Do you want to learn how to slow dance but feel like you have two left feet? Whether you just want to learn how to slow dance for an upcoming party or want to explore dance as a hobby, the basics of slow dancing are fairly easy to learn.
Dancing is a great couple’s hobby, but it can also be done as an individual. Many places offer classes where you can go and dance with a partner they assign to you. If you have always wanted to learn to dance but have been nervous that the steps and the rhythm would be difficult to pick up, then slow dancing is a great way to get started.
A Brief History Of Dance
Most people hear the term “slow dancing” and immediately have flashbacks to high school dances – standing awkwardly with their arms outstretched as they stiffly shift their weight back and forth to the song. While this is technically a form of slow dancing (generally called the “hug and sway”), it is not the only form of dancing available. The Waltz was actually the first real “slow-dance,” and continues to be considered one of most popular slow dances by ballroom dancing enthusiasts. This dance was actually considered risque when it was introduced in England because partners had to hold themselves close to each other while performing the dance.
The first time the Waltz was officially danced in the United States was in Boston in 1834 by Lorenzo Papanti. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Waltz was firmly established in United States culture. Music plays an important role in dance, and every dance is dependent upon the availability of music. In 1830, two great Austrian composers – Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss – began composing faster, more up-beat Waltz numbers. This made them the most popular Waltz composers during the nineteenth century. They also set the standard for the Viennese Waltz, which is a very popular modern form of the Waltz.
Dancing Fun Facts
- The word Waltz comes from the German word “waltzen” which means “to turn“.
- Learning to dance with your spouse or significant other can improve your relationship by bringing you physically closer as well as giving your both a hobby to do together.
- The five most popular ballroom dances are the Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, and Swing.
- The longest dance marathon by a couple was for 35 hours straight.
Getting Started In Slow Dancing
Unless you’re going to learn how to slow dance with ballroom waltzing, getting started with slow dancing is typically a simple activity. One of the most important things you’ll need to get started learning to slow dance is a partner. Your partner can be someone who already knows how to slow dance (and can therefore teach you) or someone who is going to learn with you.
Either way you’ll need someone to dance with in order to learn this hobby properly. You also need a space to dance in large enough to move around. While this doesn’t have to be a full sized ballroom, you’ll need at least a 10-foot by 10-foot area of clear space so you and your partner don’t bump into things.
Once you have a partner and a space to dance in, you need your dance music. You can learn to dance to anything that has a beat but for the purposes of slow dancing a ballad or light classical music is strongly suggested. If possible, pick music close to 90 BPM as this is a good cadence for slow dancing – especially the Waltz.
You pretty much can get started learning how to slow dance without spending a dime. However, if you want to sign up for group lessons, expect to pay about $20 per class. Private lessons are more expensive and the cost will vary depending on where you live and the instructor you pick.
Steps To Learn How To Slow Dance
If you’re dancing at home or another private place, take the time and clear out the area in which you will dance. Make sure you and your partner have plenty of room to move. You’ll also want to get your music set up. The fewer distractions you have when you learn how to slow dance, the better.
Before you start dancing, make sure to do some light stretching to limber up. Even though slow dancing isn’t a highly physical activity, lightly stretching will help warm your muscles and get your body and mind connected to the activity at hand. As with any physical activity, be sure to check with your doctor if you have any health conditions that might be aggravated by light exercise.
If you’re just doing the “hug and sway”, simply “hug and sway” to the beat of the music. Although this is a very informal and easy dance style, pay attention to your posture and your feet. Practice working with your partner to avoid stepping on one another.
If you and your partner are practicing the Waltz, get set up properly and take a moment to feel the music’s rhythm. Facing each other, the leader will place his right hand curved around his partners waist and will extend his left hand forward with a slight bend at the elbow, grasping the partner’s right hand.
Check out the videos at the end of this article for information on how to do the Waltz steps…
After your dance session, spend a couple minutes with your partner and discuss any areas that are particularly challenging. You’ll often find that as partners, you can help one another learn how to slow dance much more quickly if you focus on particular areas of challenge together.
Slow Dancing Tips and Tricks
Check out the following tips and tricks to help you learn more about how to slow dance…
- Don’t begin dancing in open-toe shoes or heels unless you wear heels for everyday wear. Not only will you end up with crunched toes, you will also end up with painful blisters.
- If taking a class, opt for one that is geared only towards beginners if you have never danced before. You’ll be much more comfortable and relaxed if you’re surrounded by other students of the same experience level.
- Even though dance partners are typically male and female, feel free to learn with a friend or a sister or a brother – the main thing is to just have fun and learn the basics properly.
Ways To Grow Your Dancing Hobby
As you learn how to slow dance and would like to take your hobby to the next level, consider some of the following ideas:
- Expand your dance repertoire by learning new dances such as the Foxtrot or Cha Cha.
- Join a dinner-dance club where you can enjoy a fun night out with your partner and socialize with other dance enthusiasts.
- Enter into an amateur dance competition.
- Incorporate a more rigorous dance routine into your overall fitness program.
Related Dance Resources
The following online resources can help you learn more about dance as a hobby…
BallroomDancers.com – site focused on ballroom dancing with how-to articles, dance resource directories and an online forum.
International Choreographed Ballroom Dance Association – member organization where you can connect with other dancers, stay informed of upcoming dance events, and keep up with dance techniques and teaching methods.
Ballroom Dancing Online – site that helps you find ballroom dancing partners, dances, dresses, and everything else ballroom dancing.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.