Trying out a small starter program at the ballroom dance studio? Your instructor and other staff members will encourage you to come to the practice party.
They say, “Oh, you must come. You’ll have a blast!”
You say to yourself, “I’m not so sure. I don’t even know how to dance. How the heck do you go to a dance party when you don’t know how to dance?”
“What goes on at these things anyway?”
Although individual dance studios may have slightly different agendas for the party, basically they have certain activities in common.
- Group Class
- Staff Introductions
- “What’s going to happen tonight is…”
- Dance Mixer
- General Dancing
- Dance Demonstrations
- Goodnight Dance
Some studios will do all these things at each party while others will have special party nights for different things, such as monthly acknowledgment of accomplishments. But, in general, these are the kind of things that are happening during your practice party at a studio.
Let’s start with the pre-party Group Class. This is usually pretty well-attended and, believe it or not, that’s terrific for you as a newcomer.
The group classes usually rotate partners to give everyone a chance to dance with a variety of people. This is a great way to improve your partnership skills, that is, leading and following.
The best thing about going to the group class is that you’ll meet a lot of people and when you get to the party you’ll already know a bunch of the others. You won’t feel so shy.
The staff member who runs the party is called the Host and is the person who will do the Staff Introductions. You will, of course, see your instructor who will seat you with other students so you aren’t on your own.
Learn the names of the other staff members so that you can give a friendly hello when you dance. You’ll be dancing with your teacher, other teachers, and other students.
Yes, it’s a struggle in the beginning, but we’ve all been there. Staff and students will help and encourage you. It’s gonna be alright.
What in heaven’s name is a ‘Dance Mixer’? Is that the studio bartender? No, a Dance Mixer is a way to get everyone up and dancing around to start the party off.
A few of the mixers are ‘Waterfall’, ‘Snowball’, and ‘Line of Dance’. Your Host will choose one and explain how to do it. These are lots of fun and everyone enjoys themselves.
It’s called General Dancing when the music is played and everyone is free to choose a partner and have a dance. (Coming soon: Dance Etiquette blog.)
What’s new and exciting at the studio? After a bit, there will be a break in the dancing so the Host can do announcements to:
- Welcome new students
- Congratulate student and staff achievements
- Spread the word about upcoming events, etc.
Many studios will set aside time at the party for Demonstrations. These enable you to see different levels of dancing, giving you a chance to project the future and imagine yourself as a better dancer.
Remember, we all started the same way – no one is a born dancer! A bonus is the pro-show. It’s always entertaining to watch the professional dancers strut their stuff.
Usually, after sitting for a while, your Host will announce an activity for everyone. This can be another Mixer or maybe a Line Dance. If it’s a line dance, it might be one that everyone knows or it could be a ballroom line dance that the instructor makes up on the spot.
(They’re very clever like that!) All attendees are invited and you’re up and moving again.
And, finally, the last dance of the evening is called the Goodnight Dance.
And, that’s about it. If you’ve done your homework in choosing the best studio for your dance education, like Cinderella, you’ll be enjoying a new and exciting experience.
Check out my post, “5 Things to Look for in a Ballroom Dance Studio“ to get an idea of what to look for.
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