When Brian and I were planning our wedding, we knew that we would have dancing at the reception. We wanted our first dance to be graceful, so we bought a wedding dance DVD and watched it. Our clumsy attempts were comical.
Brian’s Mom, Barb, can dance! She knows several of the ballroom dances, and her moves with my husband in the Mother-Son dance put mine to shame.
I’ve often thought that it would be fun to learn to do the ballroom dances. So, when I received the opportunity to review James Joseph’s new book, Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing, I thought it would be fun.
About the book…
Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing: Ace Your Wedding Dance and Keep Cool on a Cruise, at a Formal, and in Dance Classes
By James Joseph
6″ x 9″ Paperback – 149 pages – $14.95
BlueChip Publishers (2010)
ISBN 978-0-930251-44-4 LCCN 2009908151
Learn how to satisfy a woman on the dance floor. Part guerrilla manual and part cotillion handbook, this book teaches the basic principles common to all music and dance, enabling you to walk onto any dance floor and perform an admirable dance, with any partner, to any music, with confidence and grace.
This book is an insider’s guide to ballroom dancing. It’s for non-dancers, newbies and beginners. Whether you fear dance or can’t dance or hate to dance; or whether you’re rhythmically challenged or just new to dance; or whether you’ve finished dance classes more confused than when you started, this book has the tools a guy needs to know to make his partner happy. (Ladies, despite the title, this book will help you too.)
Here the beat, move your feet: * Learn a foolproof method for hearing the beat of the music * Learn to count music (they don’t teach that in dance classes) * Learn the correct way to count step patterns * Learn rhythm: single, double and triple rhythm, the building blocks of all dances * Learn three simple rhythm patterns that will get you through any song * Chapters on: slow dancing, survival dancing, the wedding dance, how to fake a dance, and more * 17 easy exercises (most you can do without a partner)
Free instructional video clips at http://ihatetodance.com
JAMES JOSEPH used to hate to dance. He took his first beginners’ class in 1984, and he may hold the record for the most beginners’ classes ever taken. He’s still taking them. Since 1996 he has trained under Skippy Blair, who is considered by many the teacher of teachers. His current aspiration in life is to become a geriatric ballroom dance gigolo on cruise ships–but he’s not old enough so he kills time by writing.
What I love…
This book is really simple, and for those who aren’t familiar with dance, the simplicity is great. I really appreciated the Definitions section. As a member of the rhythmically challenged community, I also appreciated the second chapter, which details counting music. Jim says that “You don’t know how to really live, unless you’ve learned how to dance.” He offers beginners ten tips to get them over the chasm of early doubt:
- Understand the music. Learn how to count the beats of music to identify the musical structure. Focus on the music you love. It makes it so much easier.
- Take Lessons. A good teacher will demonstrate the elements of music and dance that defy words and will tell you when you are doing something right and wrong. If you need to, take the beginners class a second time before moving on to a harder class so you really get the basics down.
- Focus on rhythm patterns, not direction of movement. Learn to understand when to step. It is far more important than where to step.
- Focus on technique, not learning more step patterns. The step pattern is the fancy moves you make when you move on the floor. Technique is what you look like and feel like when you do it. Make what you do look really good before you make it complicated.
- Get out and dance. Time on the floor dancing is the only thing that will make you better. Get out and dance! With great classes, great music and enjoyable people, it’s fun and easy.
- Dance with a variety of partners. Dancing with one person risks the creation of bad habits. Having to dance with a variety of partners is a basic dance skill. It removes the stress of dancing and is a good way to build confidence and skill.
- Dance Up – which means that you ask better dancers to dance with you. When you work with someone more skilled than you, suddenly the difficult things will start to work.
- Recover seamlessly from missteps. Handling mistakes is tough. Lighten up, smile, take the next step Some of your best accidents will produce the most interesting results and improvements you will ever make. As Ms Frizzle says, “Go ahead. Make mistakes!”
- Watch great dancers! Some of the best dancers in the world are on TV week after week. Watch the dancers and learn from the best. Men – if you get hooked on dancing, you’ll stop gazing at the women and start studying the men – to steal their moves!
- Learn manners. Be a gentle and polite dancer and you’ll have lots of happy willing partners. It’s hard to dance with someone who lacks sensitivity of their partner. It’s OK to be a little klutzy. It’s not OK to be rude or arrogant. Be warm and friendly with all eye contact. Treat everyone with respect.
Finally, Jim says, that you will learn to dance the best if you dance to the music you love. Big-band, blues, disco, Latin, salsa, waltz, soul, rock ‘n roll, cha-cha, hip-hop, country, or western top 40. Take your pick. Do what you love.
Jim also has a website, http://ihatetoddance.com/, where you can watch freebie videos that further clarify some of his points.
What I would change…
The book is obviously aimed at men, and had some innuendo that I didn’t think was necessary, such as “Men – dance is the only activity where you can go up to beautiful women one right after the other, spend three minutes touching them artfully all over their body, and each one will thank you for it afterwards.”
How I rate it:
I give Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing 4 out of 5 hearts.
Author’s Website: http://ihatetodance.com/
Lady V dZine
FTC Compliant Disclosure: I received a copy of Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. All opinions stated are 100% my own.