Foxtrot Waltz Tango Swing Rumba Cha Cha Salsa Wedding


How Can I be 'Lighter' for my Partner?

Q. My partner complains that I'm heavy. What can I do to be 'lighter' for him?

A. (Heartfelt from a couple of guys who have hauled many a heavy lady around the dance floor) - Thank you for your question!

Every lady wants to look great on the dance floor - that's a given. And you might very well be asked to dance for the first time based on how you look. Trust us though - the second invitation has a lot to do with how you feel. You see, every man loves to dance with a woman who is easy to dance with and feels good in his arms! And we want you to be one of them!

One thing you should understand right away is that dance heaviness has nothing to do with size. Very heavy people can be very nice dance with, and very light people can feel like a piano. The key ingredient to lightness in dancing is actually attitude: if you think it's the man's job to haul you through your dance steps, you are probably going to be a nightmare; if you're a true partner, happy to do your part, you will dance like a dream!

Ultimately, being easy to dance with comes down to taking responsibility for holding your own body, while allowing the man to lead.

There are four important factors that will make you feel light to your partner: holding and moving your own weight, being on balance, following and relaxing.

1. The first thing you need to do is make sure you hold your own weight in dance position. Although you should touch the man's left hand and right arm over as much area as possible, you still need to support 100% of your own weight. Try to stand up as tall as possible and project your energy up and towards him in every way. (This is especially important when you're first learning to dance and are tempted to look down). You should almost feel like you are lifting him from above by creating a vacuum. If your partner suddenly dropped his arms from underneath you, you should feel that your own arms would not fall even an inch.

2. Once you have established a nice connection with no weight, the next trick is to maintain that feeling as you do your dance steps around the ballroom. Balance is obviously a major key to making this happen. If you are relying on your partner to support you every time you take a step, you are basically asking your partner to lift weights throughout the dance. To improve your balance stand up straighter, hold your head up high, and wear shorter heels (especially when you are learning your first steps).

3. Moving together at the same time is the third key to lightness. For a lady this basically comes down to following. If you are trying to zig when your partner is trying to zag, it is going to take energy to work out the difference. This is a lot like driving with the emergency brake on: you can still get around, but it takes a lot of effort. Every friction between you requires either a compromise or an effort. Compromise is part of dancing and you will both have to make many as you learn to dance. But it is always the man's job to steer, and everything you can to do make this easier is like releasing the emergency brake a little further.

4. Finally, it is really important that you relax your hands and arms while you're dancing. When you are tense and stiff you not only tire yourself out, but also pass that tension onto your partner. Depending on how you are holding him, the man will usually feel tension as direct pressure which will add significantly to the load he's bearing. Try to hold your arms up from your back. This makes your arm muscles free to relax, which will keep them nice and light.

One final thing you can do to improve your balance, posture, strength and endurance is to practice dancing by yourself. If you can make it through a full dance by yourself - on balance and with your arms in dance position - you will know that you have the tools to be a wonderful partner. Also, by practising your dance steps on your own, and working on your balance and posture independantly, you will not only improve the feel of your dancing, but also give yourself confidence that you can dance easily with any man.

Happy Dancing,


Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

How Can I be 'Lighter' for my Partner?
posted by Dancing For Dessert on 2/20/2006 04:13:00 PM

Dancing with the Stars - Week 6 Breakdown

Week 6

Welcome to Round 6 of Dancing with the Stars. Once again this week's play-by-play is brought to you by Dancing for Dessert -- it's Better than Chocolate!! Last week after our 5th round of dancing we saw the lovely Tia Carrera get eliminated. I believe that this was an appropriate result and I'm glad to see that despite the popularity contest aspect the elimination was an accurate reflection of the quality of dancing.

The Dances

This week each couple will perform a dance of their choice. Most of the chosen dances have already been explained in previous blogs. Additionally the dancers will be performing a group Viennese Waltz. This group dance will not be scored by the judges.

Viennese Waltz This is one of the more exhausting dances to perform. In it's purest format the dance is done with the dancers performing 4-7 movements. This affords the judges a chance to do a direct comparison of the dancers without being swayed by creative choreography. For Dancing with the Stars expect some artistic license for the benefit of creating a more exciting television viewing experience. A good viennese waltz should be danced quite close (no gapping) -- look for smooth right and left turns and an elegant presentation.

The Dancers

Jerry & Anna -- Paso Doble Wow -- this performance is a real breakthrough for Jerry! The passion and emotion that he was able to put forth was absolutely astonishing! Next I'd like to see Jerry get more grounded by creating more pressure through his supporting leg. Also watch that head Jerry. What an incredible performance!! I felt the judge's scores were a tad low, but in the right ballpark.

Drew & Cheryl -- Tango Another powerful performance from Boy Band. Nice staccato movements great flow through the closed body contact position. Unfortunately Drew, a promenade must be done with a heel lead! In fact, his footwork is surprisingly underdeveloped compared to the rest of his dancing. The judges have really been on him for his shoulders, but the real root of the problem has been in the carriage of his head -- unfortunately it hasn't been completely fixed. At his level I'd really like to see him track his knees for more balance during those fast movements. Not to take away from an otherwise adequate performance. Triple 10's from the judges and I can't say that it wasn't well-deserved.

George & Edyta -- Rumba I still think that this guy is the elegance in this show. The choreography is clearly designed to hide the difficulty of the rumba timing, but unfotrunately it doesn't hide all of it as George clearly stumbles with the timing. Another fine performance from George but at this round of the competition I'm afraid that George's dancing is not at the same level as the others. Look for George to be the next dancer eliminated. Judges tie him with Jerry, though I felt that Jerry earned a higher score than George.

Lisa & Louis -- Quickstep A comon flaw in the Quickstep is to shorten your steps in an attempt to keep up with the music. Unfortunately this is also Lisa's major flaw this week. The shorter steps take away much of the energy of the dance and because of this Lisa's dance really failed to deliver. It would seem though that the judges disagree with me as they were all very impressed with her performance. Triple 9's for Lisa this week.

Stacy & Tony -- Jive Another incredible performance from the lovely Stacy. I'd really like to see Stacy use even more of her knees to allow her to point her kicks down towards the floor for a more compact and explosive technique. Be careful, Stacy, not to let the relaxed nature of the swing cause your head to drop. Stacy pulls off the impossible by earning Triple 10's for the second week in a row.

Another exciting Dancing with the Stars with two of our celebrity dancers earning perfect scores. Drew & Stacy have basically stolen this competition from Week 1 -- look for these two in the Dancing with the Stars finals. Also look for George to get the boot tomorrow on the elimination show. Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think by commenting on this blog!

I've also decided to make this blog a little bit more interesting by posting Brian's Dance Tips for Dance Steps, so without further ado ...

Brian's Dance Tips for Dance Steps Brought to you by Dancing for Dessert

Whether you are leading or following, it is imperitive that you maintain a certain "elasticity" in your connection. This means that your arms should not be rigid or tense as this will only serve to make you less responsive to your partner as well as make your dancing feel stiff. Instead relax your arms and wrists while maintaining a light tone in your lats and your abs. This will give your dancing that muscular "substance" while keeping yourself light enough to be quick, responsive, light and graceful.

Until next week ladies and gentlemen!

~Brian Antonio

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 6 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 2/09/2006 11:08:00 PM

Dancing with the Stars - Week 5 Breakdown

Week 5

Conspicuous by their absence from Round 5 is Master P and Ashley. He was long overdue do leave as it was obvious from week to week that he didn't really want to be there, or that at least he was there for the wrong reasons.

The Dances

This week all the couples will be dancing the same dances. This will allow all the viewers at home to do a direct comparison of each couple. Everyone will be required to perform a solo Samba routine as well as a group Salsa Routine!

Samba This is the Brazillian Carnival dance -- a fun, fast, playful dance characterized by Voltas, Botofogos, Walks and Whisk movements. This is the second of two latin dances that travel around the line of dance. Watch for a liberal use of open or side-by-side movements as well as a lot of teasing and flirting ... and hips hips hips!

Salsa This dance is one of the more casual of the latin dances. Rooted in Cuba, this dance has a reputation for being sexy and saucy. A stationary dance, look for a lot of play on the man's part as he twirls and turns his partner every which way.

The Dancers

Stacy & Tony Stacy is hot in this dance!! Watching her here it's really hard to believe that she's never danced a Samba in her life. I would be very surprised if somebody danced better than her tonight. I would have liked to see her present a cleaner line early in the routine by closing her legs fully. Bruno said it best -- Stacy is a weapon of mass seduction -- a real lesson in sex appeal! Anna said she was better than the other professional lady dancers -- I wouldn't go so far but she definitely danced like she would fit in with a professional group. Perfect 10's for a Perfect 10 -- despite the disadvantage of dancing first!

George & Edyta Bold effort by George here. It was nice to seem him hit all the required elements such as the voltas and whisks -- a clear effort on George's part to address his footwork critique from weeks past. We even saw him make use of his hips which was great. Unfortunately there were some obvious timing and coordination issues. Another elegant performance nonetheless!!

Lisa & Louis This girl has seen some incredible improvement since the first week. She can get a cleaner samba movement by tracking her knees. Excellent use of hips and body isolations, though she sometimes focused too much on her partner at the expense of the performance. Judges are divided in their opinions here, but scored her favourably overall.

Tia & Maksim Despite a slow beginning (which I later learned was done deliberately, though I don't think anybody got it) Tia has really stepped it up a notch from previous weeks. This dance really brought out personality -- what a classy performance!! I would like to see Tia emphasize the 2 beat for a more authentic samba feel. Unfortunately, I don't think that Tia's performance is going to be enough to help her advance to the next round. Judge's scores are accurate in comparison to the other performances tonight.

Jerry & Anna What an excellent performance by Jerry tonight -- he is doing so well for a guy doing Samba for the first time. Brilliant corta jacas and whisk actions, as well as an awesome partnership. His posture has also improved significantly -- it's like night and day compared to previous performances. The one thing that I am noticing about Jerry's improvement is that he is letting his inhibitions go more and more -- inhibition holds people back far more than talent or ability. Great job Jerry! I might have scored him a little higher than the judges.

Drew & Cheryl Nice crisp sharp movements, though I'd like to see him balance that by releasing some of the energy at the end of each movement. I especially loved the progressive rock element! Unfortunately he's still holding his head forward (or shoulder's up as the judge's might say). Another great performance from Drew, though I didn't feel as much improvement from last week to this week. Judge's scores are well deserved.

Group Salsa Really hard to compare the quality of the performances here due to the unique camera angels required by this type of performance. A real crowd-pleaser though -- very exciting to watch.

I have to say that it's been very exciting watching this whole competition unfold. It's almost enough to make one consider coming out of retirement ... almost. :P

Agree or disagree? Feel free to comment on this blog! Until next week People!

~Brian Antonio

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 5 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 2/03/2006 09:58:00 PM

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