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5 MORE Reasons Every Dancer Should Do Pilates

Our Resident Fitness Guru Mandy Henderson is back with more reasons that combining dance with the Pilates exercise system is a smart idea:

1. Support your spine from a strong “core” – Joseph Pilates described the “core” as a corset. When you switch on your internal stabilising muscles, keep your spine in its’ natural curves and your pelvis in neutral, it’s like tightening up a corset by making your torso stable and allowing the limbs to move freely. Pilates teaches you to keep your “core” switched on so that it’s second nature. This is very apparent when you want to create a good connection with your dance partner – if your centre is switched on, you will really notice a difference in your partner’s leading or following because their torso is stable and the limbs are “connected” to the spine. You will be able to lead or follow more efficiently and your partner will really notice the difference.
2. Release unnecessary tension held in muscles – Pilates helps you to “re-train” your muscles and develop good habits in the correct muscles for the job. This is achieved by breathing correctly as well as stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles – e.g. learning to breathe and relax when you turn/spin, rather than holding the breath and allowing your shoulders to rise up towards your ears which will inhibit the turn by throwing your body off-axis. You will learn to relax the shoulders and keep them drawn down by strengthening the muscles around the shoulder blades in the back.
3. Improve spatial awareness – the “tweaks” required in Pilates are sometimes very subtle and over time, this ability to fine-tune the position of your body or access a deeper muscle, will increase your spatial awareness. This means that you will be aware of every single line and angle in your body when you are dancing and also more aware of where your body is in space – in relation to your partner (leading to better connection) and the other dancers on the dance floor (less collisions).
4. Increase fluidity and gracefulness – alongside better awareness and improved coordination, Pilates will help you move your body more gracefully because you will be more practised at fluid, flowing movement and have the muscular control to be able to achieve this. For instance, being able to fully point your feet and straighten your legs or do a flowing back bend or dance to slower music and be more “musical” with your body.
5. Improve your body isolations – in Pilates you learn to “switch on” the correct muscles (usually the internal stabilising muscles) and relax the often over-dominant bigger “global” or external muscles. This extra control in isolating muscles and limbs will help you be able to do a shoulder roll or rib isolation for example, without disturbing your connection to your partner.

Mandy Henderson, Dance and Pilates teacher.

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Check out Mandy’s Facebook Page for helpful hints and tips here.

And Mandy’s bio below:

“I started dancing aged 10, learning Ballet, Modern and Tap, went to a full-time dance college (Bush Davies) from 16 to18, and then danced professionally all round the world for 10 years. I’ve been involved in the Health and Fitness Industry since the age of 18, working in gyms and leisure centres teaching aerobics, circuits and dance classes in between dancing contracts – as well as training my fellow dancers during contracts.

I discovered Pilates in 1999. I had a temperamental back, having sustained a few injuries whilst dancing and Pilates made me feel strong within my centre and my whole body felt more stable and supported. I loved the dance-like elegance and flow to the movements as well as retaining my flexibility; I was hooked! I qualified to teach Pilates in 2000, sensing that it was going to be a life-long love affair…

I went to my first Modern Jive class in 1990. I was enthralled to find a whole new world of dance in which I could express myself, plus it was sociable and fun at the same time! I have since learnt to dance Salsa, Argentine Tango and West Coast Swing and also teach these amazing dances. I love the spontaneity of social partner dances and the shared language of each dance which means you can connect and dance with anyone, anywhere, once you know the basics.

I now teach Pilates and Dance full-time and feel very blessed to be able to continue my passion and enthusiasm for teaching physical fitness alongside my first love – Dance!

I have over 30 years of experience of teaching people how to look after their bodies and investigating how to maintain optimum health, but I learn something new from my clients and my own body every day. Our bodies are amazing. My wish is for everyone to be able to move their bodies and do the things they love for as long as possible – that’s certainly my main goal as I reach the second century of my life.

 

 

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Last Night a Dance Class Saved My Life

 

It’s true. Partner dancing saved my life. Don’t ask me why but it did.

I have always loved to dance, as a child I spent my time dressing up and choreographing routines to all my favorite records, from Abba to Edwin star and flight of the bumble bees.  Many a day spent in my leotard and disco glitter, closing my eyes and feeling the music, like only a child can. I never attended a dance class, something about our working class upbringing, we didn’t do things like that when I was a kid.

 

And as an adult I continued to go where the music and dancing took me.

 

Then I had a difficult period in my life like we all do, after all, that’s life.  Completely as a result of bad decisions I had made along the way.  To cut a long story short – I married the wrong man, a very difficult man and my life got tough for a long time.

 

In the middle of it I reached an all time low, my rock bottom.  And without realizing it, because life was difficult I had started drinking and partying hard

 

I had a big wake up call and realized that I was the only one who could change what had happened.  I got some help, sorted myself out, did some training and went on to work with 1000’s 1000′ s of people struggling with their bad habits and addictions.

 

It was as if someone was looking out for me.  In the early days, just as I was trying to sort myself out I met a very nice lady on a training course and she must have been able to see things weren’t great.  She asked me if I liked to dance, I said yes and she told me about her local modern Jive night and I met her there that week.

 

I loved it, it was such fun, and everyone was so friendly.  I carried on going every week doing the classes and then started going to some freestyles……I got the bug.  I danced every week, met loads of new people (none of which drank or took drugs) and best of all they didn’t know me, they knew nothing about me.  I could just turn up, dance talk to some people, have a great time and leave.

 

I went on to go to weekenders with my new dancing friends, it became a serious hobby.  Then I went to a west coast swing class and really fell in love with that.  Worked with a teacher, danced all around the world, France, America.  Going to London at the weekend.  Started competing and did quite well for an amateur.

 

I love partner dancing, it gave me exactly what I needed during an incredibly difficult time.  My life continued to take some twists and turns and was very difficult for a good few years while I was dancing.  But because of the dancing I had somewhere to escape, in more ways than one.  My only regret is that I didn’t start as a child.  I will do it for the rest of my life.  I can go anywhere in the world, look on line to find the nearest dance class and I can turn up, ask people to dance and have a lovely time usually only for £7.

 

The best bit is you can’t drink and jive…… No, seriously you just can’t do it.

 

If you have something in your life that you have always want to do, I urge you to go ty it.  Don’t let your nervousness stand in your way.  It can be the thing that makes a difference for you.

 

I have gone on to develop my own business helping others to change their bad habits and addictions.

 

www.ichange21.com

 

I am currently pitching to win a competition to get help with marketing and promoting my new business.  Please vote for me, so I can help others to change their lives.

 

Click the link to vote it only takes a second.  https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/ichange21-1

 

Hopefully see you on the dance floor.

 

Best Wishes

Stephanie Chivers

 

 

 

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6 Secret Tips to Increase your Social Dance Ability

Who I am

My name is Clint Steele and like you I am a social dancer. I started later in life and for that reason I had to find a way to get good at dance fast so that I could catch up with other dancers. As well as being a social dancer, I have an interest in the way people learn and become better at what they are trying to master. I have spent the past years researching and trying techniques that can be used by anyone to become a better dancer.

In the process of doing this I discovered that there are many things you can do to become better, but these are unknown to almost everyone in the social dance scene.

I am going to share the essence of what I have learned here with you now.

Build your Attributes

The most significant lesson I have learned when it comes to being the kind of dancer that you wish to be as that there is no such thing as a natural. This is an important thing to keep in mind. Many people will at one time assume that they are not meant to be dancers and that others are naturals. This can kill motivation.

Here’s the truth:

People who dance well, have been practicing – even if they don’t admit it – and those who seem to become good dancers quickly have done other things earlier that help them dance.
What you need to be a good dancer is the right attributes. If you have those, then the rest will fall into place:

1. Musicality

If you are like me, then you took on dance despite having no idea about music. If timing is an issue for you, then focus on music. Get some of the music that you dance to and just keep playing it. I almost had to listen for 8 hours straight before all of a sudden I could start hearing the beat.

Play your music as often as you can and really listen to it. Don’t just have it on in the background – but that is good to do as well – really try to break it down into each element of sound. As you do this, you will begin to detect the beats. Then the first beat of each bar, then first bar and the second bar, then the phrases.

Once you can do this – you will have the timing you need.

2. Physicality

You have probably noticed that the good dancer also seem to move well when they are doing simple things like walking. Dance is good for the body. However, unless you are dancing all day every day, you will not develop this physicality.

Instead, you need to engage in exercises that will develop the kind of bodies that dancers have.

Consider some of the following:

· Gym classes

· Joining a sports team

· Yoga

· Pilates

· Aerobics

Engaging in something that will work your body (ideally all of your body and everything from strength to flexibility) will accelerate your body’s development. You will then better able to learn proper dance movement. You will then do you figures better and look better on the dance floor.

3. Confidence

If you don’t feel good going out on to the dance floor, then you will not enjoy it as much and you will not dance as well as you could.

Do you ever feel worried when dancing; worried others will watch you and judge you; worried that you will let your dance partner down; worried you will forget figures or dance out of time?

Worrying about such things can kill your confidence and your dance ability.

Here are some things to help with confidence:

1. Assume the dancer’s posture – just as a lack of confidence will give you slumped shoulders and poor posture, it can go the other way. Standing upright in proper posture will make you feel better. You can also control this yourself. Assume the posture and confidence will flow. As you do this again and again, you will make it habit and you will feel better.

2. Remember that no one is looking at you – they’re looking at their phones.

There are many other things that you can do to boost confidence, but the above 2 are the quickest and easiest that give you real benefits.

3. Remember that your dance teacher is likely more dancer than teacher.

Most dance teachers are chosen for their ability to dance – or how attractive they are or their basic affability. The ability to actually teach is not well understood by many and can be evaluated by even fewer.

Teaching is a skill, but many treat it as an art. Thus if you have a good teacher, then you are probably lucky.

However, you can correct for this. You want to be a self-regulated learner. You can probably do a better job of working out what you need from a teacher to be able to improve your dance ability. If you feel that your teacher has not explained something in the right way, then ask a question that will encourage your teacher to explain things in the way you wish.

Some examples:

· Where do I feel that in my body?

· What count is that on?

· What happens if I do not do that?

· Is that a smooth transition or do I pause?

· Is this to make it easier or to make it look good?

· Is this part led or is it now what the follow should do after a lead

The above questions are only examples, but you can see that they are investigative. They help you, and your teacher, dig deeper so that you can get the explanation you need.
Don’t assume you need to get everything from your teacher. You can go to workshops on physicality, musicality, presentation, and so on. These will give you some extra pointers and also guides on the extra questions you can ask of your teacher.

Finally, the above might seem like it is for one on one classes, but it is equally valid group classes as well.

4. It’s all made up, but there are rules.

Some people stress so much about doing a dance the right way (maybe according to some approving body or the tradition of some place in the world) that they forget to actually learn.
It is important to note that dance is made up and to learn in a manner that is in accordance with that. It is helpful to know when asked to do something if it is because:

· That’s the way the dance is formalised (by a dance society for example).

· It makes the execution easier.

· That’s the style of that school, area or teacher.

By knowing which it is, you will focus on the execution in a manner that is congruent.

It’s also good to decide what your interest is in dance. If you want the formalised version, then you are likely after a school that focuses upon dance sport. If you are interested in being traditional, then you can ask about where and how the teacher learned.
Knowing that dance is made up and working out what you want will let you better focus your efforts and select the right place to learn.

5. It’s one of the best things you can do, but it’s not easy

Mastery of dance will be one of the most rewarding things you can gain. However, it is not always easy. You will have some lessons and other experiences that are not positive. They might kill your motivation for a period. However, we all have them. Don’t let a string of bad experiences chase you from dance or kill your long term dance gaols. Learn from these experiences and carry on wiser.
Often a string of such experiences is you moving from one level of dance to the next. So really, it’s a good thing.

6. Keep in mind It is social

A good dancer is also someone that people like to be around socially.

How would you act if you were going to any other social event? You should probably act like that when dancing too if you wish to be a good dancer.
Even if you want to do dance sport, you need to interact with others (your partner for one). Not only that, social dance is an excellent way to develop your skills early on. Having good social graces will help with that. Here’re some pointers:

· Would you criticise the attendees of a party and compare them to other parties? Probably not so don’t do it at a dance event.

· Would you shower and wear deodorant of some sort at a party? Probably so do the same when dancing – this is especially so for me.

· Would you dress well when going to a party to show respect to the host, yourself and others? Well, do the same when dancing.

Do the above – maybe even think about lifting your game because you get closer to people when dancing than you do at most other social events – and you will be a better dancer.

Taking it further

If you want to drill deeper into some of these ideas, then check out my book full of activities specifically designed to help people like you become a better dancer:

Dance Better Now: The secret to mastering dance and dancing at the excellent standard you want

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Are You Addicted To Dance?

 

Are you addicted to dance? It is a phrase used a lot. Personally I have gone through times where ALL that was on my mind was where I was going dancing next. When I was at college I would save all my EMA (meant to be for books and transport, pah!) for a train ticket and an entry fee. Planning my next trip and whose sofa I was going to crash on during lectures. I know people that dance 6 times a week. I met someone that boasted they had danced 57 nights consecutively. Another had not had a weekend at home for 6 months?!
But as awesome as our hobby is, sometimes this need can take a different  turn. I have a friend who actually was addicted to dance. Well a doctor was involved so that’s as close to an official diagnosis as we are going to get for the moment!
A friend of mine, let’s call them “A”, used to dance every night of the week. That’s fine, when you live in civilization but unfortunately they did not. This meant that in order to keep that monkey on their back happy they had to travel….. A LOT.  “A” would travel to a class 3 hours away on a weekday, do the class, drive home, bed for a few hours, get up and work. “A” would (obviously) feel horrendous at work all day, relying on energy drinks and caffeine to get them through. “A” would get home from work and have a nap. After this, “A” would feel a bit better but still not amazing. How can I feel better? they thought. I know, let’s go dancing again. So off “A” goes on their quest. This is kind of achievable for a one day, but by the time day two rolls around “A” feels rougher than the day before, but all they have on their mind are those endorphin’s. How can they get them? You get the idea.


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“A” continued like this for around a month until they had a wake up call in the form of a visit to the doctor after a close shave health wise. The doctor told them to write down their daily routine and diet. It was literally spelt out in front of them what they were doing to themselves, they were ADDICTED TO DANCE! Just to make “A” feel a little better the Doctor also pointed out that due to the extra sleep needed when drinking energy drinks A was having -2 hours sleep a night!
Don’t get me wrong, Dancing is a healthy, exciting way to keep fit and 99.999 % of the time, scratching that itch is sooo good. But I felt like a story of actual addiction needed to be shared!

How far have you taken your dance obsession? Let us know below.

Nick Stephens

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5 Good Reasons Every Dancer Should Do Pilates


There are so many benefits to combining Pilates and Dance I’m not sure where to begin. Here are a few to start you off:

1. Improved posture – Pilates = Posture (period or full stop!) Have you noticed how a dancer with good posture stands out from the crowd and seems to “carry themselves” with confidence and grace? Correct posture is about your spine being in its’ natural curves, your pelvis being in neutral and then the limbs moving without restriction or strain.
2. Better balance – every dancer needs to be able to balance on their own so that they’re not relying on their partner to hold them up and also so that they can recover themselves when they come off balance – whether on purpose or not! It’s about having your centre of gravity in the correct place.
3. Improved coordination – Pilates improves your ability to coordinate your muscles, joints and limbs with your breathing so that every movement, however small, is more efficient. This, in turn, helps your body and mind to cope with more complex movement patterns e.g .harder choreography, as well as being able to correct “bad” habits.



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4. Better alignment of the skeleton – alignment = how you position the body when still and in movement. Pilates strengthens the deep postural muscles which help you hold the skeleton in the optimal position so that movements are free and unrestricted. Better alignment and more freedom of movement will help you create beautiful lines with every step.
5. Stretch tight muscles – quite often the body overuses the “wrong” muscles because the correct muscles aren’t strong enough and don’t have enough stamina to do the job. This is why our hamstrings tend to be shortened and tight because we don’t have strong gluteal (butt) muscles (combined with too much sitting down and not enough stretching). Pilates teaches you how to stretch effectively and strengthen the weak postural muscles, thereby producing more balance in the body. Lengthened hamstrings will literally transform your posture and movement patterns by giving you a wider range of motion, which will have an effect on how you dance and move your body…

So in summary, Pilates equals better dance technique, which equals more freedom of movement, style and grace in your dancing.

Check out next weeks post for 5 MORE awesome reasons you should combine Dancing and PIlates

By Mandy Henderson, Dance and Pilates teacher.

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Check out Mandy’s Facebook Page for helpful hints and tips here.

And Mandy’s bio below:

“I started dancing aged 10, learning Ballet, Modern and Tap, went to a full-time dance college (Bush Davies) from 16 to18, and then danced professionally all round the world for 10 years. I’ve been involved in the Health and Fitness Industry since the age of 18, working in gyms and leisure centres teaching aerobics, circuits and dance classes in between dancing contracts – as well as training my fellow dancers during contracts.

I discovered Pilates in 1999. I had a temperamental back, having sustained a few injuries whilst dancing and Pilates made me feel strong within my centre and my whole body felt more stable and supported. I loved the dance-like elegance and flow to the movements as well as retaining my flexibility; I was hooked! I qualified to teach Pilates in 2000, sensing that it was going to be a life-long love affair…

I went to my first Modern Jive class in 1990. I was enthralled to find a whole new world of dance in which I could express myself, plus it was sociable and fun at the same time! I have since learnt to dance Salsa, Argentine Tango and West Coast Swing and also teach these amazing dances. I love the spontaneity of social partner dances and the shared language of each dance which means you can connect and dance with anyone, anywhere, once you know the basics.

I now teach Pilates and Dance full-time and feel very blessed to be able to continue my passion and enthusiasm for teaching physical fitness alongside my first love – Dance!

I have over 30 years of experience of teaching people how to look after their bodies and investigating how to maintain optimum health, but I learn something new from my clients and my own body every day. Our bodies are amazing. My wish is for everyone to be able to move their bodies and do the things they love for as long as possible – that’s certainly my main goal as I reach the second century of my life.

7 reasons dancing is the only New Year’s resolution you need

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Dance Better Now

I know a lot a people don’t agree with making New Year’s resolutions these days. Why make a promise to yourself that you will break in a month’s time, right? But whether or not you are jumping on the bandwagon this time of year, believe me, you need to try dancing.
Here’s why:
Fitness: It’s January and you are sitting looking at your stomach dreading the hours you are going to have to put in at the gym to remove that festive bulge. How about dancing instead? Salsa burns approximately 440 calories per hour, belly dancing approximately 360 for intense styles and tap can burn between 200 and 700 depending on the amount of steps you do. And the great thing about dance is that it is actually fun. I don’t dance to keep fit; I dance because I love it. Losing weight is a glorious side effect! There’s an awesome article here for more of the health benefits of dancing.
Social: I have a friend in most major cities in the country. This isn’t me having a massive ego trip, I just want to demonstrate the power of the dancing network. Dancing is a great way to meet new people, whether your motives are friendship or romantically inclined. Wherever you go, if there are dancers there, you are never alone.
Endorphins: Dancing is the perfect way to feel good safely and with no ill effects to your health. It’s even used as a form of therapy, check out this article here.
Stress relief: Dancing provides you with an escape hatch. A place you can go where day to day life melts away. The combined physical and mental stimulation is a powerful combination and once you get a taste of this I challenge you to not come back!
Affordable: Whether you are going to a local class or learning on-line, dancing is pretty inexpensive compared to most hobbies. Unless you are competing in ballroom and “need” a bespoke dress for every category that is!
Life skills: Dancing has so many transferable skills that you can carry with you outside of the studio. If you are a partner dancer you learn how to work as a team, how to look after one another and how to listen (but not with your ears). A solo dance session can teach you more about your body in one hour than a cardio session at the gym ever will.
Dance clothes: This one is more for the ladies than the guys. But dancing does give you an excuse to add loads of new items to your wardrobe. A favourite of mine is Honeystore for when it comes to dance shoes (affiliate link ).
So if you’ve never danced before, do it now……..If you have had a break from it……… do it now! Here’s Shia Labeouf with some parting words of inspiration if you are still lacking motivation.

Until next time Nick Stephens

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How every social dancer feels at Christmas


Christmas decorations

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Christmas is a busy time for everyone, but if you are dancer I can bet that you haven’t had a free weekend for a while! Works Christmas parties, family dos, drinks with friends, all this on top of the usual dance events and the Christmas specials too; the struggle is real. But there’s no need to feel alone, below is what most dancers go through every year:

  1. Just as supermarket shoppers panic buy on Christmas Eve because the shops close for “ONE WHOLE DAY!” dancers fear the idea of not being able to bust a move anywhere on the 25th. Rocking around the Christmas tree with your Nan after too much Baileys just does not cut it. Events on the 27th, or even boxing day are always great successes as people scratch that dancing itch.
  2. You spend a large amount of time turning down invites or coming up with excuses as to why you can’t attend non dancing festivities so you can dance instead.
  3. Your Christmas list contains dance shoes or a shoe brush or a dance bag or all of the above.
  4. You debate how much time is acceptable to leave your family for and go dancing.
  5. You get forced to give everyone “a spin” around the floor at the works Christmas party because somehow they found out you can dance.
  6. Any money gifted on Christmas day will be ploughed straight back into 2016 events.By now you have danced to “All I want for Christmas” at least 8 times and the Michael Buble numbers are off the scale.
  7. Christmas day TV viewing is based largely around…you guessed it…dancing. UK readers, I know most of you will be prioritizing Strictly Come Dancing over the Queens speech, don’t lie.
  8. Your first thought when receiving clothes as gifts is “can I dance in this?”.

That’s it from Dance Dependent for this year, we have exciting things in the pipeline for next year, so make sure you subscribe below for free updates.
Nick Stephens

How to survive the post-weekender blues

Dance dependent, The blues photo

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We’ve all been there. It’s understandable. When you step into the microcosm of a dance weekend all time, space and outside commitments are forgotten. I like to turn my phone off and stay off Facebook for as long as possible to further enhance the feeling. For 72 hours all that there is, is dancing, socializing, dancing, talking about dancing, learning about dancing, reminiscing about dancing and dancing. The Monday morning combination of your endorphin supply being abruptly cut, a total of 6 hours sleep and a 5 hour drive home is enough to make even the hardened dance veteran wince. But fear not. Dance dependent is here to help you through with the ultimate guide to take the edge off those blues.

  1. Music is essential. It’s what got you to that lovely fluffy place and it’s what will bring you down safely too. There are two ways you can go with this. Number one, you can listen to music that you danced to, re-living each delicious moment for the second time. But for some this can be too much, the idea that you aren’t there any more sinking you back down into that dance-less pit. If this is you then I suggest door number two. ANY music that you don’t dance your particular style to. Personally I like a bit of deep house and drum and bass, nothing too musically intricate but something that enhances your sleepy but relaxed state.
  2. Massage / bath. Book in a sports massage or have a bath to get those muscles ready for more dancing.
  3. Keep the high going. This one comes with a warning. Check out my post on dance addiction! Some people like to keep dancing and just never stop, this can only end well? Right? Not for the faint hearted, going dancing at your local on a Monday or even going straight there from a weekender can help ease the pain. But what goes up must come down……
  4. Immerse yourself in social media. Add all your new dance friends, post the “aftermath” status, get all your favourites in a group chat. Dissect the event, the dances, “that” moment. Find comfort in the fact that everyone is just as upset as you that it’s all over.
  5. Sleeeeeeep. For me, getting to bed after a weekender is extremely hard. Your body clock is screwed, normal bedtime is pre-drinking and dancing time. Also in my head, once you hit the pillow, it’s finally over. But trust me on this one, your body wants that bed, and the sooner you give it to it, the better.
  6. Plan the next one. This may not be helping you to come back down to reality but knowing when you can get your next fix should ease the pain.

I think that’s the lot. Good luck with work tomorrow. I feel your pain, no-one will get it, they weren’t there, I know, I know!
Let us know your tips for avoiding the come-down below.

Nick Stephens

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I have two left feet

Dance dependent, two left tango feet

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I have two left feet. I had been partner dancing for a number of years before I made my discovery. Strange to think that it took so long to realise. Even stranger then is the fact that I had become rather proficient at leading nicely connected, musical dances. All the time I was blissfully unaware. How weird that I had somehow managed to dance so well without understanding a simple truth; when I dance I have two left feet.

 

It took Argentine tango to bring this to my attention. Like many newcomers to tango I started gaining ability, improving my balance and I was even starting to enjoy some of the traditional music. But like most newcomers I was being held back by my failure to understand one simple thing. When I dance I have two left feet.

 

I remember my moment of epiphany vividly. I was having a private lesson with the Dutch tango maestro Bennie Bartels. As is the way with these affairs my mind was being bent to breaking point trying to motorize my imaginings. Attempting not to be flustered as I inflicted my brutal tango lead upon this ultra-refined expert. Why is it when you need your skills the most they seem to abandon you? If only when I danced I didn’t have two left feet.

 

Bennie must have noticed the steam coming from my ears or perhaps he feared for the safety of his toes, he said in his beautifully pronounced English that I had to ‘think his feet’ where I wanted them to go. I stopped thinking about my feet and his feet, and now started to think about my four feet. Bingo! When I lead an embrace I have two right feet and two left feet.

 

Looking back I identify this as being the moment that I finally started to ‘get’ tango. Tango teachers talk a lot about having a student mind. Like most students of dance I had very quickly abandoned the idea of having two left feet. It is synonymous with being clumsy. However if you apply it literally to leading any partner dance it reveals a level of understanding that will really propel your progress.

 

So, dance. Enjoy having two left feet.

Nath is a Tango, Modern Jive and Blues teacher based in the Midlands. You can also find him behind the decks. Check out here for more information

 

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