Ballroom Syllabi: The Places You’ll Go

At some point in your ballroom journey, you’ll likely hear someone reference “the syllabus” or maybe a level like bronze/silver/gold or beginner/intermediate/advance. The ballroom syllabus exists to define a standard set of moves that may be expected at each syllabus level in every dance. It provides dancers with an idea of what they can do on the competition floor or their level of social dancing. The syllabus encompasses bronze through gold. Continue reading


Ballroom Lesson Etiquette

Let’s talk about class! Whether a competitor or social dancer or an amalgam of the two, there’s a good chance that at some point in your ballroom experience, you’ve attended a lesson or regularly attend lessons. Following are a few thoughts on lesson etiquette that may be applied to group or private lessons.

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The Perks of Social Dancing: The Competitor’s View

As a competitive ballroom dancer, I frequently find that I put on my blinders. In the studio I want to train with my partner(s) in our routines with as little interruption as possible. It’s one of my ideas of a good time. However, that focus 24/7 basis would mean missing out on all of the awesome things that exist outside of competitive partnership, which is where social dancing comes in. Many believe that a competition is worth multiple practices and, in my experience, a social dance holds similar value but without the pressure. Below are a few of the perks of taking off your blinders and mixing it up on the social floor. Continue reading

Identifying Ballroom Music: Practice

Everyone has that song (or ten) that comes on and you think, “That’s my jam.” And, just a guess, there’s a good chance that song isn’t Sting’s Ocean Waltz. Fortunately, in a practice space, you have the power of choice; you are your own D.J. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. The music that you choose for practice affects how you dance or there would be no point in dancing to music. Following are a few suggestions on how to use music to enhance your practice.

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Identifying Ballroom Music: Tempo

We’ve all heard that song on the radio that makes us tap our feet and think, “I could dance to this.” And, generally, that’s true. However, competitive ballroom dancers are tied to the tempo of the music. Dance organizations such as the NDCA, USA Dance, WDSF, and others use music within particular tempo ranges for competition. Below is a list of the common dances and their general tempos. Note that tempos change from organization to organization as well as from year to year. As a dancer advances, it is common for tempos to slow to further showcase movement details.

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The Value of Cross Training

No one wants to exit the dance floor after a hearty VW or energetic swing huffing and puffing in a seemingly mad attempt to reenact childhood fairytales and blow the walls down. Nor is it particularly desirable as the day goes on for your frame to wane with the sun. This is where cross training comes in. Cross training is simply a series of non-ballroom exercises meant to enhance your performance and stamina on the dance floor.

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