I Want To Teach You To Dance!

I've been teaching ladies and couples just like you to dance in the Birmingham, Al. area for over 10 years. Whatever your couple dancing needs, I can help.

Salsa Basic A and B

Here's a little video showing the basics of Salsa. The back-and-forth basic (basic A) is the staple basic move of many styles of salsa, including L.A. style and N.Y. style. It is characterized by direct movement, and works well in small spaces. Basic B, or the back basic (sometimes referred to by ballroom dancers as the 5th position break) is indicitave of many South American and Carribbean native styles of salsa. This one, although not demonstrated this way in the video, can move in a very flexible way, and is also associated with similar dances, like Cumbia.

How to Dance Your Arms in Salsa

In this post, I discuss basic Salsa arm movement, and how the arm movement relates to the movement of the body. Key concepts include allowing the arms to float, dancing the arms with the sides of the body, and keeping the arms and hands from crossing over the mid-line of the body.

Salsa Hip Action and Three Types of Cuban Motion

In this short video lesson I cover basic concepts of hip action and body rhythm for Salsa and other latin dances, apply these concepts to Salsa basic steps, and establish the 3 fundamental types of body rhythm, or "Cuban Motion". Key concepts include basic body mechanics, footwork, leg action, and the imagery of "Squashing Grapes" to describe and conceptualize the synergy of these techniques. Varying amounts of these techniques are used to produce and styllize the Salsa hip action, as well as hip actions in other Latin American or rhythm dance styles.

Counting Rhythm for Ballroom and Latin Dance

Each of the ballroom and latin dances also have their own rhythm, which corresponds to the musical rhythm in different ways. In order to marry this dance rhythm to the music, we usually quantify our movements in terms of "counts" which may correspond directly with the metering of the music (such as the 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3 count of Waltz) or in more abstract ways in which the counts that we use for the dance have no direct correlation with the musical meter (such as Swing or Foxtrot which use 6 count phrases of rhythm although the music is metered in 4/4 timing).

Stability Matters: How to Improve Your Balance for Ballroom Dance

Our bodies would never stay upright if it weren't for constant little unconscious adjustments made by our vast network of balance and stability muscles. Primary muscles such as the quadriceps, pectorals, and abdominals get most of the attention in the gym, but it's the balance and stability muscles that will keep you from losing your balance while you dance.

What to Bring to Your Next Ballroom Dance Competition

Hopefully this list will help you figure out what you need to bring to your next competition. Some things might not apply.

Dance Clothing

Whatever dance clothes that you are going to wear (more detail below)
Shoes (1 broken in pair and one extra pair is a good idea)

Dance Accessories

Towel – to wipe off sweat
Safety pins – always come in handy […]

Sitting Around Can Kill You! (Another Good Reason to Get Off Your Ass and Dance)

At the turn of the 20th century, obesity was far more rare a problem than it is today, as were the associated medical conditions which often result such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The reason, many biologists and MD's now believe, was a much more active lifestyle driven by agricultural and industrial jobs that required higher levels of physical activity than desk jobs of today. In addition to long hours of sitting at work, the lure of TV, video games, and the internet keeps us more sedentary than ever before. Recent studies have shown that Americans spend an average of 9.3 hours per day sitting on their asses, which is an hour and a half longer than we spend sleeping each night.

Things that I’ve Learned from Dance Practice

Laugh, joke, goof off, and act stupid sometimes during practice. Believe me, it pays dividends. Nobody stays focused 100% every practice. You’ll either end up spending 10-20% of your time having fun and joking around, or you’ll end up getting too serious and spending 20-30% of the practice arguing and fighting, which will lower morale, plus sap creativity and productivity. 
Inspiration is a limited resource. Sometimes you’re gonna feel inspired to innovate new choreography, fix problems, and develop the feeling of a piece.. and sometimes not. If you’re not feeling inspired to revolutionize your material, DON’T. But when you are feeling inspired… Don’t stop! Keep on fleshing out the new ideas until they run out. Sometimes your brain is […]

Tips for Dancing in Stage Shows

One of the most exciting things you can do as a dancer is participate in a stage show. There’s nothing like having the stage to yourself and giving it all you’ve got. Most dance studios offer stage show experiences, sometimes called “showcases” or “spotlight shows”. Here are some tips to help you out in planning for your next performance in a spotlight show or showcase:
Preparation Stage:

Practice the way you want to perform. Don’t forget to practice all the little things like smiling and looking up. Sometimes it helps to actually visualize the audience being in front of you while you practice. Practice in front of a live audience if possible. If there are other students or instructors present while you practice, ask them to watch you perform and give constructive feedback. Don’t wait until the night of the show to “turn it on”.
Practice without the mirrors. Dancing while looking in a mirror is great for dialing in the technique and styling of your dance, because you get instant feedback as you go along. However, dancing in the mirror can also cause a few bad habits, like […]

Body Language Tips and Tricks for Ballroom Dancers

As the great performer Shakira once said, “Hips Don’t Lie”. Neither does the rest of the body. Body language has often been cited as the best way to read a person’s true feelings and intentions. As humans, we are all endowed with powerful neural software which unconsciously (and constantly) evaluates body language in order to assess physical threats, find mates, and recognize unspoken intent. Since dance is an art form which demands mastery of movement and the artistic presentation of the human body, the dancer must always be aware of what body language signals are being communicated at all times.

In this post, I’m going to break down the do’s and don’ts of body language in a dance performance situation, and give you some tools to ensure that you always present yourself  with body language that helps you convey your best self on the dance floor, and off. […]