First Private Lesson in Ballroom Waltz Tonight - Questions

Vince A

Active Member
I have been competing for just over a year-and-a-half, but not in ballroom. I mainly compete in UCWDC and sometimes in two others. I compete in the Waltz, Cha Cha, NC2S, CW2-Step, ECS, and WCS, and sometimes Hustle. The WCS is my best dance and most favorite dance, but Waltz is starting to take over that first place. I'll be adding the Triple Step (Polka) and the Triple 2-Step this summer.

I've been hearing that the dance federation mentioned is slowing going to a "more of a ballroom look in Waltz and Cha Cha." So I've decided to contact several instructors/teachers in the area in an attempt to get ahead of the game.

The Pro that I compete with says that I have one of the best "upper bodies," meaning frame and posture - I guess??? So . . . my questions . . .

Should I start from scratch with the new instuctor; or let her see what I can do (I can Waltz, but only routine - not very great at leading); any suggestions? My Pro says that I need to take bigger steps. I try this, but always seem to be bumping into her quite a lot. She says "this is normal." I say, 'it feels wrong."

I've built a cushioned dance floor, complete with a 9X6 mirror on one wall, fans, and sound equipment in my third-car garage. I'm willing to practice just about anything. Help?

I want to learn to stay connected and learn to lead and lead from my center . . . any help is appreciated . . .

Thanks in advance,
Vince A


Here are a couple of things I can say about bumping knees:
1) Poise is important. Make sure your feet aren't getting ahead of the body.
2) Check to see if your rise and fall are in sync with your partner. A common problem is to rise too much and lower too little.
3)When the lady steps back, have her imagine that the upper leg and hip are also reaching back.
4) Touching or slightly pushing your partners leg should be expected sometimes.
5) Dancing in closed position takes years to get a good grasp. An incredible amount of technique and knowledge are required to really get it down. Make sure you take lessons from someone with years of experience (such as a national champion or judge) at least on occasion.

Finally, good luck on your lesson.

Vince A

Active Member
I Copied Your Reply . . .


Thanks . . . I copied your reply, and will bring it with me this afternoon. I have an hour of Waltz followed by an hour of ECS. Should sleep well tonight.

The instructor should know her part, right? As well, my Pro should know hers?

I'm more nervous about this than I am when I compete . . .

Thanks again.

Vince A

Active Member
Hey . . It Wasn't All That Bad . . .

The first lesson is over, going back tonight.

We began with Waltz . . . I actually did rather well, although she could barely follow me.

I had a perfect frame and upper body, heard the music, stepped out on my heel just like I was supposed to . . . rise and fall, lilt . . . all there, but why couldn;t she follow?

Well, first of all, I'm used to the Country and Western Style, which follows the line-of-dance around the perimeter of the floor, and she was ready for 'the box step.' What the hell is that?

Well, by the time my lesson was over, I had found out and I was doing it - BALLROOM STYLE! Yes!

My second hour was ECS. This I did real well, and she didn't have too much to correct, although she wants me somewhat flat as we begin. You see, I expected it to be more like Jive. Wrong. She says "knees and better styling come later." She wants my basics rock-solid. By the end of that hour . . . I was doing much better.

Her studio had a Ballroom and Salsa Night dance on Friday. Just by watching I learned to Salsa and Merengue - not perfect or anything - but I was doing it - rather well if I say so myself, thank you.

I also ended up giving a few WCS lessons to a girl who was a terrific patient follower. She is a Lindy dancer. After doing a few ECSs with her, she had seen me do WCS and asked me if I would WCS with her . . . she was great. We had fun. I have a new dance friend!

I practiced Sat and Sun on my dance floor in my house. Can't wait for tonight's lesson.

I'm like a sponge . . .

How do you guys stand it? I mean, how can you wait so long between lessons.

I am having a ball . . .
You are so cute! I know what you mean about being a sponge. When I was training to be an instructor I learned twice as many dances in half the time as any of my competition because they couldn't make me leave work for the day :] I understand what you mean when you say it doesn't feel right. It's just because you were used to doing it one way and were forced to try another. Even though you may be more advanced in ECS than your instructor would like you to dance listen to her! Remember, you hired her to instruct you! :] Happy dancing! :D

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