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Imparting Dance Etiquette

Dancing is a social activity which requires interpersonal as well as physical grace. Being a considerate and thoughtful dance partner helps ensure a wonderful experience and is even more important for a social dancer than dance technique.

There are six aspects of social dance etiquette.

1. Asking for a dance
2. Saying “no”
3. Personal hygiene
4. Partner’s ability
5. Floorcraft
6. Group classes

In a social dance situation it is customary to dance with a variety of people. (This is also a great way to improve one’s dance skills). Therefore …

When YOU ask someone to dance, be sure to make eye contact with your prospective partner, offer your hand and ask directly, “Would you like to dance?” If the person says yes, then smile, offer your hand and walk with him or her onto the dance floor and into dance position. This helps a partner feel supported and at ease.

When someone asks YOU to dance, your response should nearly always be, “Yes, I would love to!” It is not acceptable to say no because you do not think a partner is good enough for you or because you are hoping someone “better” will ask you. It is important that all dancers are supportive and kind to each other at all skill levels.

During the dance, be sure to be aware of your partner, including your partner’s comfort and skill level. Smile and make eye contact, but do not stare. Be gracious and appreciative At the end of the dance, always thank your parter and walk with him or her off the dance floor.

When a person asks you for a dance, it is appropriate to say no under a few circumstances:

If you are really tired when someone asks you to dance, say that you are taking a rest now and would be happy to dance later. Then be sure to keep this commitment.

If you come to the dance to watch and someone asks you to dance, it is fine to say, “Thank you, but I’m just watching tonight.”

If the same person asks you to dance repeatedly, it is acceptable to tell him or her that you would like to dance with others right now and would enjoy another dance later.

If the person has been physically or verbally abusive to you on a previous occasion, it is of course appropriate to say “no!” It is also appropriate to say “no” if the person is obviously drunk or threatening in some way. If you feel that a dancer at the party is physically dangerous to the other dancers, report the situation immediately to the person in charge (e.g., the teacher, front desk or management).

Social dancing is an intimate activity in that it requires a certain degree of physical closeness. Good hygiene before and during a dance party shows respect and consideration for the other dancers. Considerations include:

Bathe or take a shower, use deodorant and wear clean clothes.

Brush your teeth before going to a dance. Use breath mints or gum at the dance if necessary.

Bring a towel and/or a change of clothes if you tend to sweat a great deal. If you get excessively sweaty on the dance floor, stop, dry off and cool down for a few minutes.

Use a light touch applying perfume or cologne, or avoid wearing it altogether, as many people are sensitive or allergic to fragrances.

Get along with partners of varying ability levels. For example:

Compliment rather than correct your partner. Unless someone asks you directly to make a correction, never volunteer criticisms of your dance partner’s abilities. Know that your dance partner is doing the best that he or she is able.

If your partner is dancing off time, consider ways to make it fun for yourself. For example, you might view the situation as a challenge to dance to the same internal rhythm as your partner, an opportunity to have fun dancing slightly off the music or simply a chance to appreciate the experience of moving with another person.

If your partner is physically hurting you, it is probably inadvertent. Stop dancing for a moment and say something like this, “I’m sorry, but you’re holding my hand a little tightly. Could we do it again?” If you receive an inconsiderate response or your partner seems unwilling to modify his or her behavior, it is then appropriate for you to say, “Thank you, but I’d like to stop now.” Social dancing should not be physically painful or dangerous.

In order for a social dance to be enjoyable for all the participants, it is crucial to be considerate and aware of floor craft. No matter how inspired you might be to let go and express yourself, have respect for the other couples on the floor. Careful observation of the traffic lanes in a ballroom helps prevent mishaps. Here are some guidelines:

In dances that travel (i.e., Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Peabody, Samba and Argentine Tango), dancers move in a counter-clockwise circle known as the line of dance. The line of dance has lanes, similar to those on a highway.

*Fast Lane: the very outside lane of the line of dance is the “fast lane.” This lane is generally used by very experienced dancers who cover a lot of ground.

*Slow Lane: The middle and inside lanes are for beginners and less experienced dancers who are not traveling as much as those in the fast lane. Beginners dancing basic steps and not traveling as much should stay on the very inside lane.

*Center of the Floor: When repeatedly practicing a figure that does not travel (e.g., the Waltz Box with Underarm Turn), use the center of the dance floor.

Get along with each other as you rotate partners.

Say hello and introduce yourself to each new partner.

If you only want to dance with the same partner for personal reasons, you may do so by stepping out of the circle when it is time to rotate. This way, it is clear that you are not part of the rotation. To help avoid confusion when rotating, direct fellow students to rotate past you.

If you’re having real difficulty with the figure, it is perfectly acceptable to tell your partner that you need to step out of the rotation for a minute to practice the steps on your own. If you want help, feel free to ask the teacher.

It is not acceptable to refuse to dance with someone in a group class simply because you are of the same gender. There are many reasons why dancers choose to learn the non-traditional role (i.e., women dancing as Leaders and men dancing as Followers). Reasons range from being teachers in training who need to know both roles, to wanting to learn the other role to improve their dancing, to simply preferring the non-traditional role. If you are a male Leader or female Follower, you may not be accustomed to dancing with someone of your same gender. Nevertheless, etiquette requires that you respect other dancers’ choices, regardless of their reasons for choosing the non-traditional role.


SOURCE: TEACH LIKE A PRO by Diane Jarmolow

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Daily Dance Tip:

Helpful Hints for better tap dancing!

With the new tap series about to start tomorrow morning, I thought this was fitting for todays daily dance tip.

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Although tap dancing isn’t simple, it won’t be long before you will be tapping your way through lively routines. Tap dancing requires lots of practice, patience and determination. Following are four tips to help you improve your tap dancing skills.

1. Relax Your Ankles
Have you ever wondered how professional tap dancers make every step look completely clean? The secret lies in relaxing the ankles. try not to overuse your ankles in order to perform your steps more quickly. Make sure you make a concious effort to relax your ankles. Try using your legs, starting from the hips, limiting movements from the ankles. Allow your legs to do all the work, letting your feet just follow along.

2. Slow Down
Many beginning tap dancers tend to rush through steps, speeding through combinations. Rushing will cause your steps to run together, blending individual tap sounds into one. If you find yourself skipping steps of combinations, slow down. Producing clean tap sounds is much more appealing than sloppy speed tapping.

3. Lean Forward
One of the keys to tap dancing is the placement of your weight. Both of your feet must be capable of being lifted at any moment, so your center of gravity has to stay primarily in the middle. Try holding most of your weight forward when dancing, balancing on the balls of your feet.

4. Keep the Rhythm
When you tap dance, you are doing more than dancing to music…you are making music. Make sure you keep in time to the music you are dancing to, instead of competing for the lead. Try not to get carried away with your own tap sounds. Listen to the music and move in time to the beat. if your tap sounds compliment the rhythm of the music, your audience will be truly mesmerized.



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Ballroom Dancing Tips: Proper Ballroom Dance Posture


In ballroom dancing, your dance posture is critical, and good ballroom dancing is not just about looks and style, your posture also affects how well you will dance together with your partner on the dance floor.

(Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz & Quickstep)

FRAME: The means of connecting with your partner using correct positioning of the arms, shoulders, elbows and hands. A toned frame is essential for good leading and following when dancing.

LEADER’S ARM POSITIONS (see photo below):

Leaders Smooth Dance Position

LEFT ARM: When ballroom dancing, the Leader’s left arm is bent at about 90 degrees, with the forearm inclined at a 45-degree angel from the floor (i.e., halfway between perpendicular and parallel to the floor.) The left elbow is held to the side, approximately in line with the left shoulder. The Leader’s left fingers are together and slightly curled, with the thumb separate.

RIGHT ARM: The Leader’s right arm is extended to the side and slightly forward. The right elbow is held at the same height from the floor as the left elbow, but is slightly more forward (approximately in the same plane as the front of the right hip). The right arm slopes slightly downward from the shoulder to elbow and from elbow to hand (unless the Follower is taller than the Leader). The thumb and fingers of the right hand are together with the hand slightly cupped.

FOLLOWER’S ARM POSITIONS (see photo below):

Followers Smooth Dance Position

RIGHT ARM: When ballroom dancing, the Follower’s right arm is extended to the side and slightly forward with the elbow softly bent. The palm of the right hand is turned slightly outward (i.e., away from the Follower’s face) with the fingers gently curled. The feeling is one of giving the arm forward and upward toward the leader.

LEFT ARM: The Follower’s left arm is extended to the side, approximately in line with the left shoulder. The arm is bent so that the angle between the forearm and upper arm is a little less than 90 degrees. The hand is slightly turned out from the wrist — the fingers gently fan to the left with the thumb held separately, in continuation with the line of the inner forearm. The four fingers are closed (i.e., not splayed apart) and styled with the middle finger down and other fingers raised, with the pinky held highest.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When ballroom dancing, always remember to keep your Shoulder Blades Down, Elbows High and Heads Left.

Information brought to you from the book “Teach Like a Pro” by Diane Jarmolow a highly certified and renowned ballroom dance instructor. Her book is available for purchase at



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The Bolero frame is a blend between the Rhythm and Smooth frames. Bolero Closed Position differs from Rhythm and Latin Closed Position in the following ways:


Offset: Due to being a closer hold, the Follower is offset to the Leader’s right side (as in Smooth and Standard Closed Position)


Wider Frame: While the hands are in the same places, the Bolero frame is wider than the Rhythm frame, yet not quite as wide as a Smooth and Standard frame.


Less Distance: The wider frame means that the distance between partners is closer than in a Rhythm and Latin frame. The distance ranges from four to eight inches apart (for beginners) to light body contact (for more advanced dancers).


Heads Left:  Both partners turn their heads slightly to the left (i.e., to face 11 o’clock).


Information courtesy of the book “Teach Like a Pro” book available for purchase at

 Bolero Hold
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Followers generally shape the fingers more elaborately than Leaders in order to create attractive and feminine lines when ballroom dancing. While hand styling varies depending on the dance the following exercise is applicable to most ballroom dances.

1. Place the pencil on top of the middle finger and below the index, ring and pinky fingers. The thumb is relaxed downward (not pointing to the side). To flute the fingers even more, add a second pencil on top of the middle and ring fingers and under the index and pinky fingers. The two pencils separate each finger into a very feminine styling.
(See picture below)

There are several hand stylings for Leaders. I will explain two of them. The Leader’s four fingers can be held together (see photo), or the middle, ring and pinky fingers can be together with the index finger slightly raised directly up (i.e., not spread open at the base of the fingers). In both cases, the thumb extends down, creating and “L” shape with the index finger. When practicing these two options, leaders do not need pencils.

Credits go to the book “Teach Like a Pro” by Diane Jarmolow available for purchase at Dancevision.comwomens hand styling 1 womens hand styling 2 mens hand styling 1To receive the Dance Tip of the day every day, follow us on Facebook!


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Argentine Tango Lessons

Ever thought about learning the passionate and romantic dance called the Argentine Tango? Now is the time to learn from the best Tango teachers in Los Angeles!

We are very fortunate to have the very talented Jerry Perez and Christine Urgell as our resident Argentine Tango dance instructors at By Your Side Dance Studio.

Argentine Tango Lessons Level 3/4

  • Length: 4-Classes - Wednesdays
  • Time: 8:00-9:00 pm
  • Cost: $15 per class or $52 for 4 class series

This series will help develop a more comprehensive understanding of how to “connect the dots”. A strong focus will be placed on improvisation, navigation and timing as well as an introduction to the two main systems: Parallel and Cross System. In addition, students will learn how to combine the core elements and implement new figures essential to Argentine Tango. Lastly, students will be introduced to the social dance etiquette preparing them for the tango socials (Milongas/Practicas).

For more information on our Tango lessons call 310-391-0400

Jerry Perez and Christine Urgell are currently one of the most sought out tango couples in the United States. Known for their razor sharp technique as well as their earthy and expressive performance style, Jerry Perez and Christine Urgell have been principal tango dancers in the following theatre productions:

  • “Tango Connection” with The Mariela Franganillo Company NYC
  • “Gypsy Tango”
  • “Amor De Tango”
  • “Eras Del Tango”

Don’t believe just how amazingly graceful and talented Jerry and Christine are?
Then take a look at some of these amazing Tango performances.

Jerry & Christine Perez, our Argentine tango dance teachers and choreographers for the movie Tony Tango.

Tango performance by Jerry Perez Gallego and Christine Urgell Perez at TANGOCHO Milonga.

Jerry Perez and Christine Urgell tango dance at the Miami Tango Fantasy Festival.

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Adult Tap Dancing Class in Los Angeles

Tap Classes Los Angeles

Tap dancing classes start March 29th!
Ready to put some rhythm into your life?
Want to have fun while burning calories and getting fit?
Join the best tap dancing class in Los Angeles!

Adult Tap Level 1

This class focuses on Level 1 footwork and learning a choreographed routine.

  • Start Date: Saturday, March 29, 2014
  • Dates: Saturdays 11:30 – 12:15pm
  • Length: 10 weeks
  • Cost: $130.00 for 10 classes

Adult Tap Level 2

This class focuses on Level 2 footwork and learning a choreographed routine to “Watch the Birdie” by Lisa Stansfield.

  • Start Date: Saturday, March 29, 2014
  • Dates: Saturdays 12:15 – 1:00pm
  • Length: 10 weeks
  • Cost: $130.00 for 10 classes

Adult Tap Level 3

This class consists of Level 3 footwork and a learning a choreographed routine to “Cups” by Pitch Perfect!

  • Start Date: Saturday, March 29, 2014
  • Dates: Saturdays 1:00 – 1:45pm
  • Length: 10 weeks
  • Cost: $130.00 for 10 classes

Tap dancing is a great way to get in shape, feel the rhythm of the music and add flair to your dancing. Tap dancing is recommended for all dancers no matter your style or ability.

We pride ourselves on having the best comprehensive and progressive set of tap dancing classes in Los Angeles. If you are a little nervous about learning tap dancing you may take the first tap class at our single lesson rate of $15 to try it out.  If you decide to continue with the course, you can simply pay the difference for the full 10 week series.

By Your Side Dance Studio
12613 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(X-Street is Centinela)

Call 310-391-0400 to reserve your spot today! These classes fill up fast.


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Get Your By Your Side T-Shirts!

Dancing T-Shirts

Now you can show everyone that you are a dancer with one of our beautiful T-shirt designs! We have three designs and many styles and fabric colors to choose from.

Visit our online store and support By Your Side Dance Studio.

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Help Us Spread The Word

man-w-megaphoneThank you for your business and we hope you are enjoying your dance classes at By Your Side Dance Studio. We strive to be the best dance studio in Los Angeles and your opinion counts!

If you have a moment please consider sharing the details of the dance class you attended and your experience at By Your Side Dance Studio. It takes no time at all to leave a recommendation and help us spread the word about our business.

If you are a Yelper visit us on Yelp.

If you are a Gmail or Google user visit our Google Plus page.

If you are a Facebook user visit our CitySearch page.

Finally, if you have any problems or suggestions on how we can improve our service please either speak to me directly or send me a message here.

Thank you for your consideration.




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By Your Side Dance Studio Voted Best Dance Studio In Los Angeles

Best Dance Studio In Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA – By Your Side Dance Studio, a ballroom dance studio that makes learning to dance easy and fun for people of all ages and abilities, announced today that they have received the Top Choice Award for Best Dance Studio in Los Angeles by Top Choice Awards. Top Choice Awards is an organization that identifies businesses that have risen above their competition and have earned the people’s vote in top cities around the world.

“The public has been voting for the past three months and the results were clear! By Your Side Dance Studio has demonstrated top quality, service, value and professionalism in providing the best ballroom dance lessons and adult dance classes to the people of Los Angeles,” said Francesca Filippelli of Top Choice Awards.

Continue reading →

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Ballroom Dancing Practice Parties

We need to promote ballroom dancing in Los Angeles so we are now offering a ballroom dancing social party for Ballroom Dancers the 4th Friday of every month.  We will focus on ballroom dancing such as the Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Swing and American Tango at these practice parties.  Deborah will DJ the music and there will be free refreshments.

$10 Admission
($7 Admission for USA Dance and Dance Buddy Members)

7pm – 10:30pm

Free street parking after 6pm, free parking behind studio and metered parking in the new city lot beside the studio.

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Beginner Salsa Dancing Party 2nd Saturday of every month @ By Your Side Dance Studio

video clip of the group class before our monthly beginner salsa party

BEGINNER SALSA DANCE PARTY every 2nd Saturday of every month in our remodeled studio, so get your salsa shoes cleaned up and brush the bottoms for a night of great dancing and food!


Hosted by:
Deborah Fields Perez and Laura Canellias

$15 for Class and Party (Class is from 8-9pm)
$10 for Party only (Party is from 9-11pm)

Free Parking in lot behind studio and lots of street parking.  (free after 6pm)

12613 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066

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About Our Dance Studio Culver City

By Deborah Perez

I want to thank Culver City/Mar Vista residents for welcoming and supporting our dance studio in Culver City. So many times people from the area thank me for choosing to open our beautiful dance studio in Culver City. They say it’s a wonderful service and are so pleased we are there. The support has been tremendous and for that, I am truly grateful.

Now, let me tell you a little about our staff:

Ladies first……


Well, of course, there’s me. I opened the dance studio in Culver City almost 7 years ago! Wow, how time flies! My goal is to run a business that promotes a friendly, warm and welcoming environment. A great place to hang out after work and/or on the weekends. A place for people to meet each other, have fun, feel support, exercise, make dreams come true and create life long friendships at an price that fits any budget. I hire staff who truly love to dance and who truly care about their students. I teach American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard, Salsa and Tap Dancing. I am a former competitor winning many championships including the U.S. Theatre Arts Championship.


Julie is our lead receptionist. She answers phones, schedules appointments, keeps the staff organized, keeps ME organized, helps keep the studio extremely clean.


Front department specialist. Aurora specialized in newbies. People who are stone cold beginners and need to take it very slow. She is incredibly patient and very in tune with a persons learning curve. Many of the students look for her the second they walk through our doors. She can make you smile and feel comfortable immediately. Her main mission is to always make sure you are doing ok and having fun.


Laura is our Salsa Diva. She is a legend in the salsa community and often judges many salsa dancing contests. Most everyone who is in the Salsa scene knows who Laura is. She is very vibrant and lively. She’s a great instructor who keeps the energy high when she teaches salsa classes and when we have our monthly salsa dance parties.


Rebecca came to us from Florida.  The students rave about her teaching style. She’s very clear and easy to follow when she teaches and very organized in her teaching methods.  She has a great sense of humor and very likable. Rebeca teaches many of our group classes as well as private lessons.


Alicia is a former competitor and excellent instructor. She focuses a nice amount of time on technique when she teaches. She is great with choreography, wedding dance lessons, group dance classes and all students in general. The students really like her and only have good things to say.

Now for the men…….


Rene is the class clown, but in a good way. He puts a smile on everyone’s face. Mine too because he’s my husband! Great leader and beautiful dancer. He can create dance lines that make you oooh and ahhh. You can almost always see him at the dance studio either assisting classes or practicing. He performs in many dance shows with some of our female students. The women line up to dance with him. He is best with new students because he is very easy going and has a knack for explaining the most difficult things and making them simple to understand.


Shay comes to us from Florida.  He is an all around excellent instructor and teaches all the ballroom dances.  He is very well known in the hustle dance community and  has recently won the Hustle World Championship.  Shay teaches private lessons, group classes and is an excellent choreographer.  He is a big hit at By Your Side Dance Studio.

Power Couples……

Felipe and Carolina Telona

Current World Mambo Champions and Rhythm Champions. They occasionally teach phenomenal workshops for students of ALL LEVELS to help improve their overall dancing. They are incredible talents as well as wonderfully kind, caring people. We are truly blessed to have them working within our studio.

Jerry and Christine Perez (No relation)

They are our out of this world Argentine Tango teachers. They teach the Argentine Tango classes as a couple which makes the tango classes twice as beneficial to students. They are fun, funny, talented and excellent at teaching.

Remember, there is no partner or previous dance experience necessary to learn to dance and we have a variety of new student specials available. There’s no better time to learn to dance than today.

See you on the dance floor!

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Congratulations To Our Ballroom Dance Winners At The Emerald Ball Ballroom Dance Competition


I am absolutely thrilled that many of our ballroom students placed first in several ballroom dance events at the prestigious Emerald Ball Ballroom Dance Competition held recently in Los Angeles. The Emerald Ball Dance Competition showcases some of the best ballroom dancers in the USA and attracts the best of ballroom dancers in the USA and abroad.

There were more than 15,000 entries which made this year’s event the Emerald’s biggest ballroom dance event to date. Competition is fierce on the floor and that’s why I am so proud of our ballroom dance student’s accomplishments!

Our By Your Side Dance Studio ballroom dancers participated in several ballroom dance events including the Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Salsa, Tango and Rumba.

Our amazing ballroom dancers who placed at the Emerald Ball Dance Competition are as follows:

  • Lucas Bross- participated in a total of 7 events and won first place in all 7 events!
  • Catherine Caballero-participated in 7 events and won four 1st places and three 3rd places
  • Rene Perez- participated in 14 events and won 12 first places and two 2nd places
  • Jane Glaser- participated in 12 events with first places in all 12!
  • Deanna Stanton & Joseph Hidalgo won 1st place in Bolero and 2nd  place in American Tango
  • Joseph Hidalgo earned the 4th place in the Cha Cha and Viennese Waltz

A fabulous job and congratulations to all of you!


Ready to take your ballroom dancing to the next level? By Your Side Dance Studio offers the best ballroom dance lessons in Los Angeles with a focus on personalized attention and professional dance instruction.

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By Your Side
Dance Studio

By Your Side Dance Studio

By Your Side Dance Studio is a Better Business Bureau accredited business