Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why Take Zumba at Dance FX Studios

Though we do specialize in partner dances such as swing, country and salsa, we also have a great selection of other dances. At Dance FX Studios, we love being able to teach a wide variety of social dance styles to the people of Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler and the surrounding areas, as well as visitors from other states. Most of our social dances are easily tied in with another dance--Zumba. Our zumba fitness classes are designed to incorporate other dance styles too; from swing and salsa to even country and hip-hop! Our zumba classes are unique to any other classes in the valley for many reasons, but these three are our favorites.

1: Sprung Floors. You may have never heard of sprung flooring, but your knees and back will thank you if you work out on one. Our floors are maple wood, with specially designed springs underneath the floorboards, which are great for dancers and aerobic workouts like Zumba. They are made to absorb shock, cause less injury in case of falls, and enhance performance, making the dance look effortless and easy. It also counters the amount of strain on your knees and ball joints. We are one of the few studios in the valley that have sprung flooring, and we know they make all the difference for our students.

2: Our Studio. The best thing about Zumba at Dance FX Studios is, without a doubt, the studio! You can work out in an air conditioned facility, where we try our best to always keep it at a comfortable temperature for our dancers. We are also one of the few studios that does not require a membership for you to join. Our classes are usually sold in packages and can be used for up to one year after purchase, giving you the freedom to choose the days you want to come in without stress.

3:  The people. Our instructors are some of the best Zumba instructors in the vally, who are happy to share their love of Zumba with anyone. We have the only two certified Zumba Jammers in the whole valley. Two of our instructors are certified Zumba teachers who have been doing this for years! Frankie Valenzuela and Suzanne Stemmerman teach here frequently and are always happy to teach new students the ways of Zumba. Along with the instructors are the people in the class. Since we cap the class size at a comfortable and still roomy 35 people, no one’s ever grouchily scrambling for space or running into each other.

At Dance FX Studios, we pride ourselves on having the very best of everything for our students. We know that you need and deserve to have a great time during your Zumba class, and we feel we do that! Come try out Zumba Fitness at Dance FX Studios for yourself. We are currently running a newcomer’s special--5 classes for only $25, with specials for current students every so often.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Popular Line Dances

Going out dancing in Phoenix is always a lot of fun. Combining footwork and steps to create patterns enough to last an entire dance. Your night is going great... and then a song starts. A rush of people start to gather on the dance floor and line up, but you’re confused. What’s going on? Is this a type of dance you haven’t learned yet? What’s going on is a line dance, a choreographed dance set to a specific song. You may have heard of a style of dance that was popular in the 90’s, known as “The Macarena”, or more recently “The Cupid Shuffle” in ‘07.  Today, we’re going to take a moment to go over some of the more popular line dances. 

A dance that was once called “The Duck Dance” is now a staple for most wedding receptions and many parties. Today, we know it as “The Chicken Dance”. What started as an oom-pah song in Germany evolved into a dance in the 1980’s in the United States. “The Chicken Dance” is great for getting even the most stubborn wallflower out on the floor--since it makes everyone look equally silly!

Country Western music has some extremely fun dances, and great line dances. “Copperhead Road” is played at clubs, bars and parties across the country. A very high energy line dance, “Copperhead Road” is a great dance to get you moving. This line dance focuses mainly on legs and feet, and involves over three minutes of hopping, stomping and kicking. The moves are extremely easy to pick up, but the dance can get very tiring, very quickly.

Perhaps one of the best line dances in accordance with the Halloween season is “Thriller”, created for Michael Jackson’s pop song of the same name. This line dance has been performed across the world by many different people. Because it’s long and a bit more complicated than the standard line dances, it’s not done out in clubs and bars very often. Rather, it’s done as a rehearsed dance. The slow steps are pretty easy to learn, though, and once you get them down you’ll rule any party floor. 

The best way to experience these line dances is to go out and practice them. Many bars and clubs will take a break from playing other music to play a line dance or two, in order to get everyone involved. Parties are also a great place to learn how to do these line dances. At Dance FX Studios, we have parties on the 3rd Saturday of every month. At these parties, we invite the public to dance to different styles of music, as well as learn a new dance in a small group dance class and have fun with a few line dances as well. 

Our next party is Saturday, October 27th at 8-11 pm. The theme: Halloween Costume Party! We are conveniently located in Mesa, on the border of Tempe and Chandler. Come dressed up, bring your friends and your favorite line dances and join the fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fun Facts about Foxtrot, Waltz, and Cha-Cha

What can we say? Here at Dance FX Studios, we’re obsessed with dancing and dances from all over the world. From Salsa to Foxtrot, Waltz to Hip-Hop, we love dances, and we would like to share that love of dance with you, our audience. We have even found some funny, obscure and interesting facts about most of the dances. The dances are more than just steps; they’re stories, and ways of communicating to the world a sense of creativity that doesn’t need words. Today, we’ll be focusing on the Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, and the Waltz.

First on the docket is the Cha-cha. Originating in Cuba and coming to the US in the 1950’s, the cha-cha stemmed from it’s parent dance the Mambo. Where the Mambo would have a one-beat dance step, however, the cha-cha had three, which is why many people refer to it as the “cha-cha-cha”. In fact, before it was called “cha-cha”, it was called the “triple mambo”. The name is said to have come from the sound dancer’s shoes made as they tapped on the floor. Other sources state that the name came from the word “Guaracha”, another Cuban dance. Where ever the origin, the cha-cha is one of the most energetic dances you can learn.

The Foxtrot (or Fox trot, both are correct)  is a very elegant dance, even though it’s a bit older. But did you know  that the foxtrot was named after a comedian, who wasn’t a dancer at first? Harry Fox was known for his trotting antics across stage, from which foxtrot gets its unique name. After a while, foxtrot was altered to a less strenuous version to be easier on ballroom dancers. Originating in the early 1900’s, the foxtrot is a very well-known ballroom dance that has evolved into a staple for those wanting to learn something a bit more classical.

Finally, the waltz, which is these days known as being very proper and old fashioned, the first real ballroom dance. When it first originated in the 17th century, it was actually considered indecent, because partners had to be held close together. It was that taboo which increased the popularity of the dance. The origin of the name of the dance is said to come from a couple different places: the German word “Waltzen”, and the Italian word “Volver”, both meaning “To turn” or “to rotate”. The elegant, gliding motion of the dance makes it easily recognizable and a favorite to most competitive dancers.

All three of these dances are excellent for any beginner to start with. At Dance FX Studios, we teach foxtrot, waltz, and cha-cha for every level, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Why not stop by and check us out? We’ll help you become a confident and comfortable social dancer in no time!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fun Facts about Argentine Tango

Last month we did an article with fun facts about Salsa, and its popularity across the US. There is another dance, however, that’s growing exponentially not only in the states, but around the world! Argentine Tango is an elegant, passionate and sexy dance that takes skill, strength, and a great connection with your partner. It’s creative and there are so many different ways and types of music it can be used with. This dance also happens to be the specialty here at Dance FX Studios. What we are starting to find out is how little people know about this amazing dance. So today, we are going to look at three fun facts about Argentine Tango.

1.    Argentine Tango and American Tango are different! Most people are familiar with the version of tango that takes big, crawling steps, and that’s usually done with a cape on and a flower in the someones mouth. This is a ballroom style of tango known as American Tango. Stemming from Argentine Tango, American Tango is bigger, and is more often found in competitions than on social dance floors. It looks great, and can be flashy and fun, but don’t get the two confused. Argentine Tango is more flow-y, involves more leg work, and takes closer and smaller steps than American Tango.

2.    If you’re a creative type, then you’ll love Argentine Tango. The majority of the steps are not set steps like you might find in a Salsa or Bachata. Instead, they are largely improvised, so you have to know the moves and how to string them together. Basic figures are used in conjuncture with each other to create incredible movements. The dancer does need to know the lead and implementation of these basic elements, so he can easily navigate the dance floor and dance in time with the music.

3.    Once you’ve mastered the dance and can dance with anyone, what do you do? Milonga! A milonga can mean one of two things. It is a type of tango that uses different beats and is often done without pauses. But in this case, we mean going to a milonga; a type of club or venue that specifically hosts Argentine Tango dances. There are many places in Arizona, especially in Phoenix, that host Milongas for anyone interested in Argentine Tango, from beginners to experts. If you need to practice, a milonga is the place.

Though it’s not an uncommon dance, Argentine Tango is still gaining in popularity. WE feel this dance is probably one of the best for couples to share together. It’s an intimate and close dance that allows for creativity, closeness, and a lot of communication. If you need a place to learn it, why not Dance FX Studios? We can give you the steps to becoming a great social and Argentine Tango dancer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dance Etiquette

So you’ve finally made it to the dance floor, feeling comfortable and confident, and knowledgeable about the dance styles that you’ve spent hours learning. Now what? Even in the dancing world, there is a form of etiquette all good dancers should abide by, though not many people know them. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back. There are some simple guidelines everyone should remember when going out to dance.

When asking for a dance, gentlemen, stick to something traditional. “May I have this dance?” “Care to dance?” “Would you like to dance?” are all good ways to get a lady on the floor. Avoid repeatedly asking the same partner to dance with you, unless she requests it. Dance with different people to improve the social dynamics of a dance and become a better leader. Ladies, don’t be afraid to go out there and ask a guy, or several, to dance with you as well.

Declining a dance should only be done if you don’t know the dance, you need to take a rest, or you promised the dance to someone else. This goes for ladies and gentlemen. If you decline a dance, this means sitting out the whole song. And don’t get discouraged if you’re declined a dance. Everyone needs a break once in a while.

Gentlemen, escort your ladies out on the dance floor to an area where she won’t have to worry about backing into somebody. Ladies, let yourself be lead out to a spot your partner feels comfortable and confident. Along with this rule comes sharing the dance floor. Guys, take care that your partner doesn’t bump into anybody, and ladies, take small steps and minimize style.

An important part of dance is your demeanor. Both ladies and gentlemen should smile and make eye contact with your partner every so often throughout the dance. Be warm and positive, even if you’re in a bad mood, or you don’t personally want to. Your partner is out to have a good time, and you should be too. Smile and be friendly. Your eyes should remain focused on your partner.

If your partner is on a different level than you are (Or learned to dance somewhere else), don’t worry. Dance on their level and be patient. Guys, start with simple figures and work your way up. Girls, remember that the learning process can be challenging, and don’t back lead. Remember the learning process can be challenging.

Avoid teaching on the dance floor during a social dance. Do what the both of you can do, and have fun with it. Unsolicited teaching can make your partner feel uncomfortable, and takes the fun out of dancing. At the end of a dance, gentlemen, take your partner back to where you asked her to dance. Don’t just leave her on the dance floor. Both of you should thank each other for the dance.

Follow these simple guidelines on the dance floor, and it’ll improve everyone’s experience for the night. The biggest thing is to have fun while dancing. If you feel good, you’ll look good. For even more confidence, check out Dance FX Studios to learn to dance something different, or polish up your technique.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Benefits of Singles Classes

One question we get a lot here at Dance FX Studios is “Do I need a partner to take lessons here?” The answer to this would be: No. A partner is nice to have, but not necessary. We also have classes designed for singles to learn to dance and meet new people. There are several great reasons to take single’s classes, and why they might be great for you.

1.  You learn to be a better leader or follower through rotation during the singles’ classes. Dancing with one person all the time is a great way to learn how to lead or follow, but switching off is very beneficial in its own way.  As you switch partners, you learn different ways to lead, get accustomed to different bodies, and you don’t get comfortable doing the same thing with the same person. You get to branch out and try new things, which is important while learning how to dance.

2.  Meeting new people is one of the great benefits of singles classes as well. Getting to know people who share an interest in dance and being able to take classes and interact with them creates great connections between students. You gain not only great dancing skills, but potential dance partners for other group classes, as well as a group of friends to go out dancing with.

3.  Singles classes are an inexpensive way to learn to dance.  You get some of the same moves that you would in private lessons, as well as learning how to apply them to any real life situation. The difference is singles group classes, held once a week for a month, are less of a financial commitment, not focusing as much on technique or more complicated moves.

Singles classes are great supplements to private classes, and can even be used as a starting point. They can be used to meet fantastic people who enjoy dancing just as much as you do. You can also learn how to become a better leader or follower by dancing with the different people in the singles class. Our singles classes are created to get more people to dance, to meet other dancers, and develop healthy dance habits on the dance floor. At Dance FX Studios, we teach group classes to both singles and couples across several styles, including Salsa and Country 2 Step.  Come see for yourself who you can meet and what you can learn.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fun Facts About Ballroom Dancing from Phoenix, AZ

"Ballroom" dancing is an umbrella term, most often referring to partner dancing in general. Often thought of as elegant and sophisticated, ballroom dancing can include the sexy salsa, the steamy Argentine tango and the playful swing dance as well. Are any of these traditional "ballroom" dances? Absolutely not! But they are very popular social partner dances that are distinguishable from other styles of dancing like Line dancing or Ballet, etc..

In this blog, we will share a fun fact about a dancer, a fun and easy Latin dance and the sassy authentic Argentine Tango. Did you know that...

When Argentine tango was popular in the brothels of Buenos Aires, Argentina, men danced primarily with other men and not women. Any ideas as to why? From what we have learned through champion dancers who live in Argentina, these men danced together not out of homosexual tendencies, but because the ratio of men to women was 5 to 1. In order for a man, then, to win over the affection of a woman, he would attempt to impress her with his tango skills. If she in fact liked what he had to offer on the dance floor, that would lead to more in the underground world of brothels.

When Fred Astaire had his first screen test, a Hollywood executive commented this on paper that he (Astaire) "Can't act, can't sing, slightly bald. Can dance a little." I love this quote! This is a true testament to the fact that dancing really is subjective. (How wrong this person was!)

The Merengue, a fun and easy Latin dance, has a very interesting history indeed! Two suspect theories help to explain the creation of the Merengue. First, it is said that the Merengue was born from a group of slaves that were chained together. Out of necessity, the slaves were forced to drag a leg to the beat of drums as they cut sugar.

Another interesting story alleges that the Merengue  started when a hero was wounded in the leg during one of his great and many battles in the Dominican Republic. When he came back from one of the revolutions, he was welcomed by villagers who limped and dragged one foot in sympathy of his wounds.

Both stories provide a colorful origin to the Merengue. We may never know which, if either, is accurate.

There are many fun and interesting facts to explore in regards to ballroom dancing. For ballroom dancing lessons or to learn more about all of the popular social ballroom dances, visit Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona. We offer social dancing for the everyday person to enjoy!