How to Practice Ballroom Dancing When you aren’t on the Dance Floor

Even when you and your partner can’t figure out a time to practice together, you can still improve your ballroom dancing a lot by practicing on your own. There are four main areas that you can improve quickly by yourself: posture, stamina, technique, and routines.

Here are 21 ways to improve your ballroom by yourself.

Note: none of these suggestions require a ballroom floor.

Posture
Posture is one of the first things that the judges notice. It is also one of the things that distinguishes ballroom dancers from other social dancers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been salsa or contra dancing and have had the leader ask: “Do you do ballroom?”

It’s important. Fix it.

  1. Stand up straight when walking to class
  2. Sit up straight during class
  3. Adjust your car mirrors so that you have to drive while sitting up straight
  4. Keep your ears in line with your hips
  5. Hold standard frame and practice switching head directions (slower for waltz and foxtrot, sharper for tango)
  6. Take a yoga class

Stamina
As anyone who’s experienced rounds can tell you, ballroom takes a bit of stamina. Even when you don’t have the time or space to practice, you can still improve your ballroom dancing by improving your general fitness.

  1. go for a jog
  2. Quickstep: jump rope for 5 minutes
  3. Core strength & frame: hold a plank for 30 seconds*
  4. Samba: samba whisks for 2 minutes*
  5. Jive: basic step for 2 minutes*
  6. Frame: hold standard frame for 2 minutes*
  7. Stand in front of a mirror and smile your biggest, cheesiest, most winsome smile for 2 minutes (this is harder than it sounds)*
    *Remember to breathe

Technique
Possibly the most fulfilling thing to practice on your own.

  1. Improve body control with slooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww rumba walks (hint: all of your Latin will improve if you do this)
  2. More body control: Cucarachas
  3. Gracefulness: Ankle rises (with or without a resistance band)
  4. Sharpness: Tango link to promenade to promenade close
  5. Improve your sense of timing: listen to ballroom music and clap the timing
  6. Latin styling for ladies: watch this video of Yulia and try in the mirror

Routines
Ladies, it helps your men a lot if you actually know what’s going on stepwise. Gentlemen, obviously if you forget your routines, you’re in a bit of trouble.

Two ways to cement your routines in both of your minds:

  1. Write your routines down in stunning detail
  2. Think through your routines while listening to music

These are just 21 suggestions of how to practice on your own. There are many many other ways to improve your dancing.

Article Courtesy of Cornell Ballroom