31 July 2012

Social Dances: Tips for Beginners

Latin' n' Ballroom dancing is a recommended physical activity for everyone.
Benefits include –Core strength development, cardiovascular and flexibility of the entire body.
Further if you look at the many different dance styles  each of them have an ability to strengthen you in their own unique way  ....
Chacha ,Waltz , Merengue, – Good to start with for easy efficient coordination and great footwork patterns
Samba ,Salsa– Great abdominal workout, and an increased level of stamina.  Great hip movements that tone up your entire body.
Tango , Bachata-  the precise controlled slow and fast footwork improves tone in your legs and postural control in your upper body.   
The quickstep improves balance and peripheral vision immensely.
Rumba, Bolero –  lengthens your muscles, improve control, grace and fluidity in your movements.   
Swing ,Jive increases stamina and tone up your entire body with its high energy moves.  
 Foxtrot greatly increases your ability to have a wonderful posture and move with grace.
Paso Doble -  A fast dance which is a great for posture, precision and teaches muscle control and sharp turns.


1. Beginning dancer. Knows nothing.
2. Intermediate dancer. Knows everything. Too good to dance with beginners.
3. Hotshot dancer. Too good to dance with anyone.
4. Advanced dancer. Dances everything. Especially with beginners.

 Useful tips for practicing and new dance students.

Social dancing has got a lot of attention these days.  Many new  dancers in the early part of their training will sense some amount of discomfort in muscles they didn’t know they had. And  dancing being a cardiovascular exercise some of the major muscle groups of our body and gets a workout like the hip abductors, , quadriceps calves the hamstring and gluteals
For greater coordination dancers aim should be to enhance the muscular strengths and endurance and tone in the entire body.  Essentially in the upper body back the arms and in the lower body- involving the abdominal core sections and the legs and calves.  Infact it is good to have a moderate warm up and stretching before/after dancing as it prevent muscle cramps and contractions.
As the muscles of the body are subjected to intense tension in exaggerated movements of certain dance movements we must guard against repetitive stressful movements or what is called as overuse injuries.
A good way to combat or prevent this is to strengthen those groups of muscles that may not be developed by/in  your dance practice.

If your aware of any injury prone areas of your body it would be imperative to share with your dance educator and they could help in working with you in a modified version of any particular exercise to suit your needs.


As you start your dance training it would be a good idea to be consciously aware of your postural alignment all through. Its important to  lengthen and loosen all the important muscles.

A good postural maintenance prevents strains in the back and helps in any of lifts ,drops, dips that one may be tempted to try learning  to do as you advance in your practice. And likewise both the warm up and cool down sessions  should be an important part in your dance training. 
After all as Alexander Pope said ' those who move the easiest ,have learned to dance' !

09 July 2012

Beyond the Dance Floor.....

Dancing develops an intelligent and aware body and sensible and savvy minds too. Dancing after all  is so much more than mere imitation and mirroring, in fact it is a start to an endless journey of discoveries about the self and the world and the realms in between. As I started sharing my skills in Latin &Ballroom dance forms and its movements I realized that its more about aligning and integrating the body and mind than anything else … Understanding placement techniques helps to move with what you are capable of,and  entices you to explore the beyond.... so what results is an awareness of an expansion in ones capabilities in the process…. 

Learning dance should be unbridled joy in movement not about the old school  patterns of forced turnouts, hyper flexing your muscles to injury perhaps as one grows older…its definitely an organic approach to not muscle in  at the body but to gently coax it to mold to all its capable of and therein lies the joy of learning to dance! This can only happen when the training is done with awareness of what’s happening inside the body at every given time. Empowering the body and mind with a deep understanding of one’s anatomy and integrating the learning in a socio-psychological perspective unique to every learner is the need of the movement. 

Have always believed that partner dancing abilities extend much beyond the performances and stage shows or even just social dancing. In fact as the focus towards the form and learning strengthens, certain amazing traits develop in most good dancers and stay on with them for the rest of their lives. With further practice these traits evolve further with the years and distinguish them from non-dancers.
 You may find that may be a good dancer may not necessarily have the latest software skills but if you are looking at preciseness, punctuality, confidence, poise and presentation, empathy, passion, and structured creativity in your employee, look no further beyond a good dancer as they walk all the talk and that’s a win win situation with grit , determination and healthy mind and body to boot.
Whats more when you learn to dance with a partner, it can develop empathetic awareness, compassion,synchronicity, balance, perception, respect along with time management skills and even  personal hygiene awareness ,relationship management  to name a few! What more many partner dancers are equipped with great leadership skills that are able to strategize beforehand as they have learned to envision a larger picture or at a macro level.

 And besides these qualities I believe that one of most important trait as a dancer is their ability to be in a positive frame of mind enough to look at every dance , as fresh and new and being able to give the person in front of them undivided attention, which itself is of immense value to another being !
Savvy Raj 

03 July 2012

The space between the steps

Just like music is also in the spaces between the notes,  there is dancing in the spaces between the steps ..... Its only when we become aware of the value of spaces between the  thoughts that we can truly reflect and revel and dance with ease through our lives. 
The pinnacle of access to our realization of the creative entities at work  would actually be in the silence , in the intentions, in an emotional journey of profound fulfillment.
 The trick is to find that point of immense creative surge and be able to nurture it . 
Rest and activity go together just as much as night and day... And like the yin and the yang , there  must be pauses in between the breathes , an inaction in between the action , which will heighten the clarity,purity and the intensity of that which is evolving .

Its disheartening  that our world has become so hyperactive . Multitasking has become the order of the day  . people spend time having dinner in front of televisions , reading is done with music, and  mobile phones calls cuts through a real conversation. So much has there been an abuse of our bodies and mind that we truly have forgotten the importance of non activity .. The silence between your actions or movements  are the bridge to our totally  conscious experience and more so the greater your awareness the greater the potency of the action itself . 
         Dancing de-stresses the body mind and spirit holistically . Taking a moment to value the steps you dance together , valuing the music  you are dancing to, appreciating this moment& appreciating the partner you have in this moment will only cultivate the value for oneself and will help in centering oneself deeper in the action with a joyful heart and soul.
 When you Dance if you still your thoughts to  simply learn to flow with the partner , the atmosphere ,the music you will undoubtedly enliven yourself in the process and what you have is a beautiful dance of togetherness bridging the spaces between the steps with a conscious awareness .....

And that is  when dancing feels like a miracle that's happening!

Few more thoughts in the flow....

Start the day with a  few minutes of silence and observing the breath  

Take time to pause and watch a natural scenery view and try to be one with it . .. May be  a sunrise , a sunset, a beach view watching the waves , the stars in the sky , the moon , the sky , or a rose or any flower or potted  plant , tree in your garden .  Have moments where you are free of your cellphone , television , computer, any electronic appliances  
Make a point of actually listening and understanding  as others speak and allow other to speak as much as yourself .
 And also  accept every moment in the life you have now and cherish it for what it is ....Cultivating  an attitude of gratitude :)

 Savvy Raj