By Jill Diver
Welcome back to another installment of “Why don’t we just dance?” After learning the very basic footwork for what I think was every professional dance known to man, I’ve started focusing on just one dance — The Foxtrot.
My lessons are continuing with the delightful Theo Martinez over at Studio 665 in Woburn, Mass. Since my first tentative steps, I have, apparently, gained a greater ability to control my balance, and not fall flat on my face. Please feel free to applaud now.
The past week we have been working on the basic footwork and positioning the body. Theo has instructed me that in order to keep my newly found balance while dancing and gliding around the floor, I must, in fact point my nose and chin in the air.
Ever looked at ballroom dancers when they are dancing? Notice how their noses are in the air? Kinda snobby, but it helps distribute weight so you can dance properly. Funny thing, after I did what he said, my ability to glide across the dance floor without stepping on Theo’s toes was increased!
Also, I am learning about keeping my own space while dancing. Prior to my instruction over at the Studio, I was leaning on poor Theo like a human crutch while attempting to look like I knew what I was doing on the dance floor. Now, I can hold my own, for the most part. The rule seems to be shoulder blades back and then down. This position keeps you upright and steady while dancing. It is also important to remember, to not lean on your partner (or crush them as I may or may not have done a few thousand times)
In an earlier blog post, I mention that I was having difficulty adjusting to the slight body movements of my partner while I danced. Recognizing these slight body movements enables me to know which way my partner will be moving next, and if I’m about to be twirled to the point of dizziness. With the arm positioning and learning to distribute my weight I seem to be getting better, little-by-little.
The Foxtrot is a smooth dance originated in1914 by Vaudeville actor Harry Fox when on the roof of the New York Theatre, Fox would, as part of his act do trotting steps to ragtime music, and people referred to his dance as “Fox’s Trot.” The Foxtrot can be danced with 4/4 rhythm which, while dancing, is just a one, two, three, four, rhythm.
In order for these smooth movements to occur I am forced to remember many things: keeping my posture and my own space, always extend my leg out completely while moving back and to look at myself in those darned mirrors I just love so much. Looking in the mirrors has become easier as I’ve realized that are a handy learning tool when I’m trying to figure out where my feet go!
For those interested Studio 665 offers lessons for all levels and they are super friendly. I tried out one of their beginner Latin dance classes and in just an hour I was able to learn the basiscs of the Cha-Cha! There is a $15 drop-in rate, unlimited monthly membership (take any 665 class on our schedule) at $99/month and also a 10-class card for $125.
Look for the next installment of “Why don’t we just dance?” to have a listing of good music to dance the Foxtrot.
Stay tuned as Jill adds more dance steps and a little humor to her adventure. And for more information on dance classes visit www.studio665.com.
This story ran on the Eagle-Tribune Pop! blog on April 13, 2010.