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Learn To Ballroom Dance – Even When You Have No Rhythm

Learn To Ballroom DanceLet’s face it, for every person who is gliding and swaying in perfect time on the ballroom dance floor, there are many of us who are just “rhythmically challenged.” If you have tried to learn to ballroom dance and find it awkward to move your body to the beat of the music, you are not alone.

But guess what? The good news is that you can learn to dance and improve your rhythm by simply listening to your favorite music and practicing shifting your weight from one foot to another.

Understanding the Structure of Ballroom Dancing Music

So, how do we begin to become more rhythmic? We begin by understanding the song structure. Most standard ballroom dance music, except for the waltz and cha cha which have triplets, is a series of 8 beat patterns. And, if you can count the sets of 8 beats in time to the music, then you have found the beat. The easiest way to learn this is to put on some music and immediately begin counting sets of 8 in time to the music. Make sure to listen to the drums as they will always be on the beat. If you are still having trouble hearing the beat, try either clapping or tapping your foot to the rhythm of the music while you count.

Counting beats to the music can also help you identify the song structure so that you will be able to dance in patterns that will naturally flow with the music. For example, you could plan a dramatic dance pose that is timed to a “break” or peak point of excitement in a musical number.

You will often find that the music structure changes throughout a song as one set of 8’s ends and another begins. If the song changes as the music transitions then you have found the beat. If you feel you are a little bit off in your counting during these transitions then you may be off the beat just a little bit. Always be sure that you are counting “1” at the beginning of each song section or transition.

Feeling a Ballroom Dancing Rhythm

If you truly want to learn to ballroom dance, its important to understand that ballroom dancing is all about weight shifts. In fact, the most important thing to keep in mind when learning to dance is to always know where your weight is. To practice this, start by simply swaying side to side with the music. Each side to side movement should be 2 beats so you would sway to the left on 1 & 2 and then to the right on 3 & 4. You can tap your hands on the side of your hips as you sway to the music to help you keep the beat. Notice that when you are swaying side to side you are shifting your body weight from one foot to another foot. Once you have practiced your swaying enough, believe it or not you now have the feeling of rhythm!

The next step is to expand your swaying into a simple rock step. Start with one foot forward and the other foot back. Now, instead of swaying back and forth, completely shift your weight to one foot so that the other foot has no weight on it. The count for this is a complete weight shift forward on 1 & 2 and a complete weight shift back on 3 & 4. Rocking back and forth is a great way to practice complete weight shifts while maintaining balance.

Finally, you can continue to expanding your weight shifts into simple dance steps and dance patterns. An example of a single rhythm dance step with one weight change in two beats of music would be something like “step touch, step hold”. A double rhythm with two weight changes in a beat of music would be something like “step step” or “quick quick”.

Practice Your Basic Ballroom Dance Steps

Many basic ballroom dance steps are a combination of dance rhythms. Salsa, for example, follows an 8 beat rhythm pattern and is often described as “quick quick slow – quick quick slow”, while the Rumba is “slow, quick, quick – slow, quick, quick”. In these examples the slow step gets 2 beats and each quick step is 1 beat. Remember, ballroom dancers don’t like to be “bouncy” so try to make your weight shifts as smooth and as elegant as possible.

Now that you have better rhythm to the music you just need to practice. The best thing is that you can improve your rhythm while listening to your favorite dance songs in the comfort of your home. Anyone can learn to ballroom dance, so start swaying to the rhythm and get dancing!

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Swing Dance Classes

Get Swingin’ With Our Swing Dance Classes

west-coast-swing-classes

Get swingin’ with our fun swing dance class!  We teach two styles of swing dancing and they are both very easy to learn.

Jitterbug swing or East Coast Swing is typically more lively and energetic and is great for dancing to high energy big band music. West Coast Swing is generally a little slower, more formal swing style and West Coast Swing dancers often stay within a specific rectangular slot on the dance floor. While East Coast Swing is more jumpy and energetic, West Coast Swing is more sensual and elegant.

No partner or prior dance experience necessary.

  • East Coast & West Coast Swing Level 1 Sundays – 1:30 – 3:00 pm
  • East Coast & West Coast Swing Level 2 Sundays – 3:00 – 4:30 pm
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We Make Ballroom Dancing Champions!

Competitive Ballroom Dancing ChampionsCongratulations to our ballroom dancing champions who placed 1st in their dancing heats at the recent Royal Ball ballroom dancing competition in Los Angeles!

Marilyn Tucker danced in Bronze American Smooth and placed 1st in 14 dances and 2nd in two more. In her Multi-Dance Championship she placed 3rd in a heavily contested group. This was her first time competing with Guillermo in this style. Great job!

Deanna Stanton danced in Silver American Smooth and placed 1st in all her single dances. In her Multi-Dance Championship she came in 2nd (but taking 1st in the Foxtrot). She danced the best she had ever danced showing great improvement in her quality of movement and her showmanship.

We are extremely proud of our students and their beautiful ballroom dancing and showmanship as they represented By Your Side Dance Studio. Congratulations!

The annual Royal Ball ballroom dancing competition takes place at the historic Biltmore hotel is organized by Paul Killick & Shirley Ballas with a full day of dancing competitions for all levels. The event goes out in style with a gourmet dinner, amazing dance performances and live music.

Visit the Royal Ball website for more information on this annual ballroom dancing competition in Los Angeles.

Get Started With Competitive Ballroom Dancing

Have you ever thought about dancing in a ballroom dancing competition? Guess what? It’s really easy to start and it’s a whole lot of fun! Plus, you will become a much better ballroom dancer much more quickly when you are practicing your butt off for that upcoming ballroom dancing competition!

How does it work? Basically you will compete against similar amateur dancers based on your ballroom dancing proficiency (Bronze, Silver and Gold levels) and your chosen style of dance. Visit this link for more information on the ballroom dancing medal system.

For Pro/Am events, you (the amateur) will be dancing with your ballroom dance instructor (the pro). This makes the whole experience much less intimidating and much more rewarding because you will be dancing with and experienced ballroom dancer right there by your side.

Competitive ballroom dancing is about setting a goal and getting there. If your goal is to become a good ballroom dancer then practicing for a ballroom dancing competition will get you there much more quickly and with an attention to dance style and technique that you may not achieve with your regular dance lessons.

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5 Amazing Benefits of Ballroom Dancing

Benefits of Ballroom DancingIf you are looking for a hobby that will literally change your life for the better, look no further than ballroom dancing! Ballroom dancing is a lot more than just learning dance steps to music, ballroom dancing is the perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction and mental stimulation that provides positive effects for the mind, body and spirit.

Studies have shown that ballroom dancing can help you lose weight, stay flexible, reduce stress, make friends and more.

Here Are 5 Amazing Benefits of Ballroom Dancing

Increased Health and Fitness

Ballroom dancing is the perfect exercise for those who hate to “work out”. Studies have shown that ballroom dancing burns anywhere from 5 to 10 calories per minute depending on speed and intensity. That’s pretty good for a whole-body workout that is actually fun to do.

More Flexibility and Balance

Ballroom dancing is a great way to improve your balance, flexibility and coordination. As you learn to ballroom dance, your body will find itself stretching and bending in different ways that all help to strengthen your core and improve your balance.

Reduced Stress

Ballroom dancing is a great hobby for reducing stress and increasing overall wellbeing. As the saying goes, there are not a lot of shortcuts to happiness but dancing is certainly one of them. Getting out on the dance floor and dancing to some upbeat music is a great way to “turn-off” the stress of everyday life.

Become Smarter

A recent study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that ballroom dancing can improve your memory and cognitive functions. Since dancing requires you to remember dance steps you will enjoy increased brain power and improved memory function. In fact, studies showed that ballroom dancing twice a week can help reduce the risk of dementia in older adults.

Positive Social Skills

Dancing is a popular social activity and studies have shown that the social aspects of dancing and learning a new skill can contribute to increased self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life. When you join a ballroom dance class you are committing to work together with a dance partner to learn a new skill and ultimately have a little fun on the dance floor together. It is ultimately this camaraderie and enjoyment of ballroom dancing which will forever change your life for the better.

Ballroom Dancing Class Los Angeles

Take the First Step – Try Our Free Ballroom Dance Class

Our FREE Ballroom Basics dance class is every Sunday at 4:30 pm! No partner or prior dance experience necessary. Make friends and have fun while learning to ballroom dance. The class is followed by a Beyond the Basics ballroom dance class at 5:30 pm for $15 or just $13 with the purchase of a 10-class punch card.

Ballroom Basics – Sundays @ 4:30 pm
Learn the basic dance steps for common ballroom dances such as the Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Waltz and Tango.

Beyond the Basics – Sundays @ 5:30 pm
Learn to ballroom dance using our unique Interrelated System that shows you how you can use one move over several dance styles. Our Interrelated System of dance instruction helps you learn how to dance much more quickly by focusing on “leading” and “following” skills that can be applied across all ballroom dances.

Now is The Time to Learn How to Ballroom Dance!

Telephone: 310-391-0400

  • By Your Side Dance Studio
  • 12613 Washington Blvd.
  • Los Angeles, CA (West Culver City) 90066
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Ballroom Basics Dance Class

Ballroom Basics Dance Class on Sundays @ 4:30 pm

Free Ballroom Dance Classes in Los AngelesHave you ever wanted to learn to ballroom dance? You’re in luck because we are now offering a Ballroom Basics dance class on Sunday’s at 4:30 pm!

Ballroom Basics – Sundays @ 4:30 pm
Learn the basic dance steps for common ballroom dances such as the Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Waltz and Tango.

This is a fun class where you will learn to ballroom dance using our unique Interrelated System that shows you how you can use one move over several dance styles. Our Interrelated System of dance instruction helps you learn how to dance much more quickly by focusing on “leading” and “following” skills that can be applied across all ballroom dances. This gets you comfortable dancing in a variety of styles fast!

$15 or just $13 with the purchase of a 10-class punch card.

Now is The Time to Learn How to Ballroom Dance!

Telephone: 310-391-0400

  • By Your Side Dance Studio
  • 12613 Washington Blvd.
  • Los Angeles, CA (West Culver City) 90066




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Ballroom Basics

Ballroom Basics Dance Class on Sundays

ballroom-lessons-in-la-bugHave you ever wanted to learn to ballroom dance? You’re in luck because we are now offering a Ballroom Basics dance class on Sunday’s at 4:30 pm! $15 or just $13 with the purchase of a 10-class punch card.

Ballroom Basics – Sundays @ 4:30 pm
Learn the basic dance steps for common ballroom dances such as the Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Waltz and Tango.

We will teach you to learn to ballroom dance fast by using our unique Interrelated System that shows you how you can use one move over several dance styles. Our Interrelated System of dance instruction helps you learn how to dance much more quickly by focusing on “leading” and “following” skills that can be applied across all ballroom dances.

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Looking For The Perfect Gift For The Holidays?
Give The Gift Of Dance!

Dance Lessons Gift CertificatesLooking for the perfect stocking stuffer? Here is the perfect gift for someone who has everything… the gift of dance!

Check out our gift certificate dance packages for new students or create your own custom dance lesson gift certificate!

Our dance lesson gift certificates can include any number of private dance lessons or group dance classes, or a combination of both, and are the perfect way to share the joy of dancing with someone special. Come by the dance studio and we will be happy to help you create your own special custom tailored gift of dance for the holidays.

Call Us At 310-391-0400 To Order A Gift Certificate Today!

We will be happy to help you design the perfect gift of dance for someone special in your life! Dance lesson gift certificates can be picked up in person or mailed to you after you have made your order.

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Give The Gift Of Dance!

I’m So Proud of Our Ballroom Dancers Competing at the California Star Ball Ballroom Dance Competition

Star Ball Ballroom Dance Competition

By Your Side Ballroom Dancers Suryany Misrayim, Memito Ceballos and Deanna Stanton

I went to California Star Ball ballroom dance competition last night to watch and support our students who were competing. I watched every step, every arm movement, every shape and every facial expression until they walked off the floor. I took notes to show them what I saw to help take their ballroom dancing to the next level.

Although my note taking is to point out the weak spots and it’s hard to hear sometimes, I have to say that while I was watching them, my heart filled with excitement because I had never seen them dance better (Suryany Misrayim and Deanna Stanton). I saw smiles I had never seen before, confidence that beamed from their faces, a tremendous increase in quality of dance movement, plus much more.

Great work ladies! Great work Memito Ceballos! You have definitely guided them to make their ballroom dancing so much better.

Next up, the Royal Ball Ballroom Dance Competition coming up in March, 2016!

The California Star Ball Ballroom Dance Competition is the longest consecutive running ballroom dance competition in the United States featuring three days of ballroom dancing and competitive ballroom dance events. This year they featured a special ballroom dancing showcase by the Current United States Professional Rhythm Champions Emmanuel Pierre Antoine and Liana Churilova.

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Taking Salsa Lessons – Tips for New Dancers

Salsa Lessons TipsHave you ever tried a new hobby but quickly lost interest when it didn’t seem as fun or as easy as it looked? When you start taking Salsa lessons you can often feel that same way, you take a few Salsa lessons and dance at some Salsa clubs and then it becomes another thing that we “tried once.”

Why is that? Unfortunately in this age of instant gratification it’s because learning to Salsa dance takes practice and dedication to learn properly. However, if you are willing to put in a little work, learning to Salsa dance is a great way to relax, have fun and take the stress out of life while looking and feeling great on the dance floor.

Below are 4 tips for taking Salsa lessons:

  1. You we’re not born to Salsa. Sorry, but most of us aren’t born with natural dancing ability. It will take many lessons before you feel comfortable dancing at a Salsa club. The good news is that the more Salsa classes you take, the more confident you will feel Salsa dancing. More importantly, once you know some basic Salsa patterns you will have much more fun on the dance floor and will feel more comfortable dancing with some of the more advanced Salsa dancers who know what they are doing.
  2. Private Salsa lessons are the best way to learn quickly. Private Salsa lessons allow you to work at your own pace and learn much more quickly by practicing with a professional dance instructor. The personal attention you receive from one dedicated private Salsa lesson is equal to three or four hours of standard group lessons. You will also become confident in your ability to lead and follow much more quickly with private Salsa lessons than through group instruction. Once you have the basics down you can try some group Salsa classes.
  3. Salsa clubs are for having fun but are not the best place to learn to dance. It can be tempting to go to your nearest Salsa club and try to pick-up a few moves by watching the dancers on the dance floor but a Salsa club isn’t really the best way to learn to Salsa. At a professional dance studio the Salsa instructor will provide you with the proper foundation for Salsa styling and lead and follow techniques. Knowing the proper way to Salsa dancing lead and follow techniques will make you a better Salsa dancer. Plus, once you know the proper Salsa dance technique you will be able to pick-up the dance moves that you see in Salsa clubs much more easily.
  4. You can learn to Salsa more quickly when you have some background in the other Latin dances. All of the Latin dances have something in common with each other, so learning some Rumba, Merengue and Cha Cha is a great way to improve your Salsa dancing. The Latin dances are often quite similar so that a Cha Cha move can be easily translated into a Salsa move. Plus, when you know a variety of Latin dances you can dance to a variety of Latin music that is appropriate for each song, for example actually dancing the Merengue to Merengue music and dancing a Cha Cha to Cha Cha music rather than trying to dance Salsa to every Latin song that you hear.


Salsa Performance by Laura Canellias and Jerry Gabaldon.

At By Your Side Dance Studio, we offer Salsa lessons in Los Angeles taught by professional Salsa dance instructors who have many, many years of dancing and teaching experience. Our Salsa teachers are professional dancers who have won numerous awards not only for Salsa dancing but also for other Latin dances as well as ballroom dancing.

Try a Salsa Lesson Today

Why not try a free Salsa class at By Your Side Dance Studio and see first-hand just how fun  our Salsa lessons are. You will learn the proper way to dance and discover just how much fun Salsa dancing can be.

Get Your First Group Salsa Lesson Absolutely Free!

No partner or dance experience necessary! (Offer applies to new students only).

GET A FREE GROUP CLASS NOW

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Best First Dance Songs From Contemporary Artists

Best First Dance SongsCongratulations! You’re getting married. Now it’s time to plan that special moment together in the spotlight as husband and wife – your first dance. Now’s the hard part, what song will you choose for your first dance?

You may already know some of the classic first dance songs for weddings such as “At Last” by Etta James or “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole but maybe you want want something a little more modern and appropriate for you and your friends. So what are some first dance songs by contemporary artists? Here’s our pick of some of the best first dance songs for weddings by contemporary artists.

Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

Coming Home by Leon Bridges

Love You Like That by Canaan Smith

Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars

Who You Love by John Mayer featuring Katy Perry

Mirrors by Justin Timberlake

Rewind by Rascal Flatts

Marry Me by Jason Derulo

Stay With Me by Sam Smith

Baby I’m Yours by Arctic Monkeys

Funny First Dance


And who knows, if none of these wedding dance songs appeal to you maybe what you should do is just put together a mix tape of your own favorite songs and have fun like this couple did (The fun starts around 1:34)!

5 First Dance Tips For Your Wedding Dance

  1. One of the tips for choosing a good first dance is that your wedding dance song should have a strong beat that you can dance to, and make sure to check that the lyrics are appropriate for a wedding.
  2. Keep your wedding dance relatively short and sweet (2-3 minutes) so your guests are entertained but not bored.
  3. Avoid the hug and shuffle and learn a couple of real dance steps. The basic box step is very easy to learn and can be danced to almost any wedding song. Learning a few basic wedding dance moves will make you much more confident and relaxed on the dance floor together.
  4. Create an elegant entrance to the dance floor. This is your moment to shine and everyone will be watching so be sure to walk out gracefully while holding hands. You can even add an underarm turn into closed position when you reach the center of the dance floor for the perfect entrance.
  5. Remember to rehearse in your wedding dress and shoes. It is absolutely essential that you practice your first dance while wearing your wedding dress and shoes since we don’t want you to trip over your wedding dress. And since you will be dancing, make sure you know what happens when you raise your arms to do a dance move such as an underarm turn, especially if you are wearing a strapless dress!
  6. Don’t forget the picture perfect dip at the end of your wedding dance. Take it slow so that all the photographers can get ready and then hold the dip for a few moments for picture taking time. You can also add a kiss at the end if you are feeling in the mood. ; )
  7. Finally, just relax and have fun. This is your special moment as a couple and your first dance together should be a special event that you remember and cherish forever.
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