As it goes, the New Year brings with it many promises to those who love to dance – more opportunities, the search for more dancefloors to frolic on, and meeting new people who will dance as carefree as you! Whether you are a social or competitive dancer, we can all agree that being able to dance at parties and create a joyous atmosphere is a nice added benefit of either social or competitive dancing. I mean, who doesn’t love to watch energetic dancing unfold right in front of their eyes? Better yet, an opportunity to join them!
As all USA Dance social chapters around the nation strive to do, the Greater Atlanta hosts many events multiple times monthly to “promote ballroom dancing in the local community and to educate the public on the …benefits of ballroom dancing” (taken from the USA Dance Inc. website). Contrary to the name, social chapters aren’t just for social dancing, but to make dancing more accessible to even aspiring ballroom dancers who would like somewhere to start. Often organized with complimentary group lessons by a guest teacher, each event is created with a theme in mind, around which the carefully chosen music choices revolve. Ultimately, ballroom dancing is a lifestyle, and events created by the social chapters help unite and educate dancers even if they cannot regularly commit to taking dance lessons. Opportunities granted by the chapters include guided classes for beginner dancers who have shown interest in ballroom dancing, sponsorships of formal events, and even special programs for children ages K-12 to be exposed to the world of ballroom dancing at a young age. Possible topics for group lessons include theory on technique, form, physical fitness, and lifestyle benefits of dancing. Plus, they are always open to suggestions from the crowd!
On Saturday, January 21, the Greater Atlanta Chapter #6005 hosted the “New Year’s Party” at the Ballroom DanceTime Studio in Marietta, Georgia. This event included some of our USA Dance National DanceSport Champions with spectacular performances to awe the crowd. It was a reminder of what is possible in the competitive world of ballroom dancing, and a great motivator for anyone looking to get started as a competitor.
Along with the featured performances and hit social dancing from the vibrant community of Atlanta, the night provided an exciting dimension when several seniors started inviting younger dancers onto the floor, and vice versa! There were a lot of happy faces, and most of that excitement came from seniors who were very happy that the bridge between age gaps is starting to minimize due to the shared love of dancing – not only that, but willing to try out new experiences, in new situations, and frolicking on the dancefloor with people whom you’ve just met! The division between the youth and the adults in the DanceSport community seems to be less pronounced.
During this night, I put together a few common topics regarding the world of ballroom dancing, which can help take the edge off some of the competitive stigmas that may arise for people looking to get involved in their communities. The results were quite interesting!
I’ve always wanted to dance, but I feel it’s too late to get started, and everyone seems to know more than me.
Believe it or not, there are more beginners than you think at the event, and they would love to get to know you! Dancing is about having fun, connecting your mind with your body, and yes, sometimes even making spontaneous decisions! Plus, it can help you get your mind off things – including worrying whether or not you are doing the right steps!
As revealed by some dancers, you do not always have to know what you are doing while dancing, competing, or training. (By the way, if you’d like some good entertainment, see American Dancer and read some funny coach quotes – “Let’s Laugh” – that have been given to students in lessons or on the dancefloor. It’s good for a laugh)
Do you have to know how to dance to participate in these events?
It is certainly not required! If you are just starting out, these group social dancing events are the perfect place to get started and get a feel for the atmosphere and feelings generated by dancing on the dancefloor.
What is the attire? Do I have to have specific dance clothes/shoes?
The beauty of social dancing events like these is that people come from all over the city to unwind, have fun, and mingle with other casual dancers! Specific dance clothes and shoes are totally not required; you may rock the dancefloor in any outfit you deem acceptable! That said, leather soles make it easier.
In any case, the future of DanceSport relies on many areas of collaboration and oneness – social and competitive, young and old, inexperienced and experienced – the most important part is to remember to have fun on the floor and make memories!