Home / Benefits of Dance / Life Lessons from Ballroom Dancing — Part 1

Life Lessons from Ballroom Dancing — Part 1

Life Lessons From Ballroom Dancing - Part 1



Improved posture, balance, and muscle tone, making new life-lasting friendships, feeling a sense of achievement, and relieving stress are all benefits of ballroom dancing. But do you know that there are also additional gains and life skills that are part of your ballroom dancing? Here, in this first portion of our two part article, we are listing some of them:

  • No Challenge, No Change — It is true that without facing challenges and difficulties, there can be no change. Even if you’re someone who can move well and dance to music, without the challenge to learn new things and techniques, you’ll always stay on a plateau and feel that you’re not improving. This principle is valid in life in general. Ballroom dancing, with its beautiful complexity, pushes your limits and challenges your body, mind, and soul — to become a better version of yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • Hold Your Own (frame) — To be independent, we need to hold our own. Our own body, our thoughts, our actions, etc. Ballroom dancing teaches you that without a good and firm frame, that you need to hold on your own, you can’t be a good partner, but someone that is constantly dependent on someone else. Hold your own and you’ll be a better dancer (and a person.)
  • Own It — To become a better dancer you need to know your steps. Period. Without knowing their steps, man cannot lead, and will always feel lost, and without knowing their steps, ladies cannot follow and will feel like rag dolls, thrown around the dance floor. Individually knowing your routines will give you clarity and will make you a tremendously better partner. So, own your steps!
  • Man Leads, Woman Follows — This is probably the most difficult concept that both men and women face in dancing. Ladies need to overcome their natural desire to have control, they need to stop thinking, don’t anticipate, and let their partner lead. At the same time, the guys need to step up and take the lead. To truly be in charge, the leader needs to learn not only their own but their follower’s steps. It’s hard but the payoff of having a clear leader and follower shows in the dance fluidity. And a side note — the whole point of leading and following is not for the man to become a ruthless dictator and the woman to be a blind slave. No, not at all. The point of woman’s yielding is so that she gives the man the ability to show her off and to make her look her best. If we imagine the couple as a beautiful painting, the man will be the frame and the woman will be the painting itself. Both need to complement each other to create an eustatically pleasing piece of art.
Georgi Kanev and Adriana Bezmenova — the owners of Dance A Lot Ballroom Studio, dancing the Cha Cha on the song “It’s So Nice To Have a Man Around The House” at Dance A Lot’s Annual Winter Ball 2018
  • Give each other space — Ballroom dancing teaches both sexes a great life lesson — to respect one another. There’s an invisible wall between both partners separating the space between them equally on 50/50. It gives them the necessary boundaries to respect the other’s frame, in order to avoid conflicts and create something beautiful together. To make the couple ‘happen.’
  • Iron Sharpens Iron — As contra intuitive as it may sound, without slight tension and pressure between both partner’s hands and/or bodies, the partnership cannot be established. If one gives in, the other will feel his hands falling into a sinking sand. If the tension is overpowering, the other partner will feel that he’s fighting, and even abused by his partner. Both have to ‘resist’ one another just enough so they can create slight tension in their connection to be able either to lead or to follow…well.
  • There’s I in TEAM WORK— Ballroom dancing is both an individual and a collaborative form of activity; since it’s a coupled dance, your ability is just as important as your partner’s. You need to be 100% dependent on yourself, know your steps, hold your frame, stay on your own feet, but at the same time you need to team up with your partner so you can create a successful enterprise together.
  • If it’s too easy, Then it is Not Right — As in everything in life, it takes hard work, planning and practice to get something done right. And it’s quite different when you see a professional dancer do a move and think for yourself “I can do that” and then ACTUALLY try doing the move yourself…It’s totally a different story, right? There’s nothing natural in most anything in ballroom dancing — hyper extended feet, exaggerated hip rotations, over straight posture, etc. etc. When you try it and it feels too easy, then most likely you’re doing it wrong. You got to push your limits and if it’s hard, then you’re on your way to improvement. And of course, the amount of challenge will depend on your level. You won’t expect someone who just started lifting weights to lift 250 at his first few lessons, right? Same is with dancing — it must be challenging, but not impossible.
  • Learn and Perfect the Basics, Then Add On — You won’t build a house, starting with the roof, right? You need to lay a firm foundation first, (on a sturdy ground, not on sand), then add the walls and the supporting beams, then at the end put the roof, and then work on small details. It is tempting to want to work on the enhancements without mastering the basics. But doing so will only build your dancing on a shifting sand and will not get you far. So set yourself up for success, learn your basics, then built on to the next level from there. It doesn’t also mean it has to be perfect. It only means that you show that you understand the concepts and can continue to work on perfecting the basics.
  • Work on The Details — This is the next level we’re talking about. Like it or not we all judge the book by its cover first. In ballroom, like in life, working on those small details DOES make a difference. Learning how much of a turn you need to do, where to place your hand, how to extend your fingers to create a beautiful line, or on which foot to shift your weight are things that can help you get to the next level.
  • Say Yes To The Dress (of The Tale suit) — Let’s be honest — ballroom dancing is Disney Land for adults. You can be an engineer, an accountant, or a nurse in life. But in the ballroom, you can be Gene Kelly, or Alice from Wonderland, or Carmen Miranda. You can do dips and lifts (that feel like you’re on a rollercoaster), be a princess, a robber, a traveler, an eskimo, or your favorite Disney character. You can wear a suit or a fabulous sparkly sequin gown, specially designed for you by a professional dressmaker, that makes you glitter on stage. And when you show it your colleagues, they to look with unbelief and ask: “Is that really you?!” Yes, that’s the power of ballroom dancing.
Mary Serico performing “Alice in Wonderland” with her teacher Georgi Kanev at Dance A Lot’s Annual Dance Showcase “Dancing Stars 2017” at the Fair Lawn Community Center
  • Age Doesn’t Matter, Unless You’re a Cheese (or Wine) :D — One of the beauties of ballroom dancing is that it is a warm and loving community that welcomes people of all ages, race, and social status. You can be 3 or 93, and you’ll still be welcomed at Dance A Lot Ballroom Studio, with fun lessons, friendly environment, social parties, and upscale events, and where we’ll help you Find The Dancer In You.
Bonnie Probert (aka Bonnielicous), who has celebrated her 80th birthday, as Carmen Miranda dancing the Samba on the song “The Lady in a Tutti Frutti Hat” with her teacher Georgi Kanev in Millenium Dancesport Championships 2016

What are the life lessons you learned from ballroom dancing? And if you haven’t danced before, are you ready to start dancing and rip the benefits that ballroom dancing offers?

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