Ballroom Blitz

Barbara Hart of Towson and instructor Stephen Nadeau of Bel Air practice a step in an advanced ballroom class.

Barbara Hart of Towson and instructor Stephen Nadeau of Bel Air practice a step in an advanced ballroom class.

Start busting some beautiful moves while challenging your mind.

By Carrie McFadden

The music swelled, the big ballroom — lined on one side by a mirror — looked beautiful and my 16-year-old daughter and I were waltzing. She led; I followed.

We’d come to the Towson Dance Studio to take a lesson in ballroom and see just what it might take to learn some of the basics of social dancing. In just one class, we learned steps for the waltz, swing and foxtrot.

We took a group lesson, and, sure, at first it was a little awkward. We went to the left a time or two when we should have gone right, but we caught on pretty quickly. Really, you learn the basic pattern of a particular dance: forward, forward, side, together, and you actually do that enough to get a little cocky before adding to it with a turn or a twirl. Yes, twirl. In the first lesson.

What we discovered in a short amount of time is that ballroom dancing is physical enough to get your heart going, and it’s also a challenge for the mind as you try to learn steps and patterns — or figures, as the instructors call them. One of the hardest parts initially is committing to the idea that only one person is the leader, and the other is the follower. As a follower, it’s tempting to correct your leader by telling him (or her!) what exactly he’s doing wrong. Nothing good can come from this.

Wear whatever is comfortable and allows you to move. If you stick with ballroom dance, you will soon want to upgrade into some sort of specialty dance shoes with soles that help you glide across the floor.

Ballroom dancing allows you to enjoy music, physical movement with a partner and the satisfaction of accomplishing new or different dance steps — even if you are a beginner. It’s a great way for couples to spend the evening together, looking at each other and working as a team instead of parking themselves in front of a TV.

And if you don’t have a partner, the good folks at Towson Dance Studio will supply one. Or, why not ask your teenager?

Towson Dance Studio
9486 Deereco Road | Timonium, Md | 410-828-6116 | towsondancestudio.com