Not Another Test!

Photo by javaturtle (flickr)

Photo by javaturtle (flickr)

There is a reason why I haven’t been updating my readers on my weekly lessons.  I’ll be testing out near December, and I’m not too keen on boring you guys with “Today, we worked on X, Y, and Z in [insert dance here].  Here’s a really technical explanation.”  This is mainly because I’ll be working on the same six dances until further notice, and I don’t think repeatedly writing about them will be interesting.  I will, however, remind you all of what dances I aim to test out of.  They are known in Arthur Murray as the six major dances.

American Smooth: Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango

American Rhythm: ECS, Rumba, and Cha-cha

For those that don’t know, the terms Smooth and Rhythm are roughly parallel to the terms standard and Latin.  The latter two are branches of the International style.  Moving on, I don’t think I’ve really explained what testing out is.  If a student wishes to move up a level competitively speaking, they have to test out.  This is like any other test.  One has to study and practice.  Testing out of Bronze I to Bronze II required me to do the following:

  • Memorize three “school figures”, my test material per dance.
  • Know how to do my half of the figures by myself
  • Be able to follow competently when dancing those figures

Back then, I had thirty figures to memorize.  Now, I only have two figures per dance this time.  Twelve is significantly less than thirty.  But, now I’m confused.  Tommy said in one lesson that I only had to know how to follow.  That meant that I wouldn’t have to dance solo come testing time.  I seem to remember having to do points one and two on the list.  My studio has made some changes since it began three years ago, and I’m not sure if this is one of them.  Regardless, I intend to memorize my half without a partner.  I believe this is very important for a ballroom dancer, especially if he or she mostly dances socially.  A woman or man might encounter a partner with less experience.  If that partner tries to lead or follow a step but stumbles, it’s up to the other person to keep going.  On occasion, the teachers have asked me to back-lead a new student in a certain dance.  That new student had no idea how to dance it.  I had to back-lead a gentleman in the Two-Step tonight, in fact.  Overall, doing it this way will make me a better dancer.  I’ll do my best to blog at least once a week as I try to balance school and dance.  Until next time,



P.S.: I have an idea for my next post, but I need feedback.  I quit watching “Dancing with the Stars” last season.  I want to explain why without beating the show to a pulp.  What do you all think?


The floor is yours now.

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