in the industry, but one common theme they all had going for themselves was that NOTHING IMPRESSED ME. I believe that when you look at a dress and you go "WOW", now that is something to consider. Until then, you keep searching. After all your goal is to get the best value for the money you will be spending. Of course, price is a big factor in choosing a dress. Since this was my first time competing, I wanted to stick to a lower budget. After all it is not only the dress that matters, what about the accessories and the jewelry and the million other things that must all come together to look professional on the dance floor?
In the midst of all the searching (and bookmarking of designer websites!!), re-visiting them over and over, I came across one ballroom dress designer that put the "WOW" factor to test. The dresses are simple yet elegant and unique. It is in one of her dresses that I would love to Waltz to "Fascination". And I would definitely do the slowest Quick Step ever to stay as long as I can on the dance floor!! :)
Brian Watson and Carmen....my Samba idols. Watch them dance at the World Latin Showdance. If there was a better definition for "utter perfection" let me know. All you dancers out there, this is a must see in case you missed it.
What do YOU think?
After spending much time on the web searching for resources on dancing such as dance studios, dance instructors, where to rent and buy dresses, dance costume designers, where to buy shoes, accessories and jewelry I decided to be a first to come up with a site to make all this information available to the new dancer....all in one location.
My intention is to collect as much information as I can and throw it out to the readers and I hope in time to come, your comments and contributions will make this venture a success.
So please feel free to add, comment and share your thoughts on any topic related to dancing. And by dancing I mean any kind of dancing....Ballroom, Latin, Ballet, Jazz, to Hip-Hop....even Belly dancing!!
In the process, I hope this will turn out to be a learning experience for me.