Not only does ballroom dance impart grace, balance and poise upon those who study it, it also provides a functional social skill that serves in many different functions throughout life. Getting your kids started in ballroom dance while they are still teenagers provides them with a skill set that allows them to feel confidant at balls and dance parties, boosts their self-esteem and keeps them physically fit in the process. A well-rounded introduction to ballroom involves studying several different styles of dance.
Most ballroom dance courses for teenagers begin with the classic or traditional ballroom styles: waltz, foxtrot and tango. The waltz is a smooth dance from Austria that is done in 4/4 time and is relatively easy for beginners to grasp, although it can take a lifetime to master. The foxtrot is an early American dance that was originally done to ragtime music but has become a standard form for big band music; mastering it will give your teenager many skills at dancing in live music venues. The tango originated in Argentina and quickly swept the world. it is an elegant dance in which the partners work together in a close embrace.
Another area of ballroom dance that is potentially more usable by teenagers is the so-called Latin dances, cha cha cha, rumba and mambo. Many of these dances are still danced in popular Latin music clubs and are the forefathers of pop dances like salsa. Cha cha cha originated in Cuba and features a unique, syncopated step on the fourth beat, hence the cha cha cha. Rumba also originated in Cuba and is a slow, sexy dance that is done to songs called boleros. The mambo, also originally from Cuba, is heavily influenced by jazz music and can be danced to a wide range of musical styles, including salsa.
Another style that is popular with ballroom dancers and finds special appeal among teenagers is swing dancing, which is used to dance to rock and roll and blues. This partner dance has several different style and variations, although most ballroom competitions are in East Coast swing. West Coast swing, which uses faster feet movements, as well as the Charleston and the Lindy hop, are other styles that developed though the years as rock and blues evolved in America.
Most ballroom dance studios offer both adult and children's classes in basic ballroom dance styles. Where to place your teenager depends on her, children's classes may be too slow and adult classes may be too serious. Visit ballroom dance studios in your area; most usually let you watch and even take a free sample class before signing up for an introductory course.
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