Just thinkin’ bout…

 

 

This couple is plenty adventurous (They snowboarded into their wedding!), but one of the first things Janelle said to us was, “We both hate dancing in public.” Well I guess we created a monster (two actually), because by the time the wedding rolled around they had learned not only their first dance choreography, but also some push-pull, merengue, and salsa. They were actually looking forward to dancing at the reception!

 

Learning how to not hate dancing!

  

And he still sweeps her off of her feet!

 

I will get a glow just thinking of you …

 

 

 

 

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with this pair. Both mathematically inclined and both lovely to work with. No surprise their father-daughter dance turned out so beautifully.

Some good advice for other father-daughter duos.

 

Elegant and Classic!

 

Help Me Make the Music of the Night

And what a night it was!

I love to dance, create, and even perform (although it still gives me butterflies). But add in a willing partner who’s up for anything and a great cause like The Baddour Center, and it’s pure heaven. This year’s Dancing For Our Stars raised over $58,000! Thank you to everyone who helped with their time, talent, donations, and good wishes.

Star: Terry Reeves
Choreographer: Jesse Munoz
Photographer: Natalie Troutt
Videographer: Justin Jaggers

 

 

Dancing is not as scary as skydiving!

 

It has been brought to my attention numerous times that many (most?) people find the idea of dancing to be terrifying. I’ve felt otherwise very confident and accomplished men literally trembling as we danced (I’m pretty sure I’m not that intimidating), and it’s not unusual to hear students sigh some version of “That wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be,” at the end of a first lesson. The sentiment always surprises me, but it shouldn’t, because if I just think back to my first class, I can remember being pretty nervous myself.

So why is dancing so scary? I have a few ideas, but I’d love to hear yours.

First, we don’t often learn completely new skills as an adult. All of the really tough and important ones (walking, talking, making PB&J sandwiches) we learn when we’re young. As adults we may broaden and improve our abilities, but we usually aren’t starting from zero.

When we do take up new hobbies as an adult, they also aren’t usually so public. We can learn to knit, or cook, or play the guitar in private, sharing our accomplishments only when and if we’re good and ready. Dancing by its nature is a social activity and so people are going to see you do it. In general, the more public the activity, the more pressure we feel.

And then there is the social baggage around dancing. Race, gender, religion, age, and a host of other factors play into our feelings about dancing. I’m not going to delve into any of that here, other than to say that most of it doesn’t hold up under closer inspection. Still, we’re all affected (consciously or otherwise) by cultural factors.

Then how can we overcome our perfectly natural feelings of nervousness?

Find your why. This advice is common in situations involving change because it helps you refocus when you start to waiver. Do you want to dance at your child’s wedding? Or feel more at ease at parties? Maybe you need a creative outlet? Chances are your reason for learning is bigger than your fear, so keep it front and center.

Realize that you’re not alone. Almost everyone in a beginner dance class thinks that he or she is the worst student ever. So talk with others. You’ll likely find that they’re having the same doubts that you are. You’ll also build a network of “dance friends” that understand your frustrations and triumphs and can support you on your journey.

Choose a nurturing environment. When you go to classes, lessons, or parties you should feel a culture of mutual support and encouragement. Constructive feedback from your instructor is important, but there should be no judgement. If this isn’t the case, it isn’t you who’s failing, it’s the studio. Go someplace else.

And if you still need a push, list the pros and cons. I think you’ll see that one list far outweighs the other. Here are some ideas to get you started. Happy dancing!

PROS

It’s a cool hobby.

It’ll reduce stress and help me relax.

I’ll enjoy it.

My friends and family will be impressed.

I’ll be able to meet social obligations.

It’ll be great for networking.

The exercise will be fun.

I’ll have a skill most others don’t.

My poise and grace will increase.

I’ll meet interesting new people.

CONS

I’ll feel silly.

I might step on someone.

Best New Year’s Eve Party Ever!

 

 

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned waltz, especially when it’s danced to a modern and sensual song? And of course, you’d expect a wedding on New Year’s Eve to combine the best of the old and the new. So it’s no surprise that this gorgeous couple looked amazing performing their first dance as they rang out the old year and rang in their new lives together.

Patience, practice, and teamwork!

 

So elegant!

 

All I Want is For You to Be Happy….

As a former gymnast (She even has a move named after her!), this bride was up for anything. Good thing her handsome groom was willing to work as hard as she was, because this upbeat first dance really is packed with goodies.

 

Plenty of concentration here.

 

Gorgeous!

A Sweet & Laid-back Wedding Dance

 

 

Hailing from North Carolina, this couple already had a little bit of shag in their dance toolbox, so it was easy to build from there. The result had a sweet and laid-back feeling (just like them) and they made look easy.

 

Enjoying lessons together.

 

Wowing family and friends at the wedding!

 

So, how did it go?

Opposites Attract

 

 

Wendy and Chris are a good example of the axiom opposites attract. Okay, so they’re both sweet, intelligent, successful people, but they’re personalities are yin and yang. In other words, perfect together! So it’s no surprise that their charming wedding in the garden at Acre was a beautiful blending of the two, and their first dance was just sweet, sweet, sweet.

 

Feel the love!

A Father-Daughter Fake Out

What do you get when you combine a doting (and slightly ADD) father, Daddy’s little girl, and a great song? Magic! Wes and Elaine didn’t want to do a standard stand and sway dance, but they did want people to think that’s what they were going to do. And they managed to keep their secret right up until the moment when the music sped up and they broke into a lively swing dance. Their enthusiasm and energy are amazing and the crowd loved it.

 

Elaine & Wes perform their father-daughter swing dance with the help of Jeremy Shrader’s Octacats!

3 Dances Everyone Should Know How to Do


 

All right, if I’m honest, I think you should know a lot more than three dances. But in general, you need at least three: one for slow music, one for fast music, and one for intermediate tempos. So here are three very handy dances that will fit the bill for almost any occasion.

Not every studio teaches slow lounge, but it works beautifully for those slow songs that will inevitably be playing for the first half-hour or so of any event (wedding reception, class reunion, charity gala). It can be relaxed and friendly, sensual and romantic, or even a little campy, depending on the song and the mood of the couple dancing. In fact, many engaged couples will learn it for their first dance and then also use it for the father-daughter or mother-son dance. It’s that versatile!

 

Swing is a big umbrella that includes several dances (many of them regional), but the simplest is push-pull. It’s fast and fun, making it a go to dance for parties. Unlike most forms of swing (which use a syncopated 6-count rhythm), push-pull has a simple four beat pattern, making it easier to learn and to lead. It’s also less taxing than its more complex cousins, and therefore appropriate for almost any age or fitness level.

 

And then there is rumba. At first glance it’s not an obvious choice, since it’s traditionally a Latin dance, but the rumba rhythm can be found in oldies, pop, and even country music. The basic movement is a simple box-step that anyone can learn. From there you can add a few simple patterns for social dancing, or develop a sophisticated repertoire of wraps, turns, Latin motion, and styling.

 

So, these are my choices for the three dances everyone should know. What are yours?