Frequently Asked Questions
American Style (DVIDA Syllabus)
Ballroom - Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz
Latin - Cha Cha, Rumba, Mambo, Samba, Merengue
Swing & Country - East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Two Step, Triple Two, Polka
Social - Nightclub Waltz, Nightclub TwoStep
No - you do not have to change partners in my classes. As many people use dance lessons as an opportunity to connect and spend quality time with thier partner, I like to allow people to grow their relationship as well as their dancing.
As there is value in dancing with other people, in classes for my more experienced students, I do invite students to change partners for a song or two in the occasional class.
If you are a newsletter recipient, you qualify for Pre-Registration. This will take place in early August for approximately 2 weeks. My Summer Edition of this newsletter (due out at the beginning of August) will provide all the details as well as the code to use for Pre-Registration. If you are not on my newsletter list, please make sure you sign yourself up now! Public registration begins in early August.
Everyone is different in how they learn and their expectation of what it is to "know" how to dance. Some take a few lessons, others train for years. Pick a dance or dances and set yourself a goal and I'll help you get there. I've been dancing all my life and I'm still learning!
Please always carry in clean soled shoes for class. They must have closed in heel or ankle strap. Leather or smooth soled shoes preferred. Cowboy boots and sneakers are not recommended. You will find out very quickly which are your favorite shoes for dancing. You may choose to invest in a proper pair of dance shoes. The difference is the these shoes have a suede sole. The sole is flexible with a steel arch support. Men or low ladies heels also have suede bottoms. Ladies high heels have a orthotic rubber and longer shanks on the nails. Heel heights are available from 1 inch to 4 inch for ladies and 1 to 1.6 inch for men. There are dressy shoes, practice shoes, and swing shoes - for men and women. For those of you with orthotics - check out the ballroom sneaker!
Ballroom dance shoes are available locally in Edmonton at Dancing Shoes (call (780) 488 – 4022 to book an appointment – west end) as well as local dance supply shops Adagio and On Stage. You can also order online at Natural Spin and use Code A2K76T for a 10% discount as my student. Also online DSOL Dance Shoes Online and Dancewear Central .
1) There are many subtleties to partner dancing, and if a student doesn't get help from a private instructor, the wrong habits and understandings could become a road block to other facets of dance.
2) Private lessons help to minimize frustration. I believe the less frustration the better when it comes to learning; who doesn't? Though frustration can create determination in some people, it can discourage others. It's sad to see someone give up learning in the early stages when all was needed was a little personal attention. Every one deserves the opportunity to enjoy dancing.
3) With a private instructor, you learn the fundamentals more quickly. A solid foundation is built, and you can keep learning, dancing, and succeeding. Succeeding is fun!
4) It is easier to stay motivated with the help of a private instructor. I find this benefit very applicable not only to beginners but also to students who have been dancing more than a few years. Once out of the beginner stage, a student may not know what to do next. A private instructor is knowledgeable about different dances and styles and can help the student discover what new dances to learn, what goal to pursue next. Sometimes all a student needs in order to remain stimulated is someone to report to on a regular basis. It is always easier to work for something when you know someone is counting on you and that you're accountable to someone - your teacher.
You can find it at the Library, in your own music collection, on iTunes, or in music stores and specialty dance businesses. If you purchase/find specialty ballroom/Latin Cd's, they will tell you what dance it is right on the CD. Specialty Practice Cd's will have a variety of dances on them and make it easy to just play and practice, without having to constantly be changing albums. You can purchase these Cd's though a local company called Disctribution @ 780-455-1670, and some are also available on iTunes.
On iTunes you can also type in the type of music you are looking for (ie: Cha Cha, Waltz, ect..) and you will get a list of songs and albums. If you recognize some of the songs, you can also look up that same song and find it by different artists too. Then you can buy it, find it in your own collection, or do a search at your local library.
1) Schedule in practice time, just like your lessons. Mark it in your planner/iPhone/Blackberry. And then treat that time like you paid for it!
2) Find a space that works. Your living room, basement, deck, garage. Your fitness club, racquetball court, aerobics room(check with the front desk first!). For all you teachers out there - use your school. And when the weather is nice - tennis courts, yard, park.
3) Plan in dance opportunities. Go to dances (buy tickets/memberships so you'll go), attend one of the many instructor supervised Practice Dances I host, dinner dance outings with friends once a month. And remember to check my Ongoing Dance Events and Event Calendar.
4) Make sure you have music for all the dances that you know. Buy or make Practice CD's. Fill up your iPod/MP3 player. You can search on iTunes for dances (ie: Cha Cha, Waltz, ect..) You can also purchase Practice CD's from me on your lessons.
As for practicing with music, you can play it on your stereo, or, my favorite, play it on your iPod/MP3 player - and the MAN has the headphones - really helps improve lead and follow! Remember, the man follows the music, the woman follows the man!
Absolutely! The key to giving direction to a lady on the dance floor is confidence. Leading on the dance floor is highly masculine and once the man understands what he is doing, how to do it, when and why he does it, then leading becomes simple. Most men learn things in a dramatically different way then women. That is why I teach men in a style unique to the way they learn. Once a man understands things logically, he is confident and stronger in his lead and therefore easier for the lady to trust and follow.
No - these are open to all dancers, regardless of levels, where or when you take your dancing. The only requirement is they must have taken a couple of lessons in at least one dance. This is a Practice opportunity, not an instructional class. However, it is instructor supervised by Sabrina Thievin to answer all you questions! So bring your friends.
My personal favorites are Dirty Dancing, the original Shall We Dance (Japanese!) and any Fred Astaire movie. Click here for a list of some other greats!
it is 81560 4400.
This is a question I am often asked. Due to popular demand, I now have a page on my website as a tab Dance Song Suggestions under FAQ to help you with that. It lists an evolving suggestions of songs for dances that you can use for
- creating your own practice playlists
- DJ requests for dances, weddings and other events
- figuring out what dances you might want to learn based on the music you like
There is also another special tab under FAQ - Wedding Song Suggestions. On this page you can find suggested songs for
- first dance for the Bride & Groom
- dances with/for the Parents
- dances specific for the Bride & her father
- dances specific for the Groom & his mother
You can also order Practice albums online with iTunes - I recommend you look for the label Dancelife.
One of the first things you are taught when you take lessons is "the line of dance".
There are different types of dances - ones that travel and ones that stay in a slot or a spot.It is important to follow line of dance when it comes to social dancing for the dancing to flow as smoothly and safely as possible.
* line of dance travels counter clockwise
* Traveling dances (fox trot, waltz, tango, samba, two step, quick step, polka) go around the perimeter of the dance floor.
* Advanced dancers will need the outside lane for their high speed dance moves
* Less Advanced dancers - dance in the lower speed travel lane
* Dancing on the spot (free style, jive, salsa, mambo, east coast, rumba, cha cha, bachata) - dance in the centre of the dance floor
* Slot dances (west coast swing, nightclub, hustle) - claim a spot in the centre of the dance floor
When you first begin social dancing, it can feel like you are entering a merry go round, and can be a little intimidating. Beginners often want to stay on the outside corner, thinking they won't be noticed, but it's important to get inside to the slower lane.
~ Article by Kim Maksym