One Dance, Two Dances, Three Dances, Four…
By Lorraine Jacquard
Some people limit their dance repertoire to one or two styles, which surprises me. I’m one of those people who want to be out there on the dance floor as often as possible, dancing to whatever music is being played. It wasn’t always this way. When I first started ballroom dancing, my preference was for the rhythm dances – especially Salsa, Cha-Cha and Rumba. The more I learned about Waltz, Foxtrot, and Tango, the more I learned to appreciate them and began to enjoy all styles almost equally. I’m hard pressed to name a favorite now.
The thing is, once you learn the fundamentals and steps of one style of dance, it’s relatively easy to learn another style. The principles remain the same for frame, and lead and follow. Of course, the basic rhythm and footwork will change but many of the patterns cross over from dance to dance. For instance, a basic box, rotating box, and slow underarm turn are used in Waltz, Foxtrot and Rumba. The “open break”, pivot turns, cuddle/wrap, shoulder checks, back spot turns are all steps that are used in Salsa, Swing, Rumba, Cha-Cha and 2 step. There are more cross over steps but you get the idea.
I asked my friend, Evelyn Avanti, whom I knew had started expanding her dance repertoire in the last year, what inspired her. Here’s what she had to say:
“When I first started private lessons, I wanted to be a great Salsa dancer. I told my teacher that was all I was interested in. Before long, he suggested that we try a Rumba. We did, and I liked it! That was the beginning of a whole new world opening up to me. One dance led to another, and soon my repertoire had expanded to include Cha-Cha, Nightclub Two-Step, and East Coast Swing. The more dances I tried, the more dances I liked! More recently I’ve become excited about West Coast Swing, Hustle, Bolero, Tango, Waltz… I’m like a kid in a candy store. So many dances, so little time…
If the world is our playground, and variety is the spice of life, why limit ourselves? With so many dances that I enjoy, I never get bored. I love the variety. Each dance brings with it different music, different rhythms, different feelings, and a different aspect of myself to experience and express, whether it’s the graceful beauty of Waltz, the romance of Nightclub Two-Step, the sexiness of Salsa, or the passion of Bolero. We are multi-faceted people, so why not be multi-faceted dancers? Now, I couldn’t imagine limiting myself to just one dance, anymore than I could imagine limiting myself to one type of food or music that I enjoy. So I encourage all you dancers out there to try something new! There is a whole world of dances out there to enjoy, each one with something unique to bring to us, and to bring out in us.”
So, go for it – try a new dance or two and you just might find yourself appreciating new music, meeting new people and best of all, dancing more.