When you think about Ballroom dancing you might form an immediate picture in your mind – either the old fashioned way Grandma and Grandma met, or the world of fake tan, false eyelashes and bitchiness of Ballroom competition.
But everything you believe isn’t true…so I’m going to bust some Ballroom dancing myths.
MYTH # 1. Ballroom dancing is for old people.
Back when there was no social media, people had to meet face to face to chat and socialise. Dancing was a popular activity – and many of our grandparents fondly remember those times. But – check out any local Dancesport school and you will see scores of children and young adults embracing this remarkable activity – and experiencing real ‘face time’.
MYTH #2. Competitive dance is bitchy, elite and expensive.
It used to be – but now you can join a group class at your local school for $20 or less – and even do a private lesson for the equivalent of a music or golf lesson.
MYTH #3. All guys who Ballroom dance are gay.
The fact that male Ballroom dancers spend their nights embracing gorgeous female dance partners has seemed to escape the believers in this myth. But that’s ok – the dancing guys are happy to keep this a secret and leave the foot playing guys wrestling on the ground with their team mates! The fact is, there are as many gay ballroom dancers, as there are lesbian, transgender, white, black, blue and unicorns in dancing as in the population as a whole.
MYTH #4. Ballroom is no good for kids.
Popular culture emphasises solo dance and as a result kids often seek out this style when wanting to start dance as a hobby. But Ballroom is fabulous for kids. Just like Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop, Ballroom also provides kids with coordination and musicality – but these other genres rarely have a practical use outside the concert. Learning Ballroom has far reaching social consequences that outlive all the other dance styles and boost a child’s confidence and social well being into adulthood.
MYTH#5. You can’t make a career out of Ballroom dance.
There are many Ballroom dancers that make a great – and extremely fulfilling – careers from working in the dance industry. From working as performers or choreographers in the theatre and musicals in shows such as Burn the Floor, Strictly Ballroom and Dirty Dancing, to performing, teaching and travelling the world on cruise ships, to performing and coaching around the world as a professional Ballroom dancer, and owing and operating your own dance business. Talk about a dream job!
MYTH#6. Pursuing dance as a hobby when married (without your spouse) will split up your marriage.
Some people start Ballroom dancing – but their life partner does not share their passion, and they pursue this interest alone. This can cause some jealously and the non dancing partner can automatically assume a romantic relationship with their dance partner will result and threaten their relationship. This is just not true. Ask any dancer who is in a relationship why they choose to dance outside it and they will tell you the music, the movement and the sheer escape are the reasons they dance. And THATS IT!. Do they wish their partner would join them? Possibly. But more often than not they are equally as happy to pursue this activity on their own.
MYTH#7. It’s a great activity for romantic couples to do together.
This is a sticky one. The most honest answer is ‘it depends’. The reason I say this is because I believe dance for couples can be a joyous and romantic activity to do together – it can re-ignite the spark – it can give you couple time together – and improve your fitness and vitality to boot. It’s great for alleviating depression, preventing dementia and keeping fit. BUT! If you are married – or in a serious relationship – a word of caution. Couple dancing – no doubt just like mixed doubles in tennis – can rock the most secure of relationships to the core if either of your get serious and decide to compete. Keep it fun, and social – and enter the competition world with caution.
MYTH#8. Ballroom dance is easy.
There’s a problem when we watch great dancing, or an accomplished saxophonist or a seasoned actor. THEY MAKE IT LOOK EFFORTLESS. It’s true that if you can walk – you can dance – however beware expecting to look like a pro in 10 weeks – they’ve been at it for 10 years!
MYTH #9. The music is old fashioned and boring.
Some is. But most studios now mix it up traditional mixed with the latest music to keep it fresh and alive. Traditional music supports the all important history and story behind each dance – however the electricity of dancing with a partner is never old fashioned or boring, and soon that old crooner tune becomes a favourite!
MYTH #10. It’s not a sport.
A study was conducted at Brighton University in 2015 that discovered that Ballroom dancing burned more calories for the same amount of time than running or swimming! The great thing is when you dance, unlike other sports – your spirit flies, your inhibitions are set free, and you feel invigorated and inspired as well. There is no doubt that competitive Ballroom dancers are incredible athletes, and are serious about their physical training. The fact that smiles, costuming and playing to an audience are all part of the performance can sometimes cloud the incredible physical condition of these athletes.
MYTH #11. Competitive Ballroom dancers are snobs.
False eyelashes, hair plastered in place with a can of hairspray and a serious “f*&#” off expression can make Ballroom dancers look unapproachable and unfriendly. But inside the exterior is a sports person who is competitive, driven and a perfectionist. Just like any sports professional – they are focussed and trying to remember their routine, the technique tip they were given in the last lesson and dealing with competition day nerves. Check them out after the competition is over and (providing they danced well) they’ll be much more relaxed.!
Monica Fincham is a former champion Ballroom dancer who has owned and operated her own dance school, Dancesport Kingdom, in Lilydale, Melbourne Australia since 2007. During that time she has taught 1000’s of adults and children to become confident Ballroom dancers. “I experience such joy when students discover a passion for Ballroom, and when a student thanks our team for giving them something to look forward and work towards each week, glowing with that sense of achievement that comes with mastering a new figure or dance.”