Category Archives: dance-o-rama

Diversification in your Dancing

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Diversification! The standard practice in long-term investments is diversification. Simply put diversification means spreading out your investments over a variety of stocks to gain the solid returns and minimize risk. By doing this, you reduce the risk to your entire portfolio if a few stocks goes south. This same principle applies to your dancing. If your dance program is your stock portfolio, having only one dance will make your returns minimal, restricting your growth as a dancer and your return on your program. Here’s how diversifying your dance portfolio will yield you a safe and profitable dance portfolio.

Social

Social dancing is the reason most people come to Arthur Murray. Whether it’s going out and meeting people or having more to do with the people they know, learning to dance takes us places we never thought we’d go. Salsa dancing on the beach, Argentine Tango in the streets of Buenos Aires, West Coast Swing in an underground blues club, or two-steppin’ at a Texas Honky Tonk.  While many of these places cater to their individual dance style, none of them feature exclusively that one kind of dance.

Head to a salsa club and you’ll find Merengue, Cha-Cha, Bachata, Rumba, and maybe even a Samba.

Fancy the Argentine Tango clubs? Then being able to dance Tango Vals and Milonga are mandatory. Different beats need different feets.

How about Swing Clubs? East and West Coast Swing are used interchangeably, including both Triple and Single Time Swing, along with the occassional Lindy Hop. But throw in a slow swing and you’ve got a foxtrot on your hands as well.

Feel like boot-scootin’ around Billy Bob’s? Besides Two Step, there’s Texas Two Step, Country Shuffle, Country Swing, Country Waltz, Country Cha-Cha, and Three Step.

And as I’m sure you know, when you dance at an Arthur Murray party, you have to be prepared for ANYTHING! From Waltz to Rumba, Bachata to Bolero, Viennese Waltz to The Cupid Shuffle, Arthur Murray parties prepare you for the wide variety of dances out in the world. When someone asks you to dance, saying “No, I only dance salsa,” means you’ll be be sitting out 9/10 of the dances played. Eventually, no one will ask you dance because you only spend nine minutes of an hour and a half party dancing. How boring! By learning all the dances in your area of interest instead of the one on the door, you’ll increase your skill and attractiveness when you’re out dancing.

Techniques

Diversification not only increases your attractiveness socially, but it improves your dancing skills more quickly than a single-focus program. Not only is each dance made for a particular type of music but each one gives you a different skill set. Waltz is dance yoga, teaching you grace, control, and flexibility. Salsa teaches quick movements and tight spins. Just pairing these two dances up would give you the ability to add sharp turns to your Waltz, a beautiful contrast to the dance’s smooth, stately look. On the flip side, developing your strong Waltz frame will make you easier to lead or follow out on the floor. And while Salsa is more of street dance, giving way to looser posture and footwork, a background in Waltz gives you a stronger, eye-catching look on the floor.

Exposure

Another way diversification improves your dancing is by earlier exposure to moves. Some steps in the arrive in your syllabus earlier in one dance than they do in others. An example is pivots. Pivots are taught at the Bronze 3 level in Waltz, Bronze 4 in Tango, and Silver 1 in Foxtrot. If you only invest your time in Foxtrot, you’ll only see and practice pivots for the first time on completion of your Bronze. By learning your waltz or tango, you get to skip ahead and learn the move early so rather than taking pivots in all at once by the time you get to your silver Foxtrot, you’ll already have a working knowledge of the step and you can skip ahead to the particulars of Foxtrot instead. Many moves show up earlier in one dance than they do in others and by spreading yourself out, you’ll be more prepared for the advanced levels.

How to Diversify your Dance Program

Now, to diversify your dance program I’m not recommending you sign up for all 20+ dances Arthur Murray teaches on the first day of lessons. That would be like buying one of EVERY stock on the stock market. At that point, you’ve gone too far. With the four pillars of stock diversification being growth, growth and income, aggressive growth, and international, your four pillars of Arthur Murray Diversification are below.

People

Dancing with a variety of people makes you a more adaptable and flexible dancer, letting you lead or follow the widest variety of dancers. Being able to lead the same move on a brand new student and a silver student shows the sign of true mastery in leading. Being able to follow not only the crazy moves your teacher throws at you but the two moves a brand new student has just learned will make you sought after by all possible partners.

Dances

Being a one-trick pony is really great until the next trick is called. If you can only dance one dance, you’ll sit out 90% of dances and dance only a few times per party. Maybe you can dance salsa, but what if you find yourself at country bar? Or a formal waltz? Being well-veresed in each dance will give your dancing more reach in the world. Also, being strong in your smooth dances will make your rhythm dances develop fullness and strength whereas your rhythm dances will give your rhythm dances the pop and flash to make you stand out.

Location

Just dancing in the studio or with your instructor isn’t enough to break you away from your small comfort zone. Coming to After Hours, Medal Balls, Showcases, and Dance-o-Ramas all give you the ability and confidence to dance anywhere in the world. The best thing you can do is enhance your comfort zone and find out what it’s like to dance on empty floor with tons of people cheering only for you or dancing your heart out to take home a first place at Dance-o-Rama. Or just do it so when you’re dancing at a party and your teacher says “Hey, we need a party demo tonight. Can we do our foxtrot?” you have no fear about getting out there and performing.

Music  

Music sounds different when you dance to it. When you’re moving to the music, you’ll feel beats you never knew were there. Hate country? Do a few laps of two-step and find out how energetic those pickers and kickers can be. Not into EDM? Too bad because they make great hustles. Dancing adds a new dimension to the way we hear, see, and feel music, so open yourself up to a diverse range of songs.

How to Diversify

Above, we said signing up for every single dance Arthur Murray teaches at the beginning isn’t the best way to begin diversification. If you did that, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re putting each egg in its own basket. By the time you need the last egg, you’ve forgotten where the basket is and inside is a rotten egg. Instead, focus on 6-10 dances as your primary dances in your private lessons: The dances that you know you want to learn plus the dances your teacher recommends for supplementing your favorites. Because Arthur Murray focuses on custom, personalized dance programs, we can’t give you specifics on your program. Work with your teacher and counselor to develop the perfect program for your dancing goals and dreams.

For the dances you’re not actively working on, go to group classes! These give you the basic tools to get through a dance. Although no replacement for private lessons, they give you a working knowledge of dances you’re either curious about or not interested in at all, but still want to be able to dance during a party or an After Hours.

And most importantly, change your dance program! Never think the dances you started with are the ones you’ll finish with. Times change, people change, interests change, so if you want to upgrade one dance from “every now and then” to “all the time,” don’t hesitate! As teachers we love hearing how excited you are about a new dance. We’re here to make your dance dreams come true, and coming to us with innovative ways to energize your dance program makes us thrilled about your commitment to your dancing future.

Developing security and profitably in your dancing is an easy goal to achieve if you follow the simple rule of diversification. Your golas combied with your teacher’s experience will create a stable, solvent dance program that will assure you long-term gains over your dancing lifetime.

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