Dance Lessons in Edmonton
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Arthur Murray Edmonton

Ballroom Dance in Edmonton: Elegance, Etiquette and Tradition

By | Blog

“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.” – Author Unknown

Wow! Isn’t that more true now than ever? Sometimes we are so caught up in the crazy schedules of life that we forget to take time for ourselves. We live in the informal age of technology where you are greeted by a voice recording and asked to choose from a menu of numbered options. Should you make an error in your selection, you will then have to start your call again. A student once told me that being at the dance studio is somewhat like going back to a simpler time, when people were more courteous and everyone knew one another by name. People would get together and have house parties.

When you are overwhelmed with your day-to-day routine, we would like to invite you to take a vacation from your life by coming to dance at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, where sometimes, it feels like a big house party. Remember, that during your visits at the school, life becomes simpler and more manageable (which foot is my cfriends. There is a tremendous sense of family and support between the students. Laughter can always be heard while walking up the stairs, and you’re guaranteed to be greeted with many smiling faces. I can assure you that anytime you come to the studio with tensions, aggravation or worry, you will always return home with a smile, increased dance knowledge, and probably some unbelievably funny moments you experienced during your visit. I am lucky to have experienced this kind of environment every day of my adult life. I challenge every one of you to try and stay grumpy while dancing. You will be amazed at the energy you will bring back to your own life just by recharging yourself with dance. It’s funny, for once in my life I’m not just remembering the “good ol’ days” — I’m living them.

Give us a call and come experience everything that our dance classes in Edmonton have to offer.

Why Ballroom Dancing is a Prerequisite to being a Super Hero

By | Blog

007, Zorro, Superman, Batman and Captain America; whether you prefer to fight crime in the light of day or dark of night, lurking in the shadows or hiding in plain sight, fighting in the streets with your superhuman strength, or zipping off into the stratosphere, Ballroom dancing is an essential skill all heroes must have in their tool belt.

Balance
If you are trying to maintain your poise and grace running along rooftops or navigating the dance floor, balance is an integral part of both activities. Taking ballroom dance lessons can teach you not only to have a better internal sense of balance, but an understanding of the components that go into creating the necessary equilibrium. The repetition of movement also helps you to build the stabilizer muscles needed to not only have good balance, but to have a certain finesse about your movement.

Power
“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Uncle Ben

True power comes from within. Well kinda. There are some people with muscles bigger than others and some people with bellies bigger than others. But don’t worry, there is a way to be a powerful dancer without having to spend 8 hours a day in the gym. If you want to be truly powerful on the dance floor you need to understand where that power comes from. It’s important to spend time on your dance lessons in Edmonton covering all the details of every step, not just trying to get though the syllabus as fast as possible. The body has hundreds of muscles that need to work in tandem to be able to perform at its peak. To dance your steps with more power and energy you need to learn what each muscles job is, then practice enough to get the muscle memory necessary to perform consistently.

Faster short term decision making skills
Being on a high traffic dance floor can be scary. As a leader you need the ability to make decisions quickly and correctly, getting used to predicting the movement of the other dancers, and feeling the flow of the dance floor. It’s just as important for followers to be comfortable and confident on a crowded floor, at a higher level, even helping to guide the partnership to success. Over time and with patience you will be able to traverse the dance floor with a seemingly inborn intuition as smoothly as Batman scours the rooftops of Gotham City. The best way to master your skills and be able to make decisions quickly and safely on the dance floor is immersion therapy. Attending as many groups, dance classes, parties and dance events as possible will mold you into a smooth ballroom dance machine.

Social ease
There comes a time in every hero’s career when they must take off the cape, put the armour in the closet and wear their underwear underneath their clothes for the night. Some super heroes have a wealthy alter ego, allowing them to fund their super escapades, others have less than glamorous jobs (news reporter seems to be popular). Whichever hero you are, one thing is for certain, there will come a time when you are in a ballroom and are going to be expected to fit in. You never know when you’re going to need to dance in real life too! Maybe it’s a Christmas party at your new job or you finally got invited to the salsa club by that cute bank teller, either way you’ll be glad that you have the skills ready to go for your latest adventure.

Precision
It’s not very useful to have a million gadgets, laser eyes or a sweet throwing shield if you can’t aim it worth a darn. The same is true for having a million different dance steps. Having an understanding of alignments and amounts of rotation will make sure that your moves always land where and when you need them to. Moving effortlessly from one pattern to another is a skill that takes time to develop with dance classes, just like anything else you learn when you start taking dance lessons. It can be even more difficult to achieve the internal precision necessary to move effortlessly with your partner, mastering both balance and counter balance.

Listening skills 
This seems like it may be more about partnerships than ballroom dancing but in a lot of ways they are the same thing. As a ballroom hero you need to be able to listen to your partner and what their body is telling you. You need to be able to listen to your surroundings on the floor, so you can make educated decisions on the best way to handle floorcraft. You need to be able to listen to the music so you can dance on time with the beat and demonstrate musicality in your movement.

Comprehension
Simply listening isn’t always enough. You also need to comprehend what your being told and execute instructions. Some of the most memorable super heroes (like Batman, Iron man, Hawkeye and The Black Widow) don’t have any super powers at all. The one thing they all do have is a reputation as being a “master tactition”. Having the ability to take in your surroundings and analyze the best response in any given situation. However long before they became the heroes we all know and love, they had to be trained. Learning not only from their instructor but from the experiences they have with other people. Your dance lessons in Edmonton should be the same. It’s Important to learn from your teacher, and the majority of your learning is done on your private lessons, but it is very important not to underestimate the value of group dance classes, parties and real life experience. Never give up an opportunity to dance onto the floor and you’ll be ready for any illegal back alley dance off that comes your way!

*Arthur Murray Dance Studios do not recommend or condone any type of illegal dance offs. Back alley or otherwise.

Endurance
The more you dance, the more you can! Spending time on the dance floor and making sure that you’re working as hard as possible in your groups and parties will help you build up the stamina necessary to dance the night away. Always dancing full out on your dance lesson is a great way to stay in shape and be prepared for when you do have an all-day dance event. Showcase is always right around the corner!

Costumes
There is a lot of pressure being a hero. Trying to hide your identity, the overwhelming pressure of the job and working all those night shifts! In my humble opinion the most stressful part of fighting crime must be choosing a costume. For the rest of your vigilante career the costume you choose will be your brand, your image and your reputation. The good news is, as ballroom dancers we have the ability to don many different masks. You’re going to need different outfits for smooth or rhythm, solo routines, galas and if you decide to compete. But do not worry, your teacher can help guide you in the right direction and set you up with a good place to look for costumes. While it’s nice to dress the part, remember that the only tools you truly need to be a good ballroom dancer are a good pair of dance shoes and a learning attitude!

The 5 Stages of First Time Dance Competitors

By | Blog

We all know too well the 5 stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are considered to be the process that all of us go through to handle grief.

I was sitting at home watching Star Trek (you don’t get to be a super dance geek without being a little geeky in other parts of your life too) and they mentioned the five stages of acquisition, as told by the Ferengi. Infatuation, justification, appropriation, obsession and resale. I thought about every purchase I had ever made and how I had gone through those stages during every major purchasing decision. The more I thought about it, it made me laugh, why does everything come in 5 stages? I spent a little time on Google and found the 5 stages of death, change, love, learning a relationship and of course grief. With competitions around every corner I wondered, what are the five stages of committing to your first dance competition?

The Five Stages of first time dance competitors.

1. Curiosity.
We have all noticed when competition time comes around, people’s faces start going up on the poster and the tone of the studio changes. Suddenly there are more people in the ballroom practicing before group class and during your lessons. The whole studio seems to be vibrant with energy and everyone is dancing as hard as they can. Pretty soon there are more and more competitive level spotlights at the party as the competitors are gearing up for their big event. At first you think “that would be fun, but everyone going is such a high level and I will never be that good of a dancer”. Then you realize that there are new students going to the next Dance- O-Rama and they haven’t even been dancing as long as you have! This is usually the stage where you realize that you don’t have to be an amazing dancer to go to a competition but that going to a competition is what makes you an amazing dancer.
*Pro Tip: here are the thoughts everyone has before a competition
-Am I good enough?
-Will I let down my teacher or my studio?
-Are these for me?

Competitions are for students of ALL levels, no matter how long you have been dancing. There are however many factors to consider when deciding WHICH competition is best suited to you, so tell your teacher or the manager of the studio if you are interested in competing or even just learning more about it! The only thing that can disappoint us is not trying something you want to do. Seeing a student overcome fear, being bold and trying something new is the whole reason we are dance teachers!

2. Intrigue.
Yes intrigue is different than curiosity. In the first stage you had just caught wind of all the excitement and thought to yourself “This is something I want to do!” In the second stage is where you take that first big leap and tell your teacher in a confident whisper “That looks like fun”. Don’t worry; we know that it can be a little intimidating even bringing up the idea to your teachers, so if you give us any kind of inkling that you interested we will make sure to bombard you will all excitement and enthusiasm you have come to love and expect from you teachers at Arthur Murrays. This is also the stage where we set you up a meeting to get more information about the event you are planning to attend (or information on how to decide which event to attend). These can be done one on one or as a group. Sometimes the studio will host group meetings and invite students we think are interested in competition. The benefit to a group meeting is that usually there are competitors from past events there who can tell you all about their experience and as always we can take the time to answer any and all questions you might have.

3. Preparation.
So you signed up for the next competition! You’ve booked time off work, you’re getting flights in order and now you need routines. Do not worry, your team of teachers is going to work with you one on one in your private lessons and make sure that you are prepared and well rehearsed. They will also give you tons of stuff to practice and work on, to make sure you maximize you time in group class and party. There is a certain level of responsibility you take on when you commit to a competition. This is not a responsibility you hold to the studio or your teacher, but to yourself. A promise that you are going to develop your dancing, trust the team of professionals helping you and that you will set realistic goals for what you expect to accomplish from your first competition.

4. Anticipation.
Week after week you have studied your routines, developed you skills, practiced on the floor and you still don’t feel ready. I have some good news and some bad news. You will NEVER feel ready for your first competition. This is the unfortunate reality of performing. However the good news is that you will feel and be completely prepared. You will have run though your routines so many times that you could dance them with your eyes closed and gone over the schedule so many times your ready to lead your partner onto that floor at the perfect time. By now you have created a vision in your head of what this competition is going to be like, how friendly the people will be, how intimidating the judges will look, how big the floor is and exactly how stunning you’re going to look in your new costume! Here comes more bad news, your wrong. No amount of practice will prepare you for what it’s like to be on the floor with other competitors, the floor will always be bigger than you pictured it and a little more intimidating than what you’re used to at showcase. Your costume will look even better than you thought after you get that ridiculously dark spray tan your teacher told you to get (yes they are serious, we are not trying to “pull one over” on you). Most importantly the judges may look terrifying, but when you meet them you will realize they are friendly, kind and big dance nerds just like you!

5. Resolution.
You will notice that actually being at and performing in the competition is not one of the stages. The whole competition is going to go by so fast you will barely even have a chance to realize how nervous you are, how much fun your having and how much you have developed leading up to your event. My biggest advice for you is to slow down and live in the moment. Enjoy the event because that feeling is going to have to last long enough to get you to the next one! It will almost seem like the flight was longer than the festivities and that’s ok. After a couple days you’ll start to remember all the small details that made going so worthwhile. When you get back to the studio and catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror you can’t help but think “Damn, I look good”. They say dancing is 20 Percent about what you do and 90 percent about attitude! Suddenly all your Arthur Murray friends will be taking notice of the dramatic changes in your style, technique, lead and demeanor. You finally get to see your investment pay off and you are going to like it. Here are all the things that don’t matter; Top Student Award, Top Teacher Award, Top Studio Awards, First, Second and Third place. What matters is that you succeeded! You attended your very first competition and made it out alive. You are a better dancer because of the commitment you made to yourself and your dancing. There are always going to be dancers better than you and there are going to be dancers that you are better than. The most important thing is to use your competitions as a bench mark, keep attending, keep kicking butt and taking names and with the help of your teachers, you will be able to reach all of your goals in no time!