In lieu of the College of Agriculture Barn Dinner and Swing Dance, a lot of our ladies, including myself, love having a good time swing dancing and two stepping. I thought I’d post a few tips that will help to make someone a better dancer AND member of the country dancing community:
1) Don’t be afraid to ask someone to dance and to say yes to a dance! Dances are, at most, 3 minutes long! So, have some fun and get out on the floor and meet new people (of course the person is dangerous or offensive or you have promised to dance with someone else then a decline is appropriate). If you don’t know how to dance, people will be glad to help you!
2)Have variety in your partners by dancing with partners of all skill levels. It’s good to get variety and it will make you a much better dancer. Dance with someone who has never danced before and help teach him what you know. Or, dance with someone who is much more experienced than you and learn cool new moves! Either way, it is all about having fun and helping the dancing community grow as a whole!
3) When a song ends makes sure to thank your partner. Many women forget how important it is to be courteous. Even if you had a rough time, say thank you. A nice thing to do is to walk with your partner back to the sidelines but it is not as important as the “thank you for the dance”.
4) Basics! Basics! Basics! I know all of you ladies want to dive in and do spins and aerials but it is so fundamental that the basics are learned first. Spend time working with a partner and learning how to do things that most dancers ignore. The most common mistakes are rushing, taking too large of steps, dancing too strongly (heavy on your feet), not following and anticipating. A tip that I would give would be to relax, and take a breath. This will help you follow him and will help you read him better.
5) Practice! If you want to get better, you have to practice. We all start somewhere and you should not worry about whether you are “good” or not. The swing community is all about having fun and helping to teach others how to dance. Attend a swing club meeting, a dance class, or find a partner and practice at a local saloon. Most dancers get good by practicing 2-3 times a week. I started out at 2 times a week but now I dance almost 5 times a week!
6) Learn how to have good form, stay classy and elegant. It might be helpful to watch good dancers and learn from them. Great dancers lock their hips in every spin and move effortlessly across the floor. A helpful tip to know your own form is to video tape yourself or having a friend give you tips. Some good links to check out are swing-dancing competitions on YouTube. Also, if you see a cool move, ask how to do it. Most dancers will be flattered and you’ll get a free lesson!
7) Lastly, have fun. It’s important that you realize that dancing should be fun and carefree. If you don’t mess up at least once in a dance then you weren’t challenging yourself enough. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and get out on that dance floor and have a great time.
If you are interested in learning more, you can attend swing dancing at the Kansas State Country Two Step and Swing Club on Tuesday nights at 7pm in the Union! Hope to see you all there!