Every year around this time, people brace themselves for the season of social dancing, with holiday parties and this year, an Inaugural Ball on the horizon.
For some, dancing in social settings is no big deal. They’ll comfortably take their place on the dance floor when the music plays. However, many others may slink away from the parquet, clinging to their cocktail with the hope that no one will ask them to fox trot, waltz or tango and discover their dance floor unease.
“Dancing doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Evan Mountain, co-owner of Fred Astaire Dance Studio (FADS) here, with his wife Lada. “When I teach a class, I try to emulate the atmosphere of an actual event students might attend, putting them on the dance floor with a lot of people with music playing, so they can practice what they would do outside the studio.”
Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Bloomfield Hills is the largest ballroom dance studio in the state of Michigan. Opened in 2005 by Evan and Lada Mountain, the studio is part of a nationwide franchise that requires daily training for its teachers, who are dedicated to teaching dance full-time. The studio averages about 150 private dance lessons every week, plus eight group lessons and several weekly parties and events.
Practice makes progress, Mountain insists. “Offering a strong lead frame allows your partner to feel safe and comfortable. This is a simple skill, but it’s the most important one to nail down in practice. No one wants to be pushed or pulled across the floor, so taking time to learn easy techniques help people develop a fluid flow of connection,” Mountain says.
Dance is like any interactive activity: communication is key, and partnerships become stronger over time.
Mountain shares some easy tips for navigating social dancing:
· It’s important for both men and women to express themselves when they want to dance with someone. Taking initiative and possessing an aura of self-confidence allows you to enjoy yourself more in social situations – on the dance floor and off. If you don’t feel confident, fake it until you make it!
· Social dancing has no set choreography. It is about making a connection with another person through rhythm. Focus on that and you’ll feel fine on the dance floor.
· In order to have an enjoyable experience, you have to have trust in yourself and your partner. Being considerate and showing respect goes a long way on the dance floor – and off!
· Always thank your partner for the dance at the end, smile and make eye contact.
· Don’t aim for perfection; shoot for fun. That way, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the outcome.