Arthur Murray North Seattle Blog

Why you Shouldn’t Learn One Dance at a Time

Posted by Fong Lee on Oct 16, 2016 10:21:24 PM


     We’ve all been there.  We’ve seen an amazing routine on Dancing with the Stars or on YouTube and we think: “Wow, I want to do that.... and I want to do it as fast as possible”.

     While it may be tempting to learn one dance you’ve seen, it usually does not make much sense unless you are going to be on that show. There are many reasons for this.

1. Interrelated System of Dance

     Most social dances are interrelated.  Some studios, such as the Arthur Murray Dance Studios, teach all dances based on this system. The interrelated system of teaching dance is defined as “the use of a pattern, technique, amalgamation, or dance mechanic that is used in several different dances and applies to a variety of dances on one’s dance syllabus”.  

     This not only allows one to learn multiple dances at once easier, but also vastly increases the retention of steps.

2. Don’t Sit Any Dance Out

dance the night away

     We’ve already established that we want to learn social dancing.  This means that you want to be able to go out on the town or to special social functions and be able to dance.

     If you only learn one dance at a time, you will be missing out on a lot of the night because you won’t be able to dance to music.  What’s worse than the refusing an invitation from the person you’ve been eyeing all night just because you didn’t know the basics of the other dance?

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3. Keeps the Excitement Alive


     If you learn one dance at a time, it is easy to be eager to get it perfect. Unfortunately, this can lead someone to get burnt out and frustrated going over and over the same pattern from the same dance with the same music.

     With the curve of learning in dance, we are reminded after the initial stage of high thrill and motivation to learn to dance, there is usually a drastic emotional set back once students reach this first plateau.

Read about Arthur Murray Curve of Learning in Ballroom Dancing

     This usually occurs around the third to eighth lesson and can be quite disappointing. If you learn multiple dances, we can restart or change the music and work on a different dance to clear our mind of what we were struggling with.

4. Becoming a Better Lead/Follow

become a better lead

     The crucial skill of becoming that amazing lead or follow, whom everyone wants to dance with, is best developed by learning multiple dances. Different dances have different frames; some are more compact, some are more opened, some are more casual, etc. 

How to Become a Great Follower

     By having a good connection, keeping all of the body engaged, and maintaining a strong frame no matter what the dance is, you continuously mature your dancing skills. The main qualities of excelling in this area, are universal throughout all dances.  It helps to learn multiple dances because as you progress, you’ll find that some dances change frames from open to closed or can be danced in more than one frame. 

     Changing these frames as fluent as the dancing itself is very important.

5. Increase of self–confidence

     Having more of a variety of social dances in your back pocket gives you more assurance, that you’ll be able to dance with whoever your partner is, whatever the music is.

     To allow your partner to choose between multiple dancing, such as offering her/him a Salsa or Samba will impress your partner by the amount of dances you know.  Not only can you do a dance to the music, but you can dance multiple dances to the same song!

How to Set Yourself apart from OTHER Guys

      You also have the confidence to do fancier dance moves (turns, swivels, etc) because you have done them a variety of ways in multiple different dance styles.  You’re no longer “winging it”, you really know what you are doing!

Final Thought:

     As you can see, it makes the most sense to learn multiple dances at once.  Especially when your studio is teaching you on the interrelated system of dance.  

     Not only will you learn faster, you will be able to impress your friends, family, and even yourself with the wide variety of dances and patterns you can feel comfortable with in a short amount of time.


Topics: New Students, Dance Advice

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