Why, How and What in Pro-Am Ballroom Dancing

Published in  
Ballroom Dance
November 10, 2020
Ballroom Dancing is not always easy. Understanding how you are going to persevere through all the adversity en route to greatness, you have to have an excellent plan.

We can talk about the benefits of Pro-Am dancing for hours, but that is a topic for another article. Today, I have something else in mind.

As a dance teacher, I have heard one bewildering thing too many times - “It is too late for me to learn how to dance.” My take on this- It is only too late when you decide it is! I urge you to go out and live a fulfilled life, keep learning new things every day, and enjoy the process. It will bring joy, peace, and love to your heart.

Getting Started with Pro-Am Ballroom Dancing

Good dancing is like good wine- my very first teacher said to me once- You have to be patient, persevere, and commit yourself fully to bear the beautiful fruits of your labor- that feeling of completeness when you move to the music. It is not easy to put into words.

Okay, let’s establish one thing, Ballroom Dancing is not particularly easy, like anything else that employs body movement. As Pro-am students who are starting to dance later in life, or perhaps, don’t have a partner, and opt for dancing with a professional, your transition into the dance world might be a little bit rockier than that of an 8-year-old.

While it is almost certain that you will experience some challenging moments when starting, I always tell my students that if we make it out of the Bronze level, you will see how things are getting easier and making more sense. I find that the hard part for people is not putting the hard work in but seeing the reason behind it and doing it long-term. If you are going to persevere through all the adversity en route to greatness, you have to have an excellent plan.

We were talking about an art form, but suddenly it started to sound like a very structured school curriculum. Yes, because dancing is complex, just like aerospace engineering is, we have to take it in slowly, in bite size pieces, and make our bodies execute that information. In my experience, people start to lack motivation when there is not structure. Having a plan is the best way to stay on track and reach your full potential.

Let's take it easy and boil everything down to 3 words that you will need to define, tweak, and remind yourself of every day (in that order)- WHY, HOW, WHAT. One of the world's best-selling authors popularized this concept- Simon Sinek. In his TED talk, he refers to it as the golden circle, and he gives examples of why some companies are more successful than others. Truly an eye-opening presentation and one that inspired me to write this article.

“The power of WHY is not opinion. It’s biology.”


Nurturing Long Term Love for Dancing

STEP 1- Know your “Why”

To help ourselves on our ballroom dance journey, we need guidance; a lot of it will come from your dance teacher, but you might need to do some digging and answer some questions for yourself. In sport psychology, long term success is always linked to having a solid foundation and purpose. In other words- WHY are you doing what you are doing. Knowing “your why” can help carry you through rough times and help you see the shore when you are surrounded by water from all sides.

To make you a little more familiar with this concept, I will give you my why-“ I dance because I am obsessed with creating oneness with the music and sharing it with another human being.” However, I’m not obsessing over the final product as much as I am about the process. I dance because I am interested in learning new skills and experiencing every part of the process. Now its your turn.

Defining your "Why"

Questions to help yourself:

Why do I dance? - it can be anything from losing weight to escape the crazy world around, increase my social engagements, find friends, educate myself, challenge myself, compete, win, show off, or all of them.

Remember, your WHY is your own! Own it! Nobody can tell you why you want to do something. Your why is a living thing; it might be one thing today, another tomorrow, or in a month. Maybe five years from now, your "why" will evolve with you.

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STEP 2- Know your “How”

Next- it's action time. Understanding the concept of "HOW" is а crucial step that you need to take towards becoming a happy dancer. This is the guidebook on how you will go about achieving your purpose- your "why". This is where your dance teacher can help lay out all the possible routes your dance journey can take.

During this step, you can decide whether you would like to attend group classes and/ or private lessons, whether you are interested in participating in a showcase or a dance competition, and how you would go about it, including costume planning and your vision about the process.

Remember that this journey is a process. Think about it as an ever-evolving structure that you need to revise frequently while remaining flexible to make adjustments that can fit your "WHY" better.

Defining your "How”

Questions to help yourself:

How can I achieve my “Why”?- Is it through participating in a showcase or competition?

Do I dance to socialize?- maybe a group class or a dance party is an excellent start for you.

Reality check:

Dance is a parallel reality that should coexist in harmony with the other parts of your life. For your “how” to work and align properly with your goals and commitments, you have to perform what I call a “reality check”.

This puzzle piece so critical to your success. The starkest example would be to have only one hour to spare for dance per week but aspiring to become a world champion. Many have tried but failed and regret ever doing it. To avoid disappointment, I always strive to align how much I can do to fulfill the “why”.

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STEP 3- Know your “What”

Well, that one is so simple and does not need any elaboration- We dance. The final product is a stunning performance that can move others and, most of all- yourself. That feeling when you complete a heel turn or when you hit that accent of the music, or simply when you move as one with your partner. You have put in the hard work, now enjoy and remember it is about your "why" not anyone else's

One size fits all approach to dancing does not work because we are all different, have different backgrounds, aspirations, and life journeys. By taking the time to come up with your why, how, and what, you provide the building blocks to a happy and fulfilled dance life. At some point, your journey will face an obstacle- that heel turn that you can't get, or the difficult timing, or not being able to go through a round. Just chill. Take a deep breath, take your notes out, and read your "why." Make the necessary adjustments, wipe your sweat, and try again. We are all in the same boat. What differentiates us is the approach and the purpose.

In life, happiness is a long term dream destination. It is a "why", and it requires constant maintenance performed by your "how" which will eventually allow you to arrive at your "what".

What is your “why” in dance? Shoot me a message below; I would love to hear what makes you wake up happy in the morning.

Happy Dancing, everyone!

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