The 3 Dangers of Perfecting Your Dance Moves

Everyone wants a flawless performance. I get it. Isn’t that why dancers practice hundreds of hours? Well… to a certain degree, yes, but too much focus on a flawless performance can actually hurt your dancing. In this article, I’m addressing the technical dancers, aka the perfectionists. Technical abilities can be a great asset, as long as you’re careful not to fall into theses 3 traps of extreme perfectionism:

1 – Precision at the Expense of Balance

Although balance requires a certain amount of precision – a clear sense of body alignment and clear pathways of movement in space – it relies even more heavily on your ability to adapt to change. Balance is dynamic, not static.

When you control your movement too much, trying to be super precise, your muscles tighten and you lose your ability to quickly adapt. For example, it may seem counterintuitive but whenever you feel off balance, instead of trying to “control” your movement and tighten your muscles, release your muscles and you will find that you easily regain your stability.

2 – Perfection over Connection

At some point in your dancing, I’m sure you’ve all experienced the icy glare of your partner, blaming you for a loss of connection. When you focus too much on perfecting your choreography, you become less receptive to lead and follow cues.

When your movement is over-controlled and stiff, it is less reflexive and you cannot quickly adapt to new information (i.e. change in lead, direction, etc…). Also, if you have practiced your routine perfectly for hours and hours, any change will likely throw you off and you’ll either make a mistake or you’ll go blank and forget your routine.

Expect that your routine will change slightly when you perform. Dedicate time to sensing lead and follow with your partner and playing around with it. (emphasis on “play”!) It’s a smart move to purposely have your partner change the routine here and there in practice to check your ability to adapt.

3 – Clean But Boring

As a naturally technical dancer myself, I must admit that I love to watch beautifully executed technique. However, expressive dancing (that is also technically sound) steals away my attention very quickly.

Have coaches ever told you that you “think too much” or (even more heart- wrenching) “you’re boring to watch?”. This is like taking a knife to the heart when you work so hard to master you craft in hopes of becoming a champion. To stop overthinking and deliver an expressive performance, you need to shift your mindset from perfection to play. Performing is like playing. There are no hard and fast rules in play or if there are, the rules constantly change. Play is free. Play is adaptive. Play is relaxed. Play requires room for error. An attempt to dance perfectly kills play.

As part of your practice, take some time to move playfully to music and sense the feeling of the music (no choreography or steps!). By allowing your body the freedom to move without structure, you will learn to trust it and in trusting your body, you will be able to free your mind and can express what you feel in the music.

A great dancer is not one who dances flawlessly, but rather one who creates the illusion of dancing flawlessly. To create this illusion, you need to become a master at adapting, rather than perfecting.

Author: Amber Copeland

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10 Things You Need To Know About Ballroom Dance Hairstyle

10 Things You Need To Know About Ballroom Dance Hairstyle


Great Ballroom Dance Hairstyle is the key to Great Ballroom Dance Performance!

That moment you get so frustrated, when you are ready to dance at a Ballroom Dance Competition, and your hair is not co-operating! Well, here are 10 things you need to know about, for a great ballroom dance hairstyle.

How you prepare may determine how you look

  1. Plan, practice and prepare to avoid mistakes before they happen
  • If you are doing your own hair, practice, practice, practice.
  • Also make sure that you pay attention to the top of the head, not just the front, back and sides. Trust me. Check your choreography and you will understand why.
  • If you plan to get your manicure before doing your hair, get thin plastic gloves for your hands to protect your nails from hairspray, or you will lose some shine and polish.
  • If you are going to a professional that you have not worked with before, select a variation of a style that they did for someone else that you like and that suits you. If not, bring pictures of styles you prefer, and make sure you are on the same page before you start.
  • One way or another, you should also consider or bring pictures of your costumes. Your hair should complete your total look and feel.
  1. Prepare your hair one or two days before by leaving it alone
  • Styling is easier when hair is slightly oily. Do not wash your hair for a day or two before you get your style done.
  • Most important however is not to use hairspray, mousse, gel or wax in those one or two days. The hair should have natural oils, not a build-up of stiffening styling products. You can use conditioner that you rinse out. Leave-in conditioner also is OK if your hair is dry. Anything else will make your hair more brittle and dull, which is not a great starting point.
  • If you cannot live without the stiffening products I mentioned, rinse your hair with conditioner and water only, but no shampoo before you have your ballroom style done.
  1. Brush, comb, smooth, spray and the do it again to prepare your hair before you style
  • The foundation of every style is smooth hair that goes in one direction. Use a boar hair brush for shine and then a fine tooth comb.
  • Brush and comb at least 3 times as much as you think is necessary, and use a bit of hairspray or water on your hands to help any fly away hairs to lie flat and stick to the rest.
  • Unless your hair and your hair style is very short, you will then likely need to secure the hair with one or more hair elastics in one or more pony-tail sections. Pull the pony-tail as tight as you can to your scalp, without being uncomfortable.

Make sure every part of your style is clear and distinct

  1. Make every part razor sharp
  • Any parts in your hair need to be clean, clear and sharp. To do this, you need a very fine tooth comb and may need to part your hair a few times to get it clean and clear.
  • Never cheat, even if you think that part will not be seen because of an ornament or another layer of hair. People see and sense more than you think.
  • Zig-zag parts or wavy line parts are difficult to get as clean as they need to be, so they are generally best left to a pro.
  1. Consider clip-in extensions for narrow swirls
  • For narrow swirls, one option is to get clip-in hair extensions. They can come pre-styled or even pre-stoned.
  • For more flexibility, you can get them straight and un-styled at a hairdresser’s supply store, and style them after clipping one or several into your hair. If you do this, spray the extension with hair spray or use setting lotion until it is wet, then shape it and pin it with hair pins that are the same colour as your hair.
  • The advantage of extensions is that you can buy or cut them to any length, so you are not limited to the length of your own hair. You can also get them in highlighting or contrasting hair colours to add some interest.
  1. Use a hair net to help you make big shapes and knot buns
  • For big shapes and knot buns, you can use your own hair or add extensions for more volume. To make big sections of hair easier to work, put a thin hair net around that pony-tailed section.
  • The key is to have a hair net big enough to allow the section to stay as a pony-tail. You can then wrap your hair into a knot bun with clearly defined lines rather than a having a plain round bun, or you can make a big shape.
  • If you use a lot of hair spray or setting lotion you can create the same effect without the hair net, but it will be a bit harder to keep a lot of hair together and clearly defined.
  1. Be extremely precise when making small waves
  • Small waves are very popular now and give a particularly nice feel for Smooth dancers.
  • For this, setting lotion works best as you can shape the waves more easily than with hair spray or gel. The hair should be wet with the lotion, shaped with a comb and fingers, pinned in place and the secured with hair spray when dry.
  • If you have more skill and less time, a curling iron and hair spray can also work. Either way, watch a few how-to videos and experiment first or leave this to a pro. Waves may give a soft look but have to be very precise or they will look very messy.

Hairspray hints

  1. Shine is a must
  • A lot of the shine comes from the all the hairspray that is used. For the level of shine and the staying power you need, you really need to soak the hair.
  • Many brands of hairspray also come in versions that add extra shine. These are good too, but make sure it is a strong hold or freeze hold version, otherwise stay with regular strong or freeze hold hairspray and you will still be fine.
  1. Keep your hair jewelry away from hairspray
  • As much as possible, add jewellery last and after you have sprayed all that you need to.
  • Hairspray will make the jewelry dull over time and may weaken the backing of some types of hair jewelry. For the same reason it is also good to protect your costume from hairspray.
  1. Protect your hair when you wash out all the hairspray and glue
  • You will use hairspray and may also use white school glue or eyelash glue to secure jewelry or sections of hair. To prevent breakage from all the stiffness when you shampoo, make sure you run a lot of warm water over your hair before you touch it too much when you shampoo. If your hair is extremely stiff, use conditioner to soften the hair, then shampoo.


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10 Things You Need To Know About Ballroom Dance Hairstyle

Why NOW is the Best Time to Start Dancing

Why NOW is the Best Time to Start Dancing DanceSport

One of the most common things I hear from my students is ‘if only I had started dancing sooner.’ It got me wondering, why didn’t they? Why do we relegate our dreams – like dancing – to the back burner? It might sound audacious, but if dancing is truly what you want to do, there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t start today. Here’s why.


Confusing ‘What You’d Like’ with ‘What You Want’

First, if you are going to make sacrifices for something many consider to be a ‘luxury’, you have to be sure it’s worth it for you to do so. As motivational speaker Eric Thomas once said, “most of you want to be successful, but you don’t want it bad. You just ‘kinda’ want it”.

Take some time to think seriously about your interest in dancing. Ask ‘what do I enjoy most about dancing? Why is dancing worth it to me? What do I want to accomplish through dancing?’ Try not to just think about it, but feel what it would be like to succeed.

You might also take a class or two, just to see if dance holds as much appeal in practice as it did in your mind. If you’re still fired up about it. Congratulations! You’ve discovered what could become a lifelong passion. Now comes the hard part.


Avoiding the ‘Yes, but…’

While you’re deciding what you want to do with your dream of dance, think and feel what it would be like to make the necessary sacrifices to support it. Maybe you need to take an extra shift at work, or get up earlier to practice.

If this sounds intimidating, remember what pursuing your dance dream means to you: This is a chance to live your passion, to do something you can really be proud of! So often we spend so much time working and caring for others that we forget to include ourselves in the list of those we love.

You might be thinking ‘how can I spend time and money taking dance lessons when I have bills to pay? I’m just being selfish.’ First, and as I’ve written about previously, there’s a lot more options to support your dancing journey than may be visible to you right now.

Second, pursuing your passion means having an activity that re-energizes you and infuses your life with new meaning. It means letting off steam so you can enjoy your work and/or your home life that much more. And that has a positive effect on everyone around you.

The fact is, life won’t stop coming, and there will always be reasons for validating our inaction. The paradox is while each one might seem important, even urgent, they won’t give you the same drive and excitement that your dance dream – or any dream – can.


Creative Solutions: The 20 Idea Method

I’m guessing there’s at least a few of you getting downright mad at me by now. This might sound like I’m asking you to give up your job and family, move to Russia, and starting taking dance lessons like crazy.

And most likely, that would be a terrible idea, so don’t do it! Of course I’m not asking you to drop everything, and it would be useless to expect you to do otherwise.

What I’m suggesting it a) the dreams you’ve been ignoring may be a lot more important to your happiness than you realized, and b) there may be some creative ways you can pursue them without giving up other, equally important priorities in your life.

If you really feel helpless in your present situation, try the 20 idea method. Here’s how it works:

  1. Take a sheet of paper and write a question about the situation. Be specific: ‘How do I start dancing?’ Won’t be as helpful as ‘How do I make time in my life for dance lessons?’
  2. As fast as you can, come up with 20 possible answers, and write them below your question. Don’t censor yourself. No matter how dumb, unlikely, or ‘cheat-y’ the answers might seem, put them down and move on. For example, you might write: get up and hour early, go to bed an hour late, read a book on time management, etc.
  3. Try and add another 20 answers the next day, and the one after that. It will get harder, but just keep pumping them out.
  4. Go over all the answers you’ve made, and circle the few which look actually possible. Careful not to do this when you are feeling unhappy, or none of the options may look good.
  5. Pick your favourite answer, write it down somewhere you can see it every day, and start implementing it.

The process of writing without censorship will unlock your creativity, so you may find yourself surprised by some of the possibilities you might never have imagined previously.

On your journey, you will find yourself tempted at times to give it up and go back to the normal comfortable life you were living before. When this happens, remind yourself why your dance dream is important to you, and keep pushing. It’s worth it.

Author: Ian Crewe – SocialBallroom.Dance
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

How Can I Get My Wedding Guests To Dance at My Reception?

How Can I Get My Wedding Guests To Dance at My Reception?

Quick Story

I had a friend (will remain anonymous) that threw the greatest wedding I had ever been to… to a point.

It was held at a mansion, had a Cinderella theme, and the event was topped off with a vintage Rolls Royce transporting the Newlyweds. It was what I imagine a Kennedy wedding would be like.

wedding-reception-rolls-royce.jpgThat is, until the first dance.

For whatever they spent on the wedding, and it probably pushed Dad’s retirement back by 40 years, it all seemed to wither away on their first dance.

It was the longest Boys 2 Men high school slow dance you’ve ever seen. Long enough to make you want to hate the song, to fight off a yawn, and to leave, do your taxes, write a novel, and return before it was over.

What a waste.

Present Day

OK, let’s get this out of the way.  We help Wedding Couples learn to do things like Tango, Salsa, or Swing for their first wedding dance. It’s an unbelievable upgrade to swaying side to side, not dancing at all, or leaving the dance skills up to the “liquid courage gods”.

From an investment standpoint, it’s really the statement piece on an extravagant wedding, or adds a classy upgrade to a simple one.

dance-wedding-reception.jpgHow Can I Get My Wedding Guests to Dance at my Reception?

Solution #1: Wedding Lessons for You

The worst thing is that you’ll probably enjoy it, use it a lot, and have a spouse as a dance partner. We’re sorry, but the bride and groom are the wedding reception example setters – and you need to be able to get up on the dance floor, and your first wedding dance is just the beginning of the party.

Solution #2: Train your Accomplices

Think of those paid infomercial audiences. They’d never heckle the pitchman selling his new product. They are planted there to endorse whatever is being shown to them. You’re going to do the exact same thing with members of your wedding party.

That’s right, you’re going to invite them in for some survival skills lessons in popular wedding reception dances like the Swing, Merengue, Salsa, and Foxtrot. That way, when Mr. and Mrs. Newlywed pitch their Dance Party idea to their guests, your accomplices will give it their full endorsement.

READ MORE: Best Practices for your Wedding Dance

Solution #3: Broaden Your Demographic

Get Mom and Dad, on both sides, in on the action. After all, you’ve got a Father/Daughter Dance to do, right? How about a Mother/Son dance? How about a cut in so the in-laws can get involved?

How many times do you want to hear Dad say, “do you know how much this wedding cost me?” Learning how to dance will give him the best keepsake from this entire Wedding expense, I mean, “experience”.

Solution #4: Party Planning

There are a few little party tricks you can do to get more and more people on the dance floor, but the best one is, without a doubt, “The Snowball Dance”.

Here’s how it works

About 90 seconds into your partner changing Father/Daughter/In-Law dance, the next partner change will be everyone on the dance floor selecting one person off of the dance floor. This immediately doubles the number of people on the floor. You can have your DJ say, “find your next partner” and continue to double the dance participation each time.

READ MORE: Wedding Music that should be Retired (Always and Forever)

wedding-reception-sign.jpgFinal Thought

Sure, there will be some moments where you just want to play a little MC Hammer, and do some vintage 90’s hip hop moves, but using dances like Swing, Merengue, Rumba, and Foxtrot can add class and sophistication to any wedding reception. What’s even better is that these dances are easy enough to teach alongside a couple of friends you want in on the action.

Turning your Wedding Reception into a Wedding Party is all about getting your guests on the dance floor… and it only takes one couple to get that party started right.


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