Ballroom dancing has three primary aspects, social dancing, competitive dancing, and showcase performances. In my experience,once the partner dancing bug bites, you’ll probably want to dabble in all three.
A brief introduction to the social, competitive, and showcase dancing styles.
Here’s the truth. Absolutely, no one walks into a ballroom dance studio and says, “Get me ready for the stage and screen. In addition to that, I want to do it all – live shows, and competitions. And, of course, let’s not forget YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Where do I sign?”
No, they don’t. In fact, with almost no exceptions they say, “I just want to learn a few steps so I can dance with a partner when I hear live music at the (your choice) country club, nightclub, bar, wedding, cruise.“
A social dance floor isn’t the place to show off.
- Keep everything on the smaller side. To this end, avoid large steps and fancy arm styling.
- Please, no kicks or lifts.
- The whole experience should be more intimate, concentrating on your partner.
- It’s okay to make a conversation. That’s because social dancing and chit-chat go together.
This Dance Safari post, “Underarm Turns – the ABC’s and Essential Elements“, discusses the turns that are used quite often in partner dancing.
It’s for sure, if you’re taking lessons in a ballroom dance studio, sooner or later your instructor is going to suggest that you enter a competition. At this point, you’re gonna say, “I didn’t come here for that. I don’t want a lot of people watching and judging me.” We understand. We really do.
However, entering a ballroom dance competition is the number one way to improve a bunch of your partner dances very quickly. When you know you’ll be dancing in front of the judges and a crowd, somehow you work a little harder. So you’ll practice more or squeeze in a few extra lessons. And, when it’s all over, you’ll say, “That was fun! By the way, when’s the next one?“.
Style and technique are key elements of competitive dancing.
- Competition style dancing involves large, grand movements from the size of the steps to arm and hand styling. The objective is to dance big enough so the audience in the cheap seats can see you.
- Some competitive dancers have lifts and tricks in their routines.
- Good competitors know how to get the judges’ attention.
- An expressive style shows the different characteristics of each dance.
A performance in a studio showcase can be anything from a beginner’s 1-minute ballroom dance demonstration (known as a Spotlight) to a Broadway-style number featuring a student and the entire staff.
The point of the Spotlight is to let the newer student get his or her performing feet wet. On the other hand, the full-staff showcase extravaganza is meant to challenge a more advanced student with a show-stopping routine.
when it comes to showcase, It’s all about the presentation.
- You’ll be dressing up for your dance performance. Either ballroom or theatrical costumes are encouraged.
- Acting is definitely a part of any showcase routine. With this in mind, think Fred and Ginger or Dancing with the Stars.
- Many times the choreography will include props. For instance, an umbrella for “Singing in the Rain“.
- Whether your routine is dramatic, romantic, or silly, ya gotta have fun!
As studios are beginning to re-open, I hope you’ll make the choice to get back to dancing. Additionally, maybe expand your horizons a bit. What do you think?