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FAQs

Q: What kind of shoes should I wear while learning to dance?
A: Wear shoes that fit securely on your feet. Sandals and heavy boots are not recommended! Thin leather soles work well, but tennis shoes are fine for initial lessons. Most dancers eventually buy ballroom dance shoes to improve their comfort and technique.
Note: To help protect our dance floor, we ask that students lacking dance shoes bring along clean shoes that haven't been worn on the street. Thank you!

Q: I feel like I have two left feet and no rhythm. Can I really learn how to dance?
A: We have a right foot in stock in just your size! Seriously, with just a little effort and practice, all students can learn the patterns and lead/follow techniques necessary to dance with any partner they meet on the dance floor.

Q: What are the best dances to learn?
A: Dance studios with accredited instructors like Ballroom Fort Collins prefer to use the terms Major Dances and Minor Dances:

Major Dances

These dances are the ones you are most likely to encounter when you go out dancing, whether a live band plays the music, or a DJ. The major dances divided evenly between smooth and rhythm, and include:

Whether it's traditional ballroom music, Big Band, 50's, or modern pop, these four dances will cover 80-100% percent of what you will encounter when you go out dancing. And, not coincidentally, they are the easier dances to tackle for beginning students! Additionally, many of the patterns in the major dances are shared by the minor dances, so most often, you aren't starting from scratch, when you begin a minor dance.

Minor Dances

Circumstances vary depending on the dance venue, but minor dances are applicable to music with more uncommon rhythms:

Generally speaking, for every Tango or Samba you will encounter on the dance floor, you will have 4-5 times as many opportunities to do a major dance like the Foxtrot. We encourage new students to pursue a goal of basic familiarity with the four major dances. Once that is attained and you have learned the basic principles of technique, we encourage you to sample the minor dances.

Q: I keep hearing about International Style vs American Style. What are the differences?
A: American Style developed in the American ballroom dance studio system, as pioneered by the Arthur Murray Studio chain, followed by the Fred Astaire Studio chain and legions of independent studios (like ours).

Interestingly, dances like Foxtrot and Swing began as American dances, and were later adopted and modified under the International style. For example, the invention of the Foxtrot is credited to the famed American vaudeville star Harry Fox. On the other hand, the Waltz has a long and venerable European history dating back more than two centuries. In the early 20th century, ballroom dances were standardized to make them easier to teach and learn. It is important to note that neither style is inferior to the other. American and International, though different in many ways, are equally challenging and equally legitimate, and the principles for dancing both styles are the same.

A great deal of crossover exists between the two styles, and dance enthusiasts and competitors often learn both styles. However, if your initial goal is to be comfortable and skilled in social dance situations, then American Bronze is the best place to start, as it is more flexible in the way patterns can be combined on the dance floor, especially on crowded dance floors.

American Silver and International can be danced socially, but are more appropriate for students who enjoy the physical and mental discipline of ballroom dancing and want to take it beyond the Bronze, social dancing level.

The instructors at Ballroom Fort Collins are accredited and certified in both the American and International styles, so we can tailor our instruction around your interests as you develop your knowledge of dancing and your abilities.

Q: What is the difference between Mambo and Salsa?
A: The Mambo is usually taught to start on the second beat. Salsa is most frequently taught to start on the first beat, but there are some instructors who teach the dance as beginning on the third beat. Otherwise, there are few significant differences between the two dances.

...More FAQs on the way. Stay tuned!