Ballroom Troubleshooting: Part Two
Continuing our troubleshooting series on ballroom dancing, here’s 5 more common issues that can easily derail you if left unchecked.
1. ‘I get dizzy when I spin.’
The issue: It seems like you can barely keep your feet after a few turns. You often feel wobbly and disorientated while dancing.
What to do about it: The single most powerful cure for this is to practice your spotting, which means returning to the same spot with your eyes before and after a turn. Practice turning and refocusing on something at eye level, about the size of a sheet of paper. Temporary dizziness can also result from inflammation or infection of the inner ear.
2. ‘I can’t move my hips.’
The issue: Your hips feel too stiff for that sexy Cuban motion you see the Latin dancers doing.
What to do about it: Check your technique: Is your butt sticking out? Are your hips rotating, or just going side to side? Incorrect placement of the pelvis can reduce flexibility and increase your risk of injury. Film yourself and get a professional second-opinion to make sure you aren’t overdoing the action. Practice your hip rotation, starting with a warm up and stretch your hips flexors beforehand.
3. ‘My partner is leading me too forcefully.’
The issue: Your leader seems to be practically pulling your arms off with his ‘leads’. It may feel like a lot of energy is coming from their chest and arms, rather than the core.
What to do about it: First, they might be leading strongly because they doesn’t feel enough resistance on your end – make sure you follow the tips from #2 of the previous article. If you feel they’re pushing you a lot, they might not be familiar with connecting his arms to his core. If you are in a lesson together, ask the instructor for more information.
4. ‘I hit, or almost hit my partner during an underarm turn.’
The issue: Your elbow seems about to smack your partner on every turn. You find yourself trying to keep more distance to avoid hurting them.
What to do about it: Make sure your arm makes an L-shape in front of you on the turn – never out to the side. This keeps the arm in your space. It’s also possible that your leader is leaning forward too much, bringing their face dangerously close to your whirling limbs. The solution is to stand tall, with the back of the head in line with the back of the heel.
5. ‘I step with the wrong foot midway through a pattern.’
The issue: It happens in the same place in the same pattern; you find you always end up stepping on the opposite side as your partner.
What to do about it: At one point your partner must have made a weight transfer you didn’t pick up on. Go through the step slowly, looking for the point where you miss the weight change. If you can’t find it, dance it at normal speed while filming yourselves, and check the film for the misstep. Remember to focus on FULL weight changes, as with #1 in the previous article. It’s also possible that your partner accidentally made an extra weight transfer, which you can also spot on film.
Get ready for 5 more for next week – this time, we are looking at issues dancers with a little more experience can face!
About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.