Ballroom dancing can seem like a weird hobby to the outside world.
Your teacher, your studio, and every experienced ballroom dancing enthusiast knows that this hobby matches perfectly with so many others, and it's no different from things like cooking, a foreign language, or golf.
Ballroom Dancing is Just Like Golf
Your Golf Bag = Your Dance Program
Your Dance Program is a Golf Bag. It contains a variety of options to ensure you're successful in a variety of locations.
Think about it.
There are clubs that are built for very specific situations - like teeing off, putting, or a sand trap, and there are dances that can do the same.
The Common Core
There are golf camps that tout the ability to teach people to golf focusing on only three clubs. For social dancing, there are core dances that can help reveal skills in other dances. At Arthur Murray, this is referred to as the "interrelated system of dancing".
Golf Club Equivalent: Driver
Outside of teeing off, your driver stays in your golf bag like a hired gun for your golfing goals. For Waltz, it is your "hired gun" for that one moment of elegance at a wedding reception, company party, or gala.
It's not a dance you use all the time, but that doesn't make it any less important. Waltz, like your driver, has a very specific role to play.
The Driver features both power and finesse, and - when executed well - can produce incredible movement, just like the Waltz. As a dance, the Waltz may not seem practical, but as a skill, there is a major spillover effect from Waltz to the remaining dances you are learning.
Things like posture, balance, timing, and graceful movement are all amplified via the Waltz. In the same way that a well executed full swing with a driver can teach so many important golf mechanics with other clubs.
Club Equivalent: 5 Iron
Your 5 Iron is like a golf club Swiss army knife. It's like middle C on the piano of irons in your bag, and saying it works in a variety of situations is a gross understatement.
Dance wise, this is the Swing. It's a medium tempo dance that fits everything from rock & roll, to Top 40, and you can find places to use it from wedding receptions to wine festivals, office parties to nightclubs.
While the 5 Iron is a gateway club to a variety of other irons, the Swing does the same for a variety of other rhythm dances. Whether you are interested in eventually learning the Salsa, Cha-Cha, Lindy Hop, Jive, or Country Western - Swing is your all access, easy starting point.
Club Equivalent: Putter
You can't survive a round of golf without a putter, and you can't get through a night of social dancing without the Foxtrot. Like the putter, it's the easiest entry point into the activity. Social dancers cut their teeth with the Foxtrot, in the same way that new golfers can begin putting right away.
This is where Foxtrot and Putting go their separate ways. Foxtrot is a dance that helps to develop your ability to talk and dance simultaneously - which would be an unforgivable gaffe in a heated game of golf.
Details, Adjustments, and Personal Accountability
Okay, so if you didn't know already, golf can challenge you in a way that few other hobbies can. It can operate on extremes. At one point you're enjoying the beautiful scenery of a beautifully landscaped course and conversation with a buddy, and then your brain is operating at peak capacity, boiling with frustration, and fighting the urge to toss your golf bag in the lake.
At times, dancing with a partner can do the same thing.
Instead of the nuanced, occasionally frustrating relationship between the golfer and her clubs, ballroom is all about Leading and Following.
In Golf - the club tells the golfer about mistakes by way of errant shots.
In dancing - the partner tells the dancer about mistakes verbally, and sometimes with nothing held back.
Yet in either hobby, when the relationship is working, it's magical, symbiotic, and just enough to make the process getting to that point feel like it was worth it.
Teeing Off and Dance Levels
In golf, you can choose your level of difficulty. Not in the mood for Championship level play? No problem. There are a set of tees for that. Need a little more of a challenge? There are tees for that too.
As obvious as this is to golfers and their preferred color of tees to start each hole from, this is an often misunderstood area of the hobby of ballroom dancing.
There are some that love the idea of competition, and there are programs for that.
There are some that love the idea of capable and comfortable social dancing, and there are programs for that.
And there are some that would just like the basic survival skills, and yes - there's a program for that too.
Just like golf, you dance lessons can have a wide variety of goals, and like any great golf course, your Arthur Murray instructors are equipped for any variety of interests or levels of desired difficulty.
Dancing may be able to improve your golf game, but golf may help you in your dancing in a much bigger, and more beneficial, way than just a few extra yards on your next drive: Clarity.
It's a process, just like dancing. Nobody would ever make the mistake of assuming that golf was just something you should be born with.
Nobody in their right golf playing mind would ever assume that the process to greatness should be instantaneous either.
In both cases, you work hard to make it look easy. It's not immediate, it may cause you to wring your hands or bite your lip, but that's what we do with things we care about, and that's what makes these hobbies so maddening, and rewarding.
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