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A popular social dancer at ATOMIC BALLROOM in Irvine, CA

Getting on the Social Floor

I’m always learning to dance.  I figure I’ll never really master dancing to the level I’d like, but that’s okay because I’m a “social dancer.”  What I’ve always wanted to do is get to the point where I feel comfortable dancing with partners of all different levels on the social floor; I don’t want to compete.

When I started partner dancing, I learned East Coast Swing, then Argentine tango, and more recently, West Coast Swing.  I had similar experiences in all of them when it came time to get on the social floor:  I was afraid no one would ask me to dance, and I was terrified that someone would.  I wanted to practice what I’d learned, but I feared that my partner would never ask me to dance again if he deemed me a lousy dancer.  I felt anxious.

Little by little I found some things that worked for me.  With East Coast Swing, I took  a lot of group classes.  I met people in the classes and I would dance with them during the social dance.  I took a few private lessons, but mainly group classes.  After I’d been dancing about two years, I met a fellow dancer one evening who claimed to be a beginner.  When she got up to dance, I saw that she was dancing as well as I was!  Her secret?  She was taking private lessons.  Somehow she seemed to have skipped all those early awkward moments of social dancing.  It made me realize that if I wanted to progress quickly, private lessons were the way to go.

When I started learning Argentine tango and West Coast Swing, I went to group classes and took private lessons, too.  My private lessons were where I was able to concentrate on what I, personally, needed to learn and practice, while in the group classes I met people to dance with later as well as to sit next to on the side of the dance floor–both men and women who became my dance friends.

 I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who was both afraid of not being asked to dance and being afraid that I would be asked.  I also started asking others to dance and not waiting around to be asked.  No one has ever said no. I still have some uncomfortable moments, but by and large, they are few and far between.  Yes, private lessons can be expensive, but they helped me be more confident much quicker and were totally worth it. And besides, getting to know my instructors was fun!

-Susan Wexler

Bay Area Dance Week

Posted By: Nneka Opene | General | May 01, 2018
Now in its 20th year, Bay Area Dance Week (BADW) has collaborated with a bevy of sponsors and organizations of all types that bring the community together in celebration of its vibrant culture and rich dance-arts scene.

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The Pulse of Polynesia

Posted By: Nneka Opene | Dancing Around the World | Apr 24, 2018
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Hula, a dance steeped in rich history and cultural tradition, that to many encapsulates an entire chain of South Pacific islands. 
Hula dance has become one of the most iconic, recognizable symbols of Polynesian culture.

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Words of Movement and Inspiration

Posted By: Nneka Opene | General | Apr 17, 2018

Have you ever wondered what inspires great artists to create a masterpiece?
What is it that drives a musician to compose a hit song? A writer to draft a best-selling novel; A filmmaker to produce a blockbuster movie; or a dancer to choreograph an award winning routine? Although there can be many factors that culminate into creating a wonderful work of art, there are a few elements that are key across the board. Some of these themes are shown below in quotes from a variety of public figures from all walks of life. Which of these words of inspiration motivate you you to move and create? 

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Re-defining Gender Roles With Baladi Dance

Posted By: Nneka Opene | General | Apr 10, 2018
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What the West thinks of as belly dancing is actually known as ‘baladi’ dance (meaning folk dance) in North Africa and the Middle East. 

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Become an Emote With Your Best Dance Moves

Posted By: Nneka Opene | Competitions | Apr 03, 2018
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Whether you’re a gamer, dancer or a perhaps some combination of both, the recent announcement by Epic Games will have you dancing for joy. Epic games is holding a Boogie down contest for Fortnite: Battle Royale, a popular video game. The last person standing will get their dance featured in Battle Royale as an emote.

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