NO. 1: NEVER...repeat...NEVER attempt to out-dance your partner! If you are dancing for the first time with a new lady and you are unsure of her knowledge or ability, start slow with relatively simple and easy movements. So long as she follows you with ease, you can continue with your more complex movements. Should she, at any time, have difficulty following one of your more complex moves (and you've had no difficulty leading other ladies through it), back off and stay with the movements your current partner knows.

NO. 2: If you see a lady you do not know personally, but would like to dance with during the evening, make certain she is either alone or with her friends. If she is sitting with a gentleman, the accepted courtesy is to always inquire of her male friend (it could be her husband, fiance, or date) "Do you mind if I dance with your lady?" This is almost always acceptable and most gentleman will not mind. If he does object, he'll say so. To which you should reply "Thank you anyway."

NO. 3: Always politely ask a new lady if she would like to dance with you. It is unfair to the ladies to merely walk up and stick your hand out as though you expect her to jump up and follow you to the floor.

NO. 4: Always walk the lady back to her table or seat and thank her for the dance.

NO. 5: Country dance music, somewhat like Disco, is played most often by DJ's in a booth above the dance floor. Sometimes they will break for a few seconds between records. Many times they will "mix" songs together which can last upwards to ten minutes! If you've found a lady you wish to do more than one dance with consecutively, at least have the courtesy to ask her (during a break in the music) if she would like to continue. Don't just assume she thinks of you as the "world's greatest dancer" and wants to stay out there with you. (She might be winded or need a drink of water.)

NO. 6: It's the nineties and no longer is it always necessary for the gentleman to ask the lady to dance. Once you've become a better dancer, you will often have ladies come up and ask YOU to dance. You should never refuse a lady unless you're absolutely "bushed" or have to go to the restroom. If such is the case, at least give them the first "rain check" and dance with them before you go onto the floor with another lady. We've all been turned down at least once in our dancing lifetime. It's not fun and a sure-fire ego deflator! Let's don't get caught playing silly "games" with the ladies. If you want to be a sought-after dance partner, don't refuse any lady the opportunity to enjoy your expertise on the floor. Not every lady you dance with will become an "object of your affection" or be someone you'll want to dance with the rest of your life. The good male dancer dances with ALL the ladies—regardless of her looks, size, age, or ability level.

Every time a lady steps onto the dance floor with a new partner she is expected to follow him, regardless of how good (or poor) his execution of dance patterns, lead, timing, etc. Unfortunately, every time a lady changes partners, so does the routine of patterns she must follow. You can dance with ten different male partners, all doing the exact same series of patterns (example: those learned by a variety of men at the same time in a class situation) and the step patterns will feel different with every change of partner. A good female partner of any dance team needs to know enough of her own part in order to be able to follow any gentleman. The best lady dancers learn the same movements and techniques as the men. The good lady dancer is light on her feet, has developed good balance and timing, and understands partner relationship. She is able to take long reaching strides in all four directions in the slow, smooth dances so as not to be stepped upon. She is able to turn quickly, maintaining balance in both the smooth and the faster rhythm dances. We also add the following:

NO. 1: NEVER...repeat...NEVER refuse a gentleman the opportunity to dance with you—even if he looks like Godzilla and you wouldn't be caught dead talking to him anywhere else! (The only exceptions for refusing to dance are those we listed above for the gentlemen...if you're tired, hot, need a drink, need to visit the restroom, or if it is obvious the gentleman has one too many alcoholic beverages.) You already know what fragile egos most men possess. It takes a lot of courage for a gentleman to walk up to you and ask you for a dance! This is compounded further if the gentleman is just learning and new to this wonderful hobby. Should you feel compelled to refuse his initial offer, state the reason why, then seek him out later BEFORE you dance with any other gentleman. In short, treat the men with the same respect and courtesy you expect of them. Fair's fair!

NO. 2: Always thank the gentleman for the dance AFTER he has escorted you back to where you were seated. There are some men who think that because the two of you danced well together that you might be "inviting" them to "get to know you better." In fairness to them, if all you are looking for is the occasional dance, do not lead them on with expectations of more. Once back to your table and you've thanked them for the dance, the easiest "out" is to excuse yourself and visit the ladies room. In short..."let 'em down easy."

NO. 3: As a general rule, alcoholic beverages and good social dancing do not mix. Some men will offer to purchase you some type of "drink" as a way of thanking you for the courtesy of dancing with them. For the gentlemen making this offer, this is merely polite and socially acceptable—PROVIDING—you do not mind sitting with them and carrying on a conversation while the beverages are consumed. If said gentleman is not someone you wish to spend additional time with (other than on the dance floor) the polite thing to do is to refuse his offer.

NO. 4: Always carry enough cash with you to purchase your own beverages. (Should you find "Mr. Wonderful Dancer" on the floor, it's now okay to buy HIM a drink.)

NO. 5: If you're with a date, your fiance, or your husband—and a gentleman asks you rather than your male companion—it is best for you to ask if it would be alright rather than further embarrass the gentleman who's asking by saying, "You'll have to ask my (husband, date, friend)." In short, don't make a big deal out of the situation. I hope this never happens to you, but if should you be with someone who is jealous, possessive or argumentative, ward off trouble by politely refusing quickly, then change the subject.

NO. 6: You don't like it when men try to "play games" with you, so don't get caught in the same situation. Let's treat everyone with respect and courtesy and the world will be a better place for all of us to dance and have a good time!

Don't forget, ladies...good female dancers are every bit as much in demand as good male dancers. The next time you're out, look on the dance floor at the number of ladies, of every age, size and height—dancing almost continuously. Dancing develops social self-confidence better than any other form of self-improvement. You feel good about yourself, so you are automatically more attractive.

This is the "icing on the cake." Each dance has its own particular styling. Students studying ballroom—especially those taking private lessons—are taught the individualistic styling of all the dances. This is to prevent everything from looking the same as you move from dance to dance. Latin dances especially, including Rumba, Bolero, and Cha Cha utilize a distinct hip rolling action referred to most often as Cuban or Rumba motion. This styling is also used by the more advanced dancers in some of the actions in East and West Coast Swings, Shag and Latin Hustle.

Most American dances are danced "above the floor" with a smooth, yet "bouncy" action. Latin American dances are danced more "down into the floor" with unique staccato footwork. We have already discussed Smoothness of motion which is a definite part of styling for all types of dance, be it ballroom or country. Ballroom dances differ only slightly from country dances. One of the biggest differences is in the Waltz. Ballroom lowers into the 1, commencing to rise, then continuing to rise (through the feet and ankles) through the 2 and the 3 beats, lowering at the end of the 3 beat. Country Waltz is danced in much the same manner, with the lowering occurring on the 3 beat rather than after. There is virtually no difference between country and ballroom Swings, either East Coast or West Coast.

If you will watch the better dancers on any floor, your eyes are automatically drawn to the couples who dance seemingly effortlessly through their movements. Good dancers never bounce around the floor like drunken kangaroos. Smoothness is a learned process whereby the major muscle groups are performing the various movements; the knees and ankles are slightly flexed in order to absorb any shock during contact with the floor. While both partners learn to offer a certain amount of "resistance" to one another in order to lead or follow a wide variety of patterns, no dance movement is done rigidly or stiff-legged.

In the case of dance competitions, sometimes costuming is important at the very end and is sometimes used to determine tie-breakers. Most social dance functions have a rather relaxed dress-code. Good common sense should dictate what individuals wear out in public. Country dance costuming is very unique. Many gentlemen wear blue jeans, cowboy hats, very colorful shirts and both men and ladies often prefer the stability of a good-fitting pair of cowboy boots. There is no better investment for dancers than good footwear! The ladies especially need adequate ankle support. Fortunately for ballroom dancers in Atlanta, we have two outlets for the very light English dance shoes...Showtime Dance Shoes in the Embry Hills Shopping Center, and City Lights Dance Club. Showtime will be more than happy to fit you with either ladies' or men's ballroom dance shoes and you can call them at 770-455-7122 or 770-455-7123.

This is the man's ability to combine a variety of step-patterns within any given dance which follows a logical, natural, and relatively easy sequence. During your class instruction you will be shown the individual patterns, one at a time, then connected to form a logical sequence. You will be taught the correct lead, following and timing simultaneously. Once these are mastered perfectly we will show you how to "mix and match" the patterns in a way that makes sense. As stated in the beginning, step patterns are merely the method through which we instruct you on the more important facets of dancing we've been discussing.

Continuing on with additional items both partners need to know...

1. CLOSED: Feet together, weight on either (but not both) feet.

2. SIDE STEP: Either to the left or to the right.

3. INSTEP TO HEEL: Either right instep to left heel or opposite

4. FORWARD OR BACKWARD: Leading either way with either foot/leg

5. TOE TO HEEL: Often referred to as a "Rock" or "Back" step.

1. CLOSED: Facing partner with five points of contact:
A. Man's right hand on or just below lady's shoulder blade
B. Lady's left elbow rests lightly on man's right arm
C. Lady's left hand on top of man's right arm at shoulder
D. Man's left hand cupped around lady's right hand
E. (Occasionally) light contact through diaphragm area

NOTE: Both partners should keep fingers together, i.e., lady's left hand on shoulder; man's right hand on her back; man's left hand cupping lady's right hand.

IN CLOSED POSITION, BOTH PARTNERS SHOULD LOOK OVER EACH OTHER'S RIGHT SHOULDER. Think of this area as a "window" you're looking through to see where you're going.

2. PROMENADE: This differs slightly in country over ballroom. In country dancing partners can be side-by-side travelling either forward or backward. Occasionally, you will dance in promenade position with an arm across the shoulder of each partner.

3. PARALLEL: This is facing your partner but to either side and can be danced travelling either direction.

4. HALF-OPEN: Partners are apart but maintaining a hand-hold with one or both hands.

5. FULL-OPEN: No physical contact between partners during the execution of a pattern such as "free spins" by one or both partners.

Both partners should keep the arms up and curved slightly inward to maintain good "lines" or appearance. This is sometimes referred to as a "barrel" position.