How many dances should you learn at the same time?
When you start out you may only want to focus on just 1 dance, in fact many people want to do just that. But is that a good idea? Well there are pros and cons. Watch our podcast to see what we think.
Hello. My name is Leon and I’m from Passion4Dancing.com and today we have another video podcast for you. We want to talk today about, “Should you be learning one dance at a time or should you be learning multiple dances at the same time?”
There are pros and cons to both. But I would recommend if you’re looking to learn for social dancing so that you can use what you’re learning in weddings, dance studio parties, clubs, those types of situations, you need to know more than one dance and I definitely recommend learning a few different dances. Yes, usually I recommend three to four dances for people to start with in the beginning. Yes?
I do have some students that come in and say, “I only want to learn one dance. I don’t want to get confused by anything else. I just want to focus on one dance and get it good and then I will move on to another dance after that.”
The good thing about it is you will be able to just focus on one dance and be able to learn lots of moves for that just one dance and not get confused by any other styles of dancing. However, there are also a lot of cons to that, one of which is you will be able to dance basically to only one type of music.
For example if you’re learning salsa and that’s the only dance you want to learn, you will be able to dance to salsa music only. What if a foxtrot comes on or what if you’re at a wedding and you have a Michael Buble song for example? Yeah? You would need to know a rumba or a foxtrot or a swing for that. Yes?
So that’s the problem with learning one dance is that you’re basically limited to dancing to one type of music. Yes? Now the other negative about learning only one dance at a time is that you’re basically stuck in only one style and you don’t have enough variety to kind of take your dancing to the next level because when you have other dances that you are learning, they all relate to each other and help each other out.
So maybe you will learn something in one dance and it’s not working so well. But because you learn something else in another dance, it could help it. Yes? So there are a lot of cross-references between the dances. They all help each other and that’s why I recommend that you are learning a few dances at the same time. Yes?
We have a lot of the same steps, a lot of crossovers. For example, in rumba and cha-cha, you have the crossover breaks, the back breaks. You have underarm turns and all of them. Yes? So they definitely help each other. It’s not like they’re completely different and they take away from each other. No, they actually all work together quite nicely and again if you’re looking for social dancing to be able to go anywhere and apply what you’re learning in your dancing, then the more dances you know, the better it’s going to be for sure.[End of transcript]
How to dance with a beginner
Types of Ballroom dancing – Article
Learning individual moves VS. routines
Do you need a partner to learn Ballroom dancing
How to become confident in your dancing
Bernard McDonald says
I agree that to learn a few popular dances is the way to go for most people, in fact it might be very helpful if instructors taught the recurring steps and to what dances they were appropriate.
Just a thought.
Leon Turetsky says
Yes that’s good a thought. Since many of dances have the same steps, they just need to understand how to do them in different dances with slightly different technique and timing. For example, you have the crossover breaks in both Rumba and Cha Cha dances. It’s basically the same step, so they will have easier time to do that one right away if they learned it in another dance.
My husband and I often wondered about this topic. We agreed only one dance but you have changed our mind. Thank you for all the great advice you give.
One request : I know I do not know how to hear the beat rhythm as
I need to. Can you please make a video on this skill? Thank you ver much
Elaine Whitlock says
I think I’ve learnt a dance , then I go somewhere where they’re doing social dancing & everyone seems to be doing different things I can’t even recognise whether it’s the waltz, foxtrot or quick step etc , why is that ? It seems to happen a lot on cruises, my husband who doesn’t dance asks me what they’re dancing & I really have no idea …. help . Thank you .
Leon Turetsky says
I just realized that this is a great question and I will make a proper podcast episode on this topic!
Elaine, Identifying which dance it is takes time. And some dances fit multiple dances. For example a lot of Foxtrot, Rumbas and Swing are interchangeable. However Cha Cha, Tango, Salsa are a lot more distinct and have specific characteristic that makes them unique.
For example a song like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPUJIbXN0WY
“Everything” by Michael bubble can be Rumba, foxtrot or fast swing. So just choose one!
You can also try to asses the character of the dance. For example, Foxtrot is normally older type songs by Frank sinatra…so anything like that will be a foxtrot.. Versus Swing is more fast and energetic type of music.
I’ll make a video about this with more ideas.
I’m learning cha cha cha at the moment and teacher called this movement (square turn )in cha cha but can’t see this movement in your onscreen videos. Can you help.
Leon Turetsky says
Square turn in cha cha? Mhhh…. I’m not sure what figure he is referring to. The only thing is that moves have diff types of names.
M. Leo says
What seems to work for me is to spend about half my time and effort on one particular dance, and the other half divided up among other dances. When I feel I “get” what that one dance is about, then I choose a different dance as my primary one.
And, by the way, a good common figure among social dances is the basic promenade.
In the tango, it’s two promenade walks, but with a tango (3-step) close. In the foxtrot,
it’s the same two promenade walks, but with a foxtrot (2-step) close. Very similar.
In the waltz, though, there are complications.
Leon Turetsky says
Great thanks. Yes I agree you need to know which ones are the main dance/s you are focusing on, and which are the secondary ones.
*I would MUCH rather dance with 5 awesome dancers that only do 1 dance, than 5 crummy dancers that mastered nothing* Still, there is no answer to this question of how many dances because many leaders and followers are not striving for a high level, so they they don’t want it in a partner either. Some dancers excell at multiple dances, they keep adding and it’s the right decision. Some dancers are terrible at 5, and stay terrible with all the dances until they die, they love being terrible at 5 instead of expert at 1 dance. Some dancers know they’re physical limitations, stick to 1, and master it. Others have no physical limitations, but stick to 1 anyways because they have financial or scheduling constraints. ALL of those answers are correct. For me personally, it’s annoying when I know somebody could be really good at a dance but squander their future because their friends talked them into multiple dances for their own benefit.
I agree. ONE dance at a time until you are able to dance that one with competence. Then, move to the next. It really doesn’t take that much time…