11 Secrets Of Medal Ball That Everyone Misses
1. They Won’t Ask
Summary: Your teacher will not ask you to participate in this event, if they didn’t believe you were ready, and could benefit from the experience.
Why: Your teacher would lose credibility as an Arthur Murray professional if you, and countless others, failed miserably at the Medal Ball.
Verdict: Your teacher has a vested interest in making sure you look good at the graduation.
2. Balance And Beyond
Summary: Working on your Medalist graduation teaches one of the most important skills in any dance style: Balance.
Why: Developing the ability to dance patterns with, or without, your teacher demonstrates great balance, control, and, ultimately, confidence.
Verdict: A dancer with great balance is someone that can make dancing look easy.
3. Build A Balcony
Summary: It’s easy to think that the answers are written on your feet sometimes. (They aren’t) Build your posture by finding the spot where the ceiling and the wall meet. Imagine there’s a balcony there with all of your family and friends.
Why: Going beyond “normal posture” will ensure that, even, under stress you look confident and well rehearsed.
Verdict: If your friends and family were taking pictures of you dancing from an actual balcony, make sure it’s of your face, and not the top of your head.
4. Dance Your Whole Body
Summary: When dancing the patterns for your graduation, use any part of your body that was covered in your level.
Why: Memory. When you have more of your body activated, even dancing on your own, your feet aren’t doing a solo – they’ll be in concert with your arms, rib cage, hips, or head position.
Verdict: Knowing your patterns is the first step in the refining process, but not the last.
5. When You Feel Ready
Summary: Arthur Murray students won’t realize they were ready for the event… until the event is halfway over, or even the following the event.
Why: Your instructor will always tell you that you’re ready 4-6 weeks before you realize you are.
Verdict: Treat “ready” as something in the past tense. You won’t feel that way until after the event has started anyway.
6. How It Feels To You
Summary: You improve in three different ways as a dancer:
1. How Your Dancing Looks
2. How Your Dancing Feels to Your Partner
3. How Your Dancing Feels to You
The hardest area to make improvement is “How Dancing Feels To You”.
Why: We are our own worst critics, so it’s important to know that you can still make progress in other areas, even if you don’t feel like you deserve it.
Verdict: You will never improve in all three ways equally or simultaneously.
7. The Catalog
Summary: You can achieve progress by watching the other students, different levels, and communicating what stood out to you to your teacher. It’s like a catalog for your dance program.
Why: If your teacher were your interior decorator, the better they understand your vision, the sooner they can deliver that vision to you.
Verdict: Every phase of this experience is a chance to make progress, as long as you communicate with your teacher.
8. The Flash Formation
Summary: The Flash Formation adds two incredibly important elements to this event that sometimes get overlooked: Fun and Teamwork.
Why: Rallying for a studio goal alleviates some of the pressure you may have put on yourself for your own graduation.
Verdict: What’s not to love about a group dance routine that gets you to scream, laugh, and generally behave like you’re in the middle of High School spirit week?
What Is A “Flash Formation”?
Several years ago, in an effort to build school spirit and enthusiasm, the Arthur Murray Bay Area schools began the Flash Formation. Each school in the area is given the same song for a group dance routine. The winning studio takes home the Flash Formation trophy with the studio name engraved on it… until the next Medal Ball. Read more about the Flash formation here.
9. Share Your Celebration
Summary: You may have attended countless piano recitals, belt ceremonies, and basketball tournaments.
Why: This is your chance to shine, and this dance milestone deserves an audience.
Verdict: There were plenty of things you overcame to get to this stage in your dancing. If there was one event that highlights that, it’s your graduation from one level to the next in your dance program.
10. Retrofit The Journey
Summary: Not only should your dance program expand vertically (moving up the chart), it should also expand horizontally (adding new dances or projects).
Why: Your dance program should always stay interesting, exciting, and should constantly expand your comfort zone.
Verdict: A customized plan isn’t a one time thing. It is an ongoing process that will continue to evolve to fit your ever-changing dance skills and interests.
11. Making Feedback Valuable
Summary: After the event is over, you and your teacher will receive feedback from a consultant. It’s what you do with that information that will determine if the feedback was valuable or not.
Why: The tips and strategies you receive will lose value, and meaning, without action.
Verdict: Apply the feedback with your instructor right away. Even better, schedule a lesson immediately following your critique – schedule permitting.
You’re making progress. That could not have happened without a team of Arthur Murray professionals carefully expanding your comfort zone and transcribing your progress.
There’s a reason we don’t refer to your Medalist graduation as a “Final”. There is still work to do, dances to explore, and layers of benefits that are just beginning to surface.
So here’s to your graduation, your metamorphosis: The newest version of you.
You’re not done yet… and that’s final.
It seems like a harmless enough question – after all, we deserve to know how much time and money we’ll have to shell out before we get… Well, whatever it is you’re looking for from ballroom dancing. But, are you sure you know exactly what that is?
Most newcomers enter the studio with only a hazy idea of what they want to look or feel like on the ballroom floor. This makes things difficult for your instructor, who has to turn these vague expectations into concrete goals. If you don’t want precious lesson time used up on things you don’t want, make those misty dreams of dance as solid as possible.
What do you want?
Do you want to go competitive, or are you just looking to have fun? What excites you most, having a lot of variety in your patterns, or learning how to ‘look like a dancer’? Is there a video or picture you saw that inspired you? A piece of music you heard? Put together, what is your Ultimate Dream Dance Goal?
When do you want it?
Of course, we all want to learn to ballroom dance yesterday. Try to be realistic, and decide how much time you’re willing to invest to accomplish your goals. If you’re really not sure, a quick online search for ‘how long does it take to get good at ballroom dancing?’ will give you some estimates.
How much are you willing to pay for it?
Similar to time, give yourself an upper ceiling for how much you are willing to spend to get what you want, without breaking the bank. On average, group classes range from $5-20, and private lessons $80-150 each. Be aware that, as you grow in experience, private lessons will become increasingly important to improve your technique, where groups are best used to practice what you’ve learned.
Tell your instructor!
It might seem like a no-brainer, but so few students do this that it’s worth saying: the more your instructor knows, the more they can help you! As a bonus, it makes them more accountable to you if they agree to your terms.
Be willing to be flexible.
More often then not, you will have to compromise with your instructor while working towards your goals. You might find it takes longer, or costs more, then you originally expected to become the dream dancer you want to be. On the other hand, there’s plenty of unexpected benefits you might experience: improved coordination, balance, mental cognition, and endurance are just a few of the many benefits of learning to dance. You might even find your end goal changes significantly from when you started.
All this might seem like a lot of time and work, but hey, so is learning to dance! At least with your goal firmly in mind you’ll know you’re working towards something that’s important to you.
Have you ever given yourself a “reverse pep-talk”?
Ever locked in your critical heat-seeking missles on some negative outcome – before you even tried it?
A job opportunity?
Asking someone out?
We’ve all done it.
It’s time to pull back the curtain on the reality of your first dance lesson at Arthur Murray, turn all the lights on, and see what it’s really all about.
Your First Lesson At Arthur Murray: Perception Vs. Reality
Question 1: Should I Do This?
Perception = I should wait until I know a little something before I go in and take a lesson… so I don’t make a fool of myself. I have [insert any number greater than 1] left feet.
Reality = The old Arthur Murray expression is, “Walk in, Dance out”. There’s a reason why Arthur Murray has been teaching the world to dance for over 100 years, and we couldn’t do that for this long if you needed to know how to dance first.
Question 2: Can I Even Handle This?
Perception = I have never done the splits, or any of that other stuff you see on tv. I am expecting there to be some physical and mental anguish.
Reality = The Arthur Murray teaching style is “fun, quick, and easy”, which really translates to “painless”. There are plenty of ways to enjoy dancing without doing the exhibition-television version of it, just like enjoying a casual game of basketball, tennis, or pool without being a world champion in it.
Question 3: What Will It Feel Like When I Am Walking In?
Perception = All the great dancers in the room will stop doing their splits/twists/Latin dance stuff and snicker as I walk clunk into the room with bad footwork.
Reality = You’ll be greeted by your teacher, the receptionist, and most likely, some students with a smile. Don’t be surprised if any of those people greet you by name.
Question 4: What Will My Teacher Be Like?
Perception = They’ll be wearing some ballet leotard-type thingy and maybe even a Flashdance sweatshirt.
Reality = Your teacher will be wearing professional, non-Flashdance, attire. The male instructors wear a shirt and tie everyday. The female staff wear professional, business-like attire. You, on the other hand, can and should dress in whatever makes you comfortable.
Question 5: What Will My Lesson Be Like?
Perception = This first lesson will be painful for my teacher to endure. They’ll probably walk off, take a coffee break, or quit on the spot.
Reality = You’ll be working with a teacher who specializes in teaching new students. As Kathryn Murray used to say, “The hardest step you’ll ever take is the first one through the door.”
Question 6: Am I Even Capable Of Learning To Dance?
Perception = I will probably step all over my teacher, myself, and people casually walking by as I’m “learning to dance”.
Reality = Your teacher was hired based on their pain threshold. We kid. Arthur Murray professionals make teaching their career because they find the greatest rewards come when their students make dancing, and personal, breakthroughs.
Everyone has a list of “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” moments.
Think about this for a second, “I should’ve taken dance lessons…” will no longer be a sentence you utter, ever again, while you watch another opportunity go by. There are plenty of reasons to talk yourself out of a lot of things…
… But not dance lessons. Not anymore.
Misconceptions are out there, and you may have been the victim of one, and there are plenty of them when it comes to salsa lessons. The cure for a misconception is to bring the truth out into the open, to light up the dark room, and to eliminate the doubt, fear, and urban legends that sprout when we don’t do anything about it.
Read This Article + Delete the Misconceptions = Start Your Salsa Lessons ASAP
Permanently Delete These 6 Salsa Lesson Misconceptions
1. “You need to be born with Rhythm”
Really, the only Rhythm you’re born with is a heartbeat, and coincidentally, that’s all you need to learn how to dance anything. Yes, including Salsa.
FOR MORE IDEAS ON HOW TO OVERCOME BAD DANCE LESSON MYTHS, WE RECOMMEND: 6 Myths About Dance Classes
2. “You’ll never make it in Salsa dancing if you don’t speak Spanish”
If this were the case, then Arthur Murray Dance Studios all across Earth would have exactly zero students from any Spanish speaking countries taking salsa lessons. Thankfully for the Spanish speaking Arthur Murray schools and students across the world – that’s far from true.
3. “If you watch other people around you, it’ll be pretty easy to pick up some salsa dance moves.”
While that strategy may have sort-of worked at a nightclub with basic “A Night At The Roxbury” moves, it will not work with any type of partner dancing. Additionally, it doesn’t work with golf, singing, basketball, or Mixed Martial Arts either.
4. “Salsa Dancing is hard to learn”
Anything can be hard to learn depending on the environment, the teacher, and the methods used. Salsa, when following the Arthur Murray Fun, Quick, and Easy method of teaching, is within anyone’s reach.
FOR MORE IDEAS ON HOW TO GET STARTED AS A SALSA STUDENT, WE RECOMMEND: 7 Salsa Lesson Strategies For New Dancers
5. “You need more moves to Learn How To Dance Salsa”
You can learn salsa dance moves, or you can learn how to dance salsa. Just like singing, you can know the words to every song in the Adele playlist, but that doesn’t mean that you can instantly sing like her. Learning salsa moves is important, but only when you pair it with learning how to dance them.
6. “You should Focus All Your Time on Salsa To Become A Better Salsa Dancer”
Think of this like the gym. You may be familiar with a machine or two, and have plans to develop a specific muscle group. It’s a great personal trainer that shows you how to get in better shape more efficiently using a variety of workouts. Becoming a great salsa dancer is much easier when you understand the dances that support the salsa. It will improve your leading, following, balance, rhythm, and keep you on the dance floor at a salsa club longer.