When you watch dancing on television or see great dancers in competitions, you sometimes aren’t even sure what you’re looking at. You know the performances are beautiful, but you’re not sure what separates you from them. You see a lady seductively slide her hand down a man’s face, or a man grasp a woman by the hips and send her spinning like a top only to stop her short exactly where he wants her. It seems almost unattainable, but it’s not. It’s simply a matter of dance styling.
In the early days, Arthur Murray (the man, not the studio) taught ballroom dancing by mailing footprint diagrams to students across America. Aside from his television show, the diagrams were the best option available for those looking to learn the rudiments of ballroom dance. With these simple devices, a student was able to learn which foot went where — an invaluable skill, no doubt. It was an ingenious way to pique people’s interest in dancing. Yet for those who sought to learn more than footwork, for those who wanted to understand how the entire body moves to music, those basic instructions could only whet their appetite.
Lucky, we’ve come a long way since then.
At our dance studios today, your instructors can do more than just show you how to move your feet. Our curriculum addresses the finer points of dancing technique, points such as:
- Lead and follow
Yet, just as important as those facets of technique is the ever-important style. Learning to add personal flair, or dance “styling” as it’s often called in the dance world, is an essential part of taking your dancing from “acceptable” to “exciting”. You can see the difference — two dancers standing next to each other can perform the same pattern with the same timing, both with equally correct steps, and yet…miraculously, one of the pair looks powerful and confident while the other looks plain. This phenomenon comes from a deep understanding of dance that can only be taught by a true professional. Each dance is like a color. Salsa, for example, is bright red — lively, sanguine, passionate. Like a vibrant color, a well honed dance style can make an audience feel without words. Every dance is good at conveying a facet of human emotion, be it romance or strength or joy. Once you’ve been taught what each dance can say, you can develop the ability to speak through your dance.
Once you have that, you have style.
At Arthur Murray we understand that different people want to learn for different reasons. If, for you, dancing is an avenue for self-expression our studio is uniquely suited to help you. Our instructors in northern New Jersey train every day to refine their own style, and they have the advanced experience necessary to help you develop your own.
So when you come in to your local Arthur Murray dance studio, make sure to tell your instructor that one of your goals is to learn dance styling, and be prepared for a whole new world of self expression!