General Hints and suggestions for learning to dance:                             modified: April 16, 2006

Have fun! Say, “yes dear” or “good idea” and ask your instructors for technical clarification. For now, compromise on your different interpretations and have fun dancing with your partner. The technical aspects will come.

  • Suggestions for frame: 
    • your look will be more “tornado” than “teepee”
      • Stand facing each other with your feet, hips and shoulders square to each other
      • offset a little to the right, keep a bit to your own left,  so that each of your four feet is on a separate track. Inside feet go between your partners feet.
      • man offers his left hand, fingers pointing away,  the lady closes her hand over it, then the man closes his hand over hers
      • man places his right hand on the lady’s left shoulder blade and
      • the lady places her left hand on or below her man’s upper arm
      • everyone supports their own arms and weight
      • think of your own body cores being connected to create your collective center
    • let energy flow down your back and up your front: tailbone to the floor, head to the ceiling.
  • Dancing to the music:
    • one of you will be better at hearing the beat of the music
    • as a couple, let that person help you find and count the beat
    • man, start with your left foot, and lady start with your right foot on “1” after a 5-6-7-8
    • when you are learning, count as a couple and then to yourself until the new figure is learned
  • Moving around the floor
    • line of dance is counter clockwise
    • pick a lane appropriate for how fast you are going; leave an outside lane for people moving faster than you. Dances that don’t move are in the middle of the floor.
    • Men are responsible for driving the couple; look where you are going and protect your partner.
      (looking at your feet distracts you from floorcraft and destroys your “tornado”)
    • be flexible, “juicy”, in your knees and ankles
      to help isolate your lower body from your upper body
    • point your feet the direction you are dancing. Turning your feet out makes their track too wide. You want your feet under your body approximately shoulders width apart.
    • keep your “nose over your toes” Your feet always pass under your body no matter where they end up. Keeping your weight forward, even when you are moving backward, will help you stay “connected” as a couple.
  • Have fun! Smile and enjoy yourselves. Make it fun for your partner. If you miss a step or get on the wrong foot, stop and count yourselves in again.