When To Say Enough Is Enough – An Interview with Maria Hansen

The only thing standing between you and winning is yourself.

Many of us can relate to Maria’s experience as a new dancer. When you are a new dancer, you are completely open to learning and often see the teachers or dance partners around you as superior in every way. You want to learn everything correctly from the very beginning. You take everything to heart. If you are not careful, however, you may be manipulated by a short tempered, demanding, and degrading dance partner. It can be especially confusing if they are not always so unpredictable. You will feel like you are starting to get the hang of it until they snap at you again. This adds to your self doubt in which you listen even harder the next time.

Passion is always authentic.

Humility and open mindedness is certainly important in a new student, but tolerating disrespect is not. A person’s skill level and experience should never be an indication of the respect and patience that person deserves. Decide that being berated is beneath you. You deserve patience, to be able to make mistakes freely, and praise. With an encouraging partner, you are more likely to enjoy dancing, and in turn pursue it passionately! Passion is always authentic and can’t be forced or faked.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Then, with this newfound determination and passion, you can focus on the important part of competing: improvement.  Of course, winning always feels good. It makes others envious and validates the long hours you invested into something tangible that others can see and respect. However, you can only win by persistently and ruthlessly improving. The only thing standing between you and winning is yourself. It’s your need to improve, to know and stand up for yourself, and the need to work well with your partner. Not one other person on the dance floor can take that away or give that to you.

Once you build up a sense of confidence from improving yourself and knowing yourself well, you will know when to accept a harsh critique… and when not to!

How To Tell The Difference – Social Latin Dancing

If you are new to the dance world, it can be difficult to tell dances in the same genre apart. Here’s a quick guide to few in the ever-popular social Latin dance category!

MERENGUE

Firstly, we’ll start with the simple and casual Merengue dance. Originally a Dominican dance (and the official dance of their country), Merengue is an easy dance to introduce a new student to Latin Dancing. It follows a very steady  1-2-1-2 beat with a simple hip motion that can be built upon later for other types of dance in the future. It’s a very social and lighthearted dancing, not nearly as passionate and intimate as most Latin dances.

CHA CHA

Cha Cha, or “cha-cha-cha!”  is one of the more popular social Latin dances. Made popular in the 1950’s when Americans often visited Cuba. It’s often used danced to with Latin Pop and Latin Rock with moves that are sharp and attention-grabbing. It’s rhythm is easy to master, of course. One, two, cha-cha-cha! But the technique is a bit harder to master. Basic Cha Cha steps consist of a rockstep and chasse. That rockstep and, of course, flourishes and hip movement, this playful dance one of the most loved Latin dances today!

 

SALSA

Originating from groovy and stylish 1970’s New York, Salsa dancing is a combination of dance styles. It’s based in techniques found in Cha Cha and Mambo with an influence of Swing dancing. The music it’s danced to has influence from African drums. The steps are usually two quick steps and one slow, and more advanced social salsa dancers will add flourishes and turns to add to their performance.

 

SAMBA

Samba originated in Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century. It is danced in 4/4 or 2/4 time and can be danced alone or with a partner.  This dance is very popular among Latin dances and is characterized by being danced to Samba music and the slight dropping movement that come with a small dropping action in basic steps.

BACHATA

Bachata is another social Latin dance originating from the Dominican Republic, named after Bachata guitar music. It’s a dance that is very close to the body and involves lots of hip swaying and turning. Typically the dance is done holding both hands but it tends to become more intimate, much like the tango.

 

Keep studying different types of Latin Dance and you will be able to recognize them with no problem. Never limit yourself to just the more popular ones! It’s wonderful and fun to know so many kinds of Latin dance and will earn respect among your peers.

 

Blackpool 2018 Winners – Congratulations Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova!

Katusha Demidova and Arunas Bizokas are an aspiring Standard Ballroom professional dancer’s dream come true. The couple took the title at Blackpool Dance Festival for the 8th year in a row!

Katusha and Arunas are the current World Professional Ballroom Champions, British Open Champions, United Kingdom Champions, International Champions, and 3 times United States Champions. From the beginning of their dance partnership, Katusha and Arunas took the Dancesport community by storm. One month into their dance partnership they won the Ohio Star Ball. Two months in, they were competing in the United Kingdom Open Championships. There they placed second among the top dancers of the world. By September of 2009, after dancing together for only two years, they won their first World Championship title.

The couple draws your eyes with their irresistible charm and a chemistry that can’t be faked. Katusha and Arunas now run Rogers Dance Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. The gorgeous dance studio where they teach everything from social dancing to dancesport competition training. Katusha and Arunas continue to improve and learn their dancing and pass on their wisdom and knowledge to students of all age.

Congratulations on winning first place in Blackpool for 8 years in a row, to one of the most loved and well respected dance couples around!

Work Worth Doing

“Far and way the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

One of our favorite things about this interview is the emphasis that Forrest Vance has on positivity. Positivity allows you to view yourself with potential. It’s a form of visualization. You see yourself having a chance at success.

Of course, positive thinking does not come easily to most people. For most, it’s the opposite of their instinct. It is so easy, particularly as a new dancer, to become overwhelmed and want to quit. So how does one change a mindset from a negative to a positive way of thinking?

There’s never one answer that works for everyone, of course. One thing that successful people have in common is to work with pleasure toward their goals. Realize that what you want to do is worthwhile, important, and fun, and that it will continue even if you do not continue with it. Furthermore, by studying it, you become even more worthwhile, important, and fun (well, more so than you already are!).

This is not meant to discourage. In fact, it should urge you to chase after what you want before it slips from your fingers! There is so much to learn, so many techniques, so many people who love dancing just as much as you do. What good does it do anyone to stop before you even begin?

Do you allow dancing to encourage or discourage you? Do you feel like you’re getting a chance to be part of something you love, getting a chance to be good at something fulfilling?

Create a shortcut on your Home Screen

If you find that you constantly refer to the website to look at the DVIDA manuals & videos, you should add a shortcut to your home screen.  This is a great way to get quick access to the website.  It’s very easy to do and by adding this shortcut icon,  you’ll never have to type in the URL again.

Here’s how on iOS:

  1. Go the www.DanceVision.com.
  2. Tap the Share button.  It’s the icon that looks like a box with and arrow shooting out the top.
  3. Scroll through the options and tap “Add to Home Screen”. See image
  4. Give the icon a name.  A window will appear that allows you to edit the name of the website.  Press Add.

 

Here’s how on Android:

 

  1. Go to www.DanceVision.com
  2. Tap the three dots at the top-right of the Chrome window.
  3. Select Add to Home Screen.
  4. Edit Name, then select Add.

 

An icon for Dance Vision will now appear on your Home screen like an app. So the next time you’re at the studio and need to review some Tango figures, you’ll be able to quickly get to the website.  Happy Dancing!

 

How To Build Self Confidence: An Interview With Toni Redpath


“What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.”  – David Bayles

In addition to this wonderful interview of Toni Redpath by Dance Teachers Academy Podcasts, we thought we would throw in a few extra notes for our dancers – whether a beginner who is learning how to present themselves, or an experienced dancer struggling with their confidence.

When you see your role model doing what you wish you could, you have three options on how to view that person in relation to yourself:

  1. The most popular reaction is, “I’ll never be able to do that!” This view provides low sense of capability for yourself and an untouchable and unattainable talent toward your role model. This viewpoint provides nothing but paralysis and harmful self-criticism.
  2. Looking at the role model and saying “I’m better than him/her, he/she just doesn’t know it yet.” This fist-shaking view provides a superiority complex bred of insecurity for you, and dismissal of true value and skill of your role model. While this viewpoint does not lack confidence that is needed to be successful, you will likely feel above learning the building blocks of skills that will allow you to be technically correct in dance. This can cause you to have the reputation of a know-it-all with, realistically, very little knowledge.
  3. The healthiest view, which is “How can I do that?” Not only does it give you an honest view of yourself, of all your successes and your shortcomings, it gives you a realistic goal to meet.

Only with the “How can I do that?” view can you improve. We know, it sounds cheesy. Are you surrounded with knowledgeable, kind people who are honest with you? Do they build you up when you do something correct and offer you solutions when you’re wrong? Do you recognize your mistakes and congratulate yourself on your success?  If you find yourself unable to view yourself as successful, consider what kind of criticism you’re accepting. Be kind to yourself and choose your company carefully. Dancing is supposed to be technically correct, but also FUN!

Blackpool Dance Festival is LIVE!

Tune into Blackpool Dance Festival, one of the longest-running dancesport competitions in the world! Since 1920 in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Blackpool Dance Festival has offered top-notch dancing and entertainment! Last year was the 92nd year of the event and there were 61 countries represented. A total of 2,970 entries in 13 events, 2 Ballroom Formation teams and 8 Latin Formation Teams (source: blackpooldancefestival.com)

We can’t wait to see the turnout this year! Don’t miss another second, join the live stream now. Running May 24 – June 1, 2018.

Argentine Tango – Improvisation

Ginger Rogers once said, “When two people love each other, they don’t look at each other, they look in the same direction.” While you may not always be in love with your Argentine Tango partner (or you might!), the intimate nature of the dance resonates with this saying. To dance the Argentine Tango is not to mirror each other; instead, it is about acting and reacting. The dancers have two very different objectives, working in tandem to create the beautiful tango. Let us further explain the objectives of each dancer.

Argentine Tango is a series of improvised movements that are executed by two independent individuals. There are no basic tango steps, no checklist of steps to complete before the end of a song. A good leader must have the sense about him not only to choose the next move, but to invite his partner to make that step in a way that is clear to her. She must accept the invitation, complete the movement, then regain her balance. Once she is ready again to follow, he invites her again.

The follower may indicate that she would like to stop for a moment and add an adornment, which the leader can accept and allow her to add to the dance, or he can choose to continue in the steps that he planned next. This allows the follower to add her own flair to the dance, and perhaps give the leader a moment of stillness to design their next move. The leader must be dependable, but flexible, and wait for his follower to be ready to follow him again. The follower must be agile, adaptable, and trust the leader.

If you are new to the Argentine Tango, try listening to your partner in this way. Leaders, wait for your follower to regain her balance before you invite her to follow you again. Followers, don’t be afraid to communicate that you want to slow down and add to the dance. Your personality and how you improvise together is what makes the tango so extraordinary!