To help demystify the niche, incredibly rewarding, but sometimes hard to understand hobby of ballroom dancing, we're going to shine the spotlight on another all-time popular question and comparison:
What's the difference between Bronze 1 and Bronze 2 in your dance program?
For the record, it's details like this that, left unattended, can have your Dance Journey drift or stop short. Why? Because, quite simply, each level of your dance program is like a vacation, but no one wants to travel someplace without a decent idea of what it's like when you get there.
Bronze 1 Vs. Bronze 2: Unlock the Mystery of Your Social Dance Program
The Arthur Murray Bronze Program is the industry standard for learning how to get started with ballroom and latin dancing. It's comprised of 4 levels: Bronze 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each level, as with any scholastic structure, builds fundamentals at higher and higher levels.
For the Bronze 1 Dancer
Bronze 1 isn't just the first level of your dance program... it's the level where you're learning how to learn how to dance - repeat that last part out loud as necessary until it sinks in.
A few months ago, dance skills may have been restricted to what you felt comfortable doing in high school or some witty comeback to avoid the activity altogether ("I've got several left feet").
Now you're not only learning the basic survival skills, but you're part of a curriculum that will teach you the movements, backed by muscle memory, to make dancing a lifelong habit.
Granted, like any hobby involving muscle memory with regular departures from your comfort zone, there will be some challenges, but they also act as a gateway to the benefits of learning how to dance.
For the Bronze 2 Dancer
Bronze 2 is the level where you start to make selections for your dance hobby as a dancer.
The second level of your dance program is like having your second child. The first was a constant adventure through unexplored territory while the second follows along a far less risky path.
Yes, Bronze 2 is just like that.
This is also the level where you're loading up on style and technique for current and future use. Cuban Motion, that movement of the hips you may notice on others, and Rise and Fall, the up and down movement of dances like the Waltz, are both introduced in this level.
Not only that, Bronze 2 is the level where students begin thinking of themselves as dancers, not just regular people who take occasional dance lessons. This doesn't require you to own tight clothing, wear spray tan, or do the splits while standing in line at the farmer's market, but you can definitely step onto a dance floor now without being forced.
Think of This Like...
Bronze 1 is a little like your Freshman year of high school. Don't worry, this comparison gets better.
Think about it, in your Freshman year, you're learning a lot. Here are some examples:
1. You're learning a variety of subjects with a variety of teachers.
2. You're learning how to transition from class location to class location.
3. You're creating bonds with classmates that can last a lifetime.
Your Freshman year is your rite of passage, a non-stop growth spurt, and while you may not be the prom king or queen yet, you're building a foundation for future high school success.
Bronze 1 is the level that every advanced dancer looks back on with a deep appreciation. It's the level where you learned:
1. A variety of dances, in a variety of formats - like private lessons, group classes, and coaching lessons.
2. You learned how to transition from dance to dance when the music changed at the practice parties.
3. You connected with other students of all levels and the group of strangers in the dance studio, far outside your comfort zone, have become your dance friends.
Bronze 2 is like your Sophomore year. Yes, that year where most people feel the warmth of their first glimmer of the legitimate high school student light.
No longer feeling like a glorified middle schooler, the sophomore can state, firmly, that they are, in fact, a high school student. Sophomore year puts your development into clearer perspective. After all, there are incoming freshman that are an easy reminder of your own growth.
The Focus of Each Level
Bronze 1 is the level that introduces techniques like Timing, Leading and Following, Footwork, Posture, and Dance Frame - to name a few.
While the patterns may be easier than the other levels to follow, there will never be a point in your dance hobby where you aren't utilizing the skills or steps from this all-too-important level.
Bronze 2 is the level where there are fewer new patterns and a higher concentration on style, technique, and execution.
That's not to say there aren't some exciting new moves in Bronze 2. In fact, this level teaches leaders to navigate and weave through traffic with much more flair ("Floorcraft") and helps develop the sensitivity for followers to respond to more advanced and subtle cues.
Ultimately, Bronze 1 is the foundation and Bronze 2 is the decoration.
The Biggest Threat to Each Level
At the Bronze 1 Level the biggest threat is, easily, yourself. Being that this hobby is new, an interruption of your current lineup of activities, and a step outside of your comfort zone, you are your biggest threat to the survival of this level of your dance program.
The biggest threat to Bronze 2 is still you... but a slightly different version of you. The "cook time" for skills in Bronze 1 is, typically, much quicker than in Bronze 2. So the dance-version of you in this level can lose patience and get frustrated because the progress isn't as clear cut as before - you know, when you went from a non-dancer to a Bronze 1 dancer.
The Most Important Tip for Each Level
While this can apply to any level, at any time, for ever and ever, in Bronze 1 it's all about front loading your minutes. This means taking extra lessons early in your dance program.
In the same way that you might read a few extra chapters of a new book to develop a familiarity with the characters and the environment, you can do the same thing with all the characters (dances) on your new dance program.
This does not have to be a permanent solution when it comes to your schedule. But if you can make this a regularly scheduled increase in your minutes logged at the beginning of this, and future, levels of your program, you can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to get back into "dance mode" on your lessons.
There's a saying that every Bronze 2 student should memorize: "You don't need advanced patterns to practice advanced techniques."
As you begin to unlock the wonderful layers of skills like hip motion, rhythm, rise and fall, and floorcraft, don't ever forget that Bronze 1 patterns will be your entry point for these exciting new additions to your dancing.
While some people love styling for the glamour, remember that style is what gives each of your dances its character which helps to differentiate them in your mind and improves your recall and response time when the right music comes on.
Taking classes in something and executing what was learned in those classes is two completely different levels of skill. The goal of your Arthur Murray journey may not be to dance on television or win a competition, but at some point there will be music playing, an open spot on the dance floor, that we hope you'll take.
Doing that will take more than just a single class... and that's why your teacher has planned the program that you're on, anticipating a moment you may never have thought was possible, and whether that's at Bronze, Silver, or Gold 1, it's our mission to help get you there.
No matter what level you are, or which studio you're from, there's an article here for you. Subscribe today for weekly updates, exclusive content, and to take another step towards making your dancing a lifelong hobby.