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Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by Hyper Kinds
3/17/2018  12:38:00 AM

As a gift to me, my boyfriend has agreed to take some group ballroom lessons. We can't really afford to go to a private studio, even for group lessons, so I've been looking into some short term classes offered by our town's recreation/adult education program. The classes are taught by some of the instructors from local studios, but are held in school gyms and the like. They typically consist of 5-7 weeks, 1hr/week, with up to 50 people in a class. I'm trying to pick between the "waltz/cha cha" and "foxtrot/swing" classes, and I can't decide which might be the better choice as a first experience. Does anyone have advice on what order the dances are best approached? I've done some swing dancing before and loved it, but I suspect my bf might be less intimidated by something slower. I would love to just take both classes at the same time, but I doubt I can get 2hrs a week out of him willingly....
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by terence2
3/17/2018  10:35:00 AM
Tough choice for a new person who maybe there for different reasons.
IF you believe it may be a struggle, the style of music needs to be considered. Rhythm dances usually suit best. Soo. Cha or Swing ? pick the one you know will entice him, musically, the most .
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by Ladydance
3/18/2018  3:53:00 PM
I'd suggest foxtrot/swing. There is really very few opportunities to waltz in North America unless you go to specific ballroom events. Dance floors are too small and there are too few real dancers out there. No dance party plays a waltz - ever. Swing is easier to learn than Cha Cha and easier to recognize. American/social foxtrot is fun.
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by nloftofan1
3/19/2018  8:53:00 AM
I'm surprised that "No dance party plays a waltz -ever" hasn't gotten some challenges already. I go to dance parties every week where waltzes are played. But I go along with the recommendation to concentrate on foxtrot/swing. In many cases you can dance either (or both) to the same song, and the majority of songs are in 4/4 time. Foxtrot is a little trickier than Waltz because it mixes slows and quicks, but not really very tricky. Probably the best advice is to pick the dances that go well with the type of music you like best.
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by terence2
3/22/2018  5:24:00 AM
I don't know where you are located, but, I've been DJing for many many moons ( States, many cities, and UK). and Waltz is always on my and other DJs list play list. The size of a room should not prevent dancing any of the travelling BR dances, unless it's extremely small in which case, why bother to hold a BR event.

And the question was, which would be more suitable for a beginner ? which reads to me, to get a guy ( ladies adapt better ) interested . Swing and Cha win hands down. I've taught 1000s of beginners classes, and I have used W and FT but both cause more initial problems for "lead " .
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by Ladydance
3/22/2018  4:32:00 PM
Just to clear up any misunderstandings - what I meant is that any non-ballroom dance will not play waltzes. Of course, studio dances and ballroom events will. Dancing at clubs, events and weddings will not play waltzes. You are lucky if you can find a cha cha or a swing in the techno crap and pop played most often.
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by nloftofan1
3/25/2018  5:11:00 PM
It's hard for me to understand why someone who would like to dance rumba and cha-cha (and foxtrot and tango) would go to a place that only plays "dance" music, and where the people on the floor are doing a creditable imitation of two-year-olds having a tantrum.
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by bocagirl
1/10/2019  12:36:00 PM
I realize this thread is old, but I would take foxtrot/swing first, simply to encourage the man on developing a solid dance frame within foxtrot. Once comfortable, he'll be able to adopt that foxtrot to slower nightclub songs where he can develop his confidence. I consider the foxtrot the best beginner's dance for that reason. Similarly, if paired with swing, he'll get an introduction to his first rhythm dance. If you're lucky, your community instructor will teach you at least a solid basic triple-step, outside and inside turns. With the basic foxtrot, and swing step, you stand the best chance of having your boyfriend want to dance in the future. Plus - for some men - they have trouble feeling the cha-cha rhythm very well, and thus struggle to find the beats. This results in confusion of when they should be doing their rock-steps, and quite a degree of frustration. For this, and some others I haven't even stated, I believe foxtrot/swing is the better combo. I hope you'll post back how it all worked out.
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by BallroomChick
2/4/2019  3:21:00 PM
If your in the U.S. there are places to go dance. Check into USA Dance, there are chapters in each state. This group hosts weekly dances.

Many of the studios host open dance parties so you can practice what you've learned.

When I started out learning it was Smooth 101 - Waltz, Foxtrot and Tango.
Smooth 102 was the same, but more advanced step patterns.

Latin 101 was - Salsa, Cha Cha and Rumba.
Re: Beginner Group Lessons - What Focus?
Posted by prak
2/25/2019  1:00:00 PM
chacha and waltz are slightly more approachable for beginners for reasons outlined by others (simpler steps all of the same length).

Chacha is great for much modern music, and foxtrot can be too. There is always a waltz, though it's often a faster "country waltz". But at a non dance event, foxtrot is going to be difficult where chacha is doable. (Swing also good here).

So, yeah, start with chacha/waltz. Also check out your local universities; they often have dance clubs which are inexpensive and open to non-students.

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