I have to admit that I couldn’t wait to write this blog post. Why? Because I’m a ballroom dance FREAK! Way before Dancing with the Stars, I was completely smitten with the rhythm and smooth dances, including rumba, cha-cha, swing, merengue, samba, mambo, foxtrot, waltz, tango, and even quickstep (once I figured out how to not fall down after stumbling across the floor).
My husband actually seduced me with rumba. He took me to the local reservoir, and, as the twilight descended, he taught me the rumba basic--two bodies pressing close in a slow, quick, quick, slow rhythm--and I fell in love. With my husband, too. lol
All of these dances can be sooooo romantic, but they don’t have to be. Ballroom is also just a fun activity that friends and family can enjoy together. The greatest aspect of ballroom is that it is a great way for people of all ages to enjoy movement and music, and I think this is why so many families enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars together.
I don’t watch DwtS very often, because I’d really rather just watch people dance than watch them compete. I’ve been a DanceSport competitor, and while it was great fun, it also shouldn’t be confused with ballroom as a social dance. I much prefer social dancing because my husband has no qualms about improvising from the basic step to fit the music, and to me THAT is dancing. Some ballroom dancers are purists who can be very adamant about how a basic or pattern should be done and about which dance should be done to which kind of music. If you watch DwtS, you can probably perceive this in the judges’ comments occasionally. What I do enjoy about the show is that the competitors are willing to dance to music that people wouldn’t think of as typical ballroom.
For example, many times people get the impression that Swing can only be danced to 1940s Big Band tunes, but it’s one of the most flexible dances around and can be danced to much of what’s played on the radio. Think you’re not hip enough to dance to Hip Hop or Rap? Think again. All you need to know is how to do a basic cha-cha-cha, which is the rhythm often used in this genre of music. Disco is the same way. You don’t have to know the hustle to dance disco, even though it is the ballroom dance most often associated with that era. A basic swing or cha step will get you moving, and for the slower tunes, a nice rumba basic will get you by nicely.
I remember my mother teaching me a basic waltz box step when I was just a kid, telling me that it was a social grace I needed to know. Ballroom basics are great for teaching social skills and etiquette to children, as well as poise, balance, and good exercise habits. Especially in the current times when kids (and adults) are faced with so many body image issues, ballroom has a way of helping many individuals learn to accept themselves while keeping in shape at the same time. At first, it is easy to feel awkward and think everyone is watching just you. However, it becomes evident that everybody is watching everybody. You’re part of a group of people enjoying and interpreting the music, and there are so many different ways to do it that you can’t go wrong if you just get up and dance.
And that’s the key. Dance for me is a metaphor for life. The important thing is to participate. Go with the beat, the rhythm of all living things. You control it. It doesn’t control you. Work from the basics. If you forget what you’re supposed to being doing, go back to a basic until you figure it out. Of course my favorite ballroom saying, and I don’t know who said it first but it bears repeating, is this: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t got it, flaunt it anyway!” lol
Learning to dance has been a precious gift my husband gave me for which I will be eternally grateful, because dancing of all kinds can bring people of all ages together in fellowship to make precious memories and sometimes even promote healing. If you don’t believe me, just watch this video clip. Happy Dancing!