So at this point in my ballroom dancing journey, I am at a point where (as my instructor puts it), I can either plateau or go to really the next level. That is really a great sentiment and absolutely where I want to go. It’s funny though… where I am, I feel that things are going pretty well. I am proving myself as being one of the better more popular gentlemen in the studio, feel good about how I look when I dance, and confidence is (or was) at an all-time high.
But here we are going to the next level. Now, with Arthur Murray, that next level is progressing from Associate Bronze to Bronze level and Bronze level is no joke! Now, in order to progress, you have to “check out” to the next level. That includes being judged on the major figures in front of a senior instructor. I have been through this a number of times before so that part isn’t a problem, but for some reason, there has emerged something that is very troubling with the Cha Cha for any dancer … musical timing.
Now, you can be one of the worst dancers from a technique perspective. You can simply shuffle your feet… you can have the weakest of frames… you can look down at your feet the whole time… and still do better than the guy with the best form and technique, but can’t stay on time with the music. For the life of me, I don’t know why it is, but I have an idea. So the Cha Cha count goes 1..2..3.. 4 and 1 (Cha Cha Cha)… rinse and repeat. My instructor pointed me to the 1 beat and how I’m cutting it short (not giving it the full beat) and with a fast dance like Cha Cha, it’s very easy to get off time when you cut a beat short.
So here I am… listening to my playlist of Cha Cha music counting out every bloody “1″ I can. If I can’t figure this out, my dance career might be cut short too J.
So in the previous article, Preparing first choreography … What?!?, I describe the process of preparing for the first choreography to be performed at a dance competition as a solo. Well, my wonderful instructor and I did perform this luscious Tango and I do have to say that it was one of the most rewarding (and terrifying) experiences I have encountered in my life. Now you have to understand that it wasn’t the kind of thing that I could mentally prepare all day and then perform. No, this was smack-dab in the middle of all the other dances we were dancing in the competition. So after performing all of our smooth dances (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot) as well as a good number of our rhythm dances, it was time.
I quickly retired to the changing room to put on my very fitted costume. The shirt was official competition style… buttons in the crotch and all. The pants were also competition style where they didn’t hide anything. So then I went back to the ballroom to wait for our time.
Once the time came, I took my position and my instructor took hers. I’ll be honest… once the music started, it’s really all a blur. I do know that I didn’t see any of the audience during it. I was so in character that and into the dance that I could help but have tunnel vision. It must have been good, though. The entire section from our studio were on their feet giving honest applause and recognition. One fellow dancer said that she actually cried. Now, for me it’s not about the awards or accolades. If I can actually move someone with my dancing then I know I’ve won. And now I’m hooked on performing choreography.
Shortly after the competition, I acquired more choreography (this time a Rumba).
Let’s see if I can pull that one off…
OK so it’s been a good while since I’ve been back in here. I promise to post more since there’s so much that’s going on in my world of ballroom dancing. For this post, though, I wanted to discuss a phenomenon that happens to gentlemen that engage in ballroom dancing. So we’ve discussed the social and personal benefits of ballroom dance: better self confidence, better cardiovascular strength, and the sharper mind.
What I’ve noticed over the past few months is another remarkable value with ballroom dance: a chistled male ballroom dancer’s body. You’ve all seen what I’ve talked about. It’s the slender body that has rock-hard muscle. And gentlemen, this body does make women go a bit nuts.
So why does ballroom dance create such a physique? Well, if you think about it, you use muscles you would never ever use otherwise. I’m talking about every aspect of the core. Since it’s your spine that drives moving in ballroom rhythm and it’s the strength and consistency of the frame that drives ballroom smooth, a man’s body starts to strengthen these certain areas and the physique is born.
Then you go one step further. Especially in rhythm dancing, you start to isolate hip action, core and rib action, all while keeping your top line straight. This again works all of those muscles from the 6 pack to the obliques to every muscle in your back.
So gentlemen… as if you didn’t have enough reasons to get into ballroom dance… it will make you look fantastically sexy… and the ladies love that!