Dance Rocket City – Home for Ballroom Dancing in Huntsville, AL

Ballroom Dancing Lessons in North Alabama!

Welcome to the online home of Dance Rocket City, the home for Ballroom Dancing in Huntsville, AL!

Calendar beyond current month is subject to change. It has been provided for preliminary planning purposes.

We are located at 2614 Artie St, Huntsville, AL 35805 (You can click on the address to get a Google Map).

We offer group classes for newcomers and more advanced dancers Monday through Friday at 7pm.

Want to take you dancing to the next level? Take private lessons with the best instructors in town!

Give us a call at 256-469-8299, send us an email to dance.rocket.city@gmail.com, or you can Contact Us through our website!

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Practice: Procedure and Purpose

“Remember to practice”

It is one thing to say a student needs to practice, but for many students it may simply be a blanket statement said at the end of a lesson. Some students don’t have the time; others don’t know what to practice or even how to practice. Some students do practice, but practice without a plan can result in bad habits and an unproductive practice overall. Practice also allows a student to return to their instructor with solid questions. Exploring the possibilities of how the knowledge they have gained during a lesson develops their dancing, allows students to keep an inquisitive mind, and helps them to walk into lessons with a clear goal.

Make a Plan: Use your notes, create drills

To practice properly it requires good sense of the knowledge that is gained during a lesson, and importantly, keeping that information as uncorrupted as possible. Therefore when practicing, it is best to clarify unclear points by referencing notes and video, if possible. It is always good to have a plan when practicing and the main points of the lesson should be focused on. Smaller details tend to get mistaken in memory and are rarely referenced properly in notes. It is best to walk through the main points of the previous lesson and find problem areas. If a problem area can be fixed by physically practicing the movement, then it is a good thing to practice the movement repetitively or make a “drill”. A drill is just a simple movement that simulates the problem combination to allow a dancer to repeat and refine the movement. Once the drill has been practiced, it is important to redo the combination slowly and work in the improvement until the steps can be danced at full speed. This is, in large part, a way to improve dancing and show the instructor that the student is ready for more.

“I don’t have time.”

Time for practice is difficult to find; however, so many students rely on group classes and parties to supplement their lessons. This is a very good way to practice, as long as the student finds a place for the drills that they develop in their lessons and personal practice. That way a student can cleanly improve all their dancing.

For example, if a student is having trouble with balance on their rock steps, they should focus on keeping their balance on all of the rock steps they take throughout the night. Personal practice time can be found quite easily. With a solid plan about the main points and the drills to practice, a student can improve their dancing with an hour of practice. So if a student really wants to improve their dancing they should try to schedule their lessons at a time where they can take some time afterward to form a practice plan, while the lesson is still fresh on their mind. Then when they attend a group class or a social dance throughout the week, they should try to time before and after to practice their plan, while their mind is focused on dance. If additional time can be found that is always a plus. But even a single hour of organized practice can benefit a student!

By Andrew Davis

Gifts for Dancers

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are an exciting, yet stressful, time with all the hustle and trotting around, making last-minute plans and balancing them with the long-standing traditions. There is also so much joy, sense of kindred spirits and family. It is a wonderful time at Dance Rocket City, because everyone comes together even more than normal, and we all have a wonderful holiday season.

Gifts for Dancers

During all the festivities, you (and we) may want to get our friends from the dance family a gift to encourage or benefit their dancing, so we put together a recommended list of gifts for dancers!
1. A dance bag (a small tote or backpack)
2. A water bottle (such as a Contigo)
3. Bluetooth headphone or headset
4. Yoga bands or Resistance bands
5. CD, digital album, or even an iTunes or Google Play gift card
6. Massage voucher or gift card
7. Tickets to a dance show
8. Pedicure voucher
9. Hair accessories (hair spray, gel, bobby pins, bun builder, etc.)
10. Costume Jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hairpieces)

Check out our Pinterest page for inspiration!
Check out our Pinterest page for inspiration!

11. Dance Movies, Books, and Posters
12. Cosmetics
13. Socks for men
14. Dance shoes or apparel
15. Private lessons/Studio gift cards

All of these things would make excellent gift individually or in combinations, and all of these items would be great for an avid or causual dancer.

Happy Holidays!!!

by Andrew Davis

Making the Most of a Private Lesson

How to Get the Most Value

The biggest struggle of private lessons is remembering the valuable information we receive. How often do instructors repeat themselves and how often do students feel frustrated when they hear their instructor give the same advice? Dance is a struggle of remembering and applying information. So just like any form of learning we must study. We can study in two main ways, for our mental analysis or for the physical application of that information.

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Make Individual Lesson Goals

The first step is when going into a lesson discussing the goals that can be accomplished in a dance with the instructor. When the goals of a lesson are clear between a student and instructor, it gives the lesson direction and allows the progress to be more easily streamlined. This is a factor that is unique to private lessons, so take advantage of it! If there isn’t a clear goal or information is lacking to determine a clear goal, the instructor should be asked for advice. The instructor has gone through this in their own training and will be familiar with the basic milestones needed for the advancement of a student.

As a student, one should focus on the major points of the lesson to determine the important aspects to focus on. After the lesson, the student should take notes and have the instructor note any important concept in terms that are mutually understood between the student and instructor. If there are concepts that can be visibly demonstrated, the student can request a video recording, and if the instructor is willing, a video can be made to help the student.

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What is the Student’s Responsibility?

All of this however is dependent on practice. When the notes and video are reviewed as the student practices, it allows the student to adjust the dancing to respond to the corrections given in a lesson. No correction, however, will remain in the body fixed after one lesson. Because dance is performed with the body, corrections must be repeated to insert them into the body’s muscle memory. Without this step of the process, the corrections will not demonstrated and will not affect the dancing of the student. Being conscious of corrections, remembering them, and then applying the corrections allows the student to make true progress in their dancing.

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Work hard, or Anton might kick you! (Just kidding!)

 

By Andrew Davis

What does it mean to be a “strong” lead?

Check out this great article about what it means to be a strong lead.

Before you click the link, what does it mean to you?

Okay, now click.

http://grapevine.dzouk.com/the-truth-about-strong-leads/

Join us for group classes throughout the week and our social dance on Friday nights! More info here.

The Benefits of a Private Lesson

Instruction through private lessons, in addition to group classes, has many benefits.

Private lessons provide:

  • Individualized focus on patterns and technique
  • Personally experiencing technique, rather than watching and listening
  • The opportunity to learn more advanced patterns
  • Preparation for showcases and competition
  • Choreography to highlight your strengths
  • Scheduling to meet your needs
  • Opportunity for questions that you may not want to share in a class setting

Group classes focus on introducing the patterns and the essential technique for the pattern. Individual instruction is one of the only ways to truly build your understanding of the techniques and characters of the many ballroom dances.

How to Get Started

Dance Rocket City offers private lessons throughout the week for $75 per lesson with one of our certified professional ballroom dance instructors, but for first time guests, we offer an Introductory Special with your first private lesson and two group activities for only $40. Contact us to schedule your private lesson today!

 

Wedding Dance Songs (The Good, The Bad & The Overused)

Welcome to the Wedding Song Guide!

Congrats! You need a wedding song for your first dance (and your father/daughter dance and your mother/son dance…..). Let us give you some tips on finding a great song – as well as some recommendations for great songs!

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Finding a song

When listening to song options, there are several things to consider. The most important is the lyrics, of course, because you want them to reflect what you are wanting to say to your new spouse. So listen to the lyrics!

Then, you have the tempo and style of the music, because those determine the type of dance you can do to the song. Having an idea of what tempo and style you want will help you have a dance that reflects your personality. Depending on the feeling of the song, generally, fast tempos can be swing or viennese waltz or others ; slower tempos could be foxtrot, rumba, or bolero or others. (Don’t worry; we offer consultations and guidance on song selection and deciding the dance to fit the song!)

The Songs of the Year (i.e. the overused first dance songs of 2015)

The most requested song of the year is Ed Sheeran’s lovely “Thinking Out Loud.” Although we love this song, everyone everyone – is doing it right now.

Some other overdone songs are “At Last” by Etta James and “All of Me” by John Legend.

Classic First Dance Songs

Some of these you’ve heard before as first dance songs, but sometimes, it’s too perfect to pass up!

“Faithfully.” by Journey

“I Will.” by The Beatles

“The Best is Yet to Come.” by Frank Sinatra

Modern First Dance Songs

“18th Floor Balcony.” by Blue October

“As Fast As I Could.” by Josh Turner

“Your Song.” by Ellie Goulding (or Ewan McGregor)

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How about no? We do not recommend these as the first dance song.

“Let’s Get it On.” by Marvin Gaye

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” by R.E.M.

“D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” by Tammy Wynette

Anything with lyrics like “Yeah!” by Usher or “Ride.” by SOMO. Just don’t put people through that.

Anything by Chris Brown.

Fun Father/Daughter Songs

“A Dad’s Song to His Daughter.” by Ray Miner

“A Song For My Daughter.” by Ray Allaire

“My Little Girl.” by Tim McGraw

Sweet Mother/Son Songs

“A Mother’s Prayer” by Celine Dion

“I’ll Always Be Your Mother.” by Lynn Leonti and Jim McShane

“Memories” by Elvis Presley

Other Wedding Song Lists

Wedding Wire

The Knot

The Offbeat Bride

Gorgeous images by the marvelous  Green Tree Photography.

Behind the Scenes – Ballroom Style

We always say we have a lot of fun, but this is proof. Check it out!

 

Check out all our YouTube videos on our channel.

Join in the fun at our group classes and social dances. More information is available on our calendar.

May I have this dance, please?

Ballroom dance

Pierre Dulaine shares his thoughts on the importance and benefits of physical contact through ballroom dance.

“With all due respect, I ask you to get up out of your computer chair and learn to ballroom dance…. It will change your life, one step at a time.”

Social Dance Etiquette

Why do we do partnered dancing?

To dance with another person. To socialize or make a connection with someone. To have fun.

What does it mean to be a considerate dance partner? It means to be courteous when requesting a dance, aware of your partner’s abilities and dancing while dancing with them, and then thanking them for a fun dance!

Be a courteous partner

Being a courteous partner also means being a positive partner. Refrain from  giving instruction/correction to another student. Even instructors, at a social, are there to dance with students/social dancers and to make sure they have fun. As a considerate social dancer, you will encourage your partner, thank your partner for the dance, and you will not offer your opinion of how they can improve, especially if it is not requested.

We all have to decline a dance from time to time, but typically it is best to only do so when you do not know the dance, you need to take a rest, or you have already promised the dance to someone else. One way to be courteous when you need to decline a dance is to offer another dance instead (plus you have the added bonus of having a partner for the next/future dance).  Remember, it is rude and inconsiderate to dance a song with anyone after you have declined to dance it with someone else.

Considerate Frame and Space

Gentlemen, let the woman set the distance in the frame (amount of space between the partners). Also, keeping your hand high on her back, on her left shoulder-blade, will create the optimal connection and lead.

Dancing involves being in each other’s space, so both gentlemen and ladies should be considerate of their partner’s noses.  Shower. Use a deodorant. Don’t wear a strong cologne or perfume as many people have allergies to strong scents. Avoid foods that have strong odors, such as garlic or onions. Brush your teeth, use mouthwash or a breath mint. These small things can make a big difference when you are dancing with someone.

Floor Etiquette

Treat the social floor like traffic on a highway. Faster or farther traveling couples need to stay on the outside of the dance floor. Slower or in-place dances need to stay near or in the middle. Do not stop on the floor, if you are in the “fast lane.”

Quick-moving and traveling dances (such as Quickstep and Viennese Waltz) can be very dangerous for both beginner and advanced dancers to have an inexperienced couple on the floor. Like slamming on the brakes in highway traffic, it is asking for an accident. These are excellent dances to work on in private lessons and group classes, where there is less risk for impact or accident, and plenty of room for learning both leading and following properly.

Be conscious of your environment

Be aware of other dancers on the floor, including how many people are on the floor, as well as the amount of space you have for a pattern.

Take care when leading new patterns that you have plenty of room to recover if the pattern does not follow the intended direction.

Refrain from tricks, lifts or aerials on the social floor.

Creating an Open Atmosphere

Ask everyone to dance. Not just your friends, not just instructors, not just advanced dancers.You may just find your next favorite <insert dance here> partner. If you are there with a date, and you just want to dance with the date, that’s perfectly acceptable, but social dancing implies dancing with other people as well the person you came with.  We want to create a welcoming, open environment by inviting everyone to dance together.

See you on the dance floor!

Another helpful in-depth article on the Elements of Dance Etiquette can be found here.

For more information about what classes we teach or when our social dances are, please see our calendar.

What We – Mere Mortals – Can Learn from Derek Hough

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Derek Hough:  World Latin Dance Champion, five-time mirror ball trophy winner, and extraordinary choreographer, the epitome of pure perfection in the dance world. Many a time, he has left us completely speechless and wonder struck with his performances. But how? What is it about Derek that enchants us and demands the attention of our eyes (other than his shirtless body)? What is it that Derek has and we do not? And can it ever be attainable? Fortunately for us, the answer to the last question is YES! Yes it can!

True, maybe we’re not all world-renowned champions (yet…), but there are definitely still elements we can take from those who are and apply them to our own dancing. The following is a collection of some of Derek’s performances, each with its own suggestion on how to give your swing, rumba, tango, etc. that little bit of something extra. And with the Summer Showcase right around the corner, maybe this will give you some inspiration.

Be Vulnerable

In this breathtaking lyrical number, Derek and Kellie Pickler demonstrate a beautiful collaboration, easily making this one of Derek’s most moving performances. Rather than having a huge production complete with flashing lights, props, and back up dancers, they chose to strip everything down to just the dance and focus on the partnership that requires having a degree of personal strength and confidence, as well as submitting yourself to the other. The end result is a raw, authentic performance that touches every heart in the room.

Be Animated

Take note of all the facial expressions throughout the entirety of this popping jive routine, featuring Julianne Hough. Also notice the larger than life motions and how the two siblings take up their space and command the dance floor. For any dance, but especially for those that are known to be bouncy and energetic, such as jive or swing, you can never really dance too big. Feel free to exaggerate. Act like you are performing for the people in the nose bleed section. Think like a cartoon character. Dance big to the point where you feel absolutely ridiculous, because believe it or not, that is when your dancing will be most engaging to your audience. Get the crowd involved! They want to feel a part of the show, too! Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to ham it up!

Be Dynamic

In some instances, it is good to have variety of movement in your dancing to portray the overall personality of the dance. For example, in this passionate Argentine Tango with Nicole Scherzinger, look at its components and try to pick out the contrasts within. At times, you will find the choreography is filled with intensity and fast-paced footwork. At other times, the dance turns more soft, slow, and sensual. When meshed together, you have an interesting showpiece that is riveting to watch and will have people sitting on the edge of their seats.

There are many great inspirational videos of Derek Hough’s performances and choreography, and we can learn a lot from how he performs! Enjoy!

For more information about Styling and Performancescontact us. See you on the dance floor!

by Keyley Jackson

Dance Rocket City, the home for Ballroom Dancing in Huntsville, AL

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