“A day without dancing is a day wasted” - Nietzsche
Several studies have shown that dancing can improve a couple’s relationship. Be it for a night out, a dance show, or just improving your moves, anyone can learn to dance as a couple.
So what’s a dance class for couples like?
Regardless of whether it’s at a school or with a private tutor, salsa, bachata, waltz, Argentine tango, every dance will follow a similar structure.
In this article, we're going to look at what learning to dance is like. We're going to see a common structure that's used for most dance styles, rather than looking at each one so that you have a better idea of what to expect before you both get on the dance floor.
Step 1: Warming Up
Most dance classes in Australia take place either after working or during your lunch break. This means you mightn’t be full of beans when you show up to your class.
As every good dancer and dance instructor knows, before your first dance of the day, you're going to have to warm up. This is why each dance lesson will start with a warmup.
Whether you're learning ballroom dance, Latin dance, swing, samba, or the foxtrot, you shouldn't attempt any complicated new dance moves without having gotten your muscles ready.
Regardless of whether you’re doing group classes, a trial class, or intensive classes, your dance teacher will probably start with some warming up.
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Warming up helps to prepare your muscles for a bit of exercise. Without warming up, your muscles can cramp up and you run the risk of injuring yourself. In order to have a successful dance class, you need to have warmed up properly.
You need to warm up gently and stretch various parts of your body: ankles, knees, thighs, hips, shoulders, neck, wrists, elbows, etc.
Start with a few simple and gentle exercises like rotating your ankles and shoulders, for example. Then you can start gently attempting the splits, stopping once you start to feel your muscles stretching. Of course, don’t go too far or you’ll hurt yourself!
Your dance tutor will make sure you’re doing it right. If you’ve just started your dance lessons, you probably won’t be an expert at warming up, after all. Your dance teacher will show you how to warm up until you can do it without their guidance.
Firstly, you’ll do this on your own before doing it as a couple. Warming up is the perfect time for you to leave all your worries behind. Forget about work and any other concerns and leave your problems at the door of the dance studio.
A lot of modern dance tutors prefer to put music on as students warm up in order to help them. Bit by bit, you’ll get the hang of it.
Whether you’re doing Zumba, dancehall, modern dance, jazz, contemporary, break dancing, hip-hop, or waltz, make sure to make the most of the ambience.
In a couples’ dance class, the music should be appropriate to the style of dancing that you’re learning. You can certainly make the most of the music if you’re learning Zumba. Some dances an even be used to help you warm up.
Step 2: Learn the Moves
Once all the students are warmed up, the next thing they’ll need to do is learn a few dance techniques. Each style has its own unique set of rules and how to move.
Learning dance steps is essential for learning how to dance. When it's a couple dancing, your routine will have to be choreographed and both dancers will need to be both familiar with their own moves and their partners.
Have you already tried learning how to dance by looking at the people on the dancefloor?
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This could be useful on a night out in a nightclub or at a disco if you're not sure how you should be dancing. While you mightn't have a dedicated choreographer, just by watching other people, shows like Dancing with the Stars, and dance videos online, you should be able to get through any social dance situations.
If you use social media a lot, you should follow celebrities and famous dancers like Witney Carson, Mark Ballas, Phillip Chbeeb, and Kym Johnson, for example.
If you’re getting ready for a dance, it’s a good idea to learn the steps ahead of time. When it comes to dancing as a couple, don’t forget that each person needs to learn their steps and then the couple needs to bring them together.
The men are usually on one side of the room while the women are on the other. In a lot of couples’ dances, the steps are learnt with partners facing each other. You’ll have to learn to move one leg back when your partner advances, for example.
A dance teacher’s goal is to teach their students as quickly and effectively as possible so that they start showing off their moves on the dancefloor as quickly as possible. This means they’ll learn a few basic steps. They’ll also need to be able to count along with the music and then they need to move around in time to the music.
Advanced dancers can improve their legwork as well as incorporate their arms. Of course, your limbs play an important role. Advanced dancers generally have more freedom when it comes to choosing the dance steps and routines they want to do because they have more moves in their repertoires than beginners. This is when dancing gets really interesting as you can let their imagination run wild.
When students start advancing is a great time to start teaching them about the history of dance and the different styles available to them.
Have you always wanted to master the Viennese Waltz?
Step 3: Practising Along with Music
Once a few dance steps have been mastered, it’s time to start putting them into practice. This is usually when music comes into it. You need to dance along with the music and use the steps you’ve just learnt.
In couples’ dance classes, this moment can be used for:
- Learning to lead
- Balancing each other’s weight
It’s all about having fun and not counting each step. You need to learn the steps and bit by bit, you won’t have to think about each step their making and will just let go. It’ll become a habit. Unlike what you probably think, you won’t spend the entire session dancing with the same partner.
In a lot of dance lessons, you’ll change partner. You may have to dance with the person to your left or right and keep doing this until eventually, you end up back with your original partner.
Why do you have to leave your partner behind?
You’ll learn a lot more if you dance for a bit with someone who’s better than you. Dancing with different people can also help you to learn to move in different ways and adapt to any partner. That’s why you can learn to dance with a partner even if you go to the lesson your own. You might even find your soulmate!
When there are more women than men, which can often be the case, some of the women will have to take the leading role. It can be useful to learn both roles.
Traditional gender roles are becoming less common in contemporary dance and anyone can learn any role.
However, if you learn how to dance the Tango, gender roles are clearly defined!
Step 4: Stretching and Cooling Down
Whether you’re learning ballroom dancing, Kizomba, Argentine tango, Rumba, Bachata, Cuban salsa, Puerto Rican salsa, pasodoble, Viennese waltz, cha cha, Merengue, Mambo, or flamenco, you’ll still have to do your stretches and cool down at the end.
This step usually takes around ten minutes. Your teacher will probably put on some calming music as you slow down your heart rate. These exercises can also make you feel better the following day.
Stretching and cooling down are essential parts of any lesson, no matter where it is.
Oriental dance, jazz, hip-hop, African dance, tap, Zumba, and ballet lessons all end with a bit of a cool down. Make the most of this part of the lesson and relax.
You can actually feel more relaxed after strenuous exercise. That’s why you should try and do physical activities every day.
In a couple’s dance class, you can do stretches as a couple which can make a lot of stretches easier to do. You need to make sure you can feel the stretches working.
Once the class is over, your teacher will thank you and turn off the music. You can also chat with your teacher at the end of the lesson if you have any questions or just need something clearing up. You can also ask them about places to go dancing.
Dancing elsewhere can also help you learn more quickly. It’s almost like your lesson never ended!
If you've just got engaged, don't forget that the bride and groom will have to do their wedding dance. While you won't need to be professional dancers or impress everyone with a complicated swing dancing routine, it might be a good idea to hire a private tutor to help you through the etiquette of the affair, help your partner dance if they've got two left feet, or just help you both get a good rhythm so that you can get people dancing at your wedding.
Superprof's complete guide to couples' dancing might help you out, here!
The best dance routine is whatever you both feel comfortable with. Nobody is expecting you to do an elaborate hip-hop dance routine that they've seen trending on YouTube, they just want to see you happy, having a laugh, and celebrating your big day so that your wedding photographer can get some adorable dancing pictures of you for your wedding album!
If you've never really danced before, don't worry, either! A private dance tutor can put together some simple choreography for you and your partner to do. You can be a romantic couple without having to learn the whole routine from Dirty Dancing!
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