Friday, January 6, 2012

Ballroom Dancing - Foxtrot Fundamentals

Last night was my first group dance class at the Washington Dance Club in Seattle. There is definitely a difference between what we did on Wednesday and what we did in Seattle last night.

Wednesday night at Arthur Murray, we had a 30min private lesson where we had one instructor's undivided attention to walk us through the basics of 5 dances. Last night was a 45min group class where one instructor walked 5 couples through the basics of one dance, the foxtrot.

The instructor began by teaching us to walk heel-toe and to sort of drag our feet between steps. She also went through other basic fundamentals of dancing with a partner.
  • Always keep your feet in line with your knees, in line with your hips, in line with your shoulders
  • The leader should always keep their frame (their arm structure) slightly to the right of their body to avoid stepping on each other's toes or bumping knees
  • The follower should always keep a "toned" frame so they can feel where the lead wants them to go
  • The leader should always lead off on their left foot
This video is slightly long and dull but it contains all the fundamentals we learned last night.

After the instructor had us practice the basic walk, she then introduced the first foot pattern for the foxtrot basic. I provided a video in yesterday's post that I think covered this information well. In fact, I felt far more confident in my understanding about the foxtrot basic after watching that video then even more so after last night's class. Perhaps I simply misunderstood the guidance from our first instructor at Arthur Murray. We shall see next week when we see her again.

We practiced the foxtrot basic while in ballroom position (meaning in the arms of your partner) a dozen times. Walk, walk, step together. Walk, walk, step together. Slow, slow, quick, quick. Slow, slow, quick, quick. The problem with only knowing the forward basic though is that you simply end up moving further and further into the opposite corner of the room and that can't work. Hubby and I ended up in the little kitchen area several times. Then it came time to learn to take that back the other direction. Simple. Instead of the leader walking forward, he just walks backward and the follower follows. Back, back, step together. Back, back, step together. 

That means it must be time to learn another pattern that can get us out of the corner. Next we learned the rock step and the 1/4 turn.

Ok, now that we got a few basics was time to practice. Cool right? Well, yes and no. Practice is always a good thing but in my opinion it's not fun when I have to practice with someone I don't know, never met, and who can't figure out which foot is his left and which one is his right. Yup. You guessed it. She had us switch partners a couple times so every woman got a chance to dance with every man in class, except for the couple that refused to switch partners. I'm thinking they had the right idea.

Pros of switching partners:
  1. You get a chance to experience what it's like with someone who you can't predict their movements
  2. If you're a follower, it's a good thing to learn how to just let go and trust what the leader is doing and that's easier to do with your own husband or boyfriend or whatever
  3. If you're a leader, it's a good thing to learn to lead all the time and not let the follower lead you which happens more times than not in a committed relationship
  4. "Dancing" with 4 other men last night made me appreciate how fantastic my husband is at leading and how much I really do love dancing with him
Cons of switching partners:
  1. One of the primary reasons I like ballroom dancing with my husband is that it really makes me feel closer to him and if I'm dancing with someone else then I completely miss out on that
  2. I don't ever dance with other men so there is no need to learn to do it
  3. I don't feel like I can improve if I'm constantly having to adjust to my new partner's abilities (which last night and in my past experience were significantly retarded - their abilities that is)
  4. I have a nice roomy personal bubble and for strangers, it's considerably larger so asking me to allow them to touch me let alone come within arms length of me is asking me to compromise my thanks
Was it a great workout? Not at all. But it was just the basics. Perhaps when we get into more actual dancing, it'll be better exercise but for now, it was barely active. Fun and interesting for sure but a good workout it was not.

1 comment:

  1. Your partner plays a vital role in your overall performance. As much as possible, you have to be comfortable with him/her. Otherwise, you tend to be more conscious of your actions and movements. You can naturally and completely get lost in your dancing if you feel comfortable with your partner.


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