RJ Dance Studio
Discover the Romance! the Sizzle! the Fun! of Dancing Together!
ballroom,swing,latin,disco dancers There is a season for everything under heaven;

A time to mourn,
and a time to dance.
Ecl 3:1, 4b
Life's a Dance-
Don't Miss a Step of It!
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General Dance Information and FAQ's
Kids Ballroom Swing Latin Classes
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Weekly Dances - Pearce Ballroom

Wedding Dance Preparation
Dance Descriptions

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About the Studio -
Goals & Philosophy

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Meet the Instructors

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Dancer's Healthy Tips Page

Dance Publications
Dance Vendors
Editorial Page
Do I Need a Partner?
Dance and Music

Does the Guy Always Lead?
The Right Shoes
Appropriate Dress
Flu, Colds & Personal Hygiene

An Actual Class Cretique
Class Tips
Are You a Good Student?
Are You Offended?

Can't I Just Learn from Videos?
I have my Own Style
I Just Want to to Have Fun!
The above catagories are included here, not to put down or offend, but because they have come up during classes or dances throughout the year. Common sense and good manners will usually address most issues.
Do I need my own Partner?
RJ Dance Studio never requires partners for classes, workshops or dances. Although there are usually more ladies than men interested in classes/dances, both single men and women do show up. While we cannot guarantee partners will be available, we welcome and encourage singles to participate. We don't insist but do recommend changing partners during classes to give everyone a chance to work with different partners.
While dancing is an excellent forum in which to socialize and meet people, a single partner, needs to evaluate the reason(s) for attending dances and classes in the first place. Is it because you enjoy dancing and want to learn how to do it well, or are you attending to "find" or "meet" someone? The answer to that question will make a big different on how well you do and your commitment to "sticking with it".

What Dances Go with What Kind of Music?
Music recognition and finding the basic beat is a stumbling block for many beginning dancers. First off, not all music is danceable. Being able to identify dance rhythms and tempos is only part of learning to dance. It's also important to understand the distinctions between various dances and why they should be danced differently. Understanding the differences between the dances as well as their similarities is what blends music and dancer together.
Appropriate Dress
  • Always wear clean, fresh, well maintained clothing.
  • For class - clothing should be comfortable. Dress in layers, so you can peel as you get warmed up.
  • For dances - Some are more formal than others, but usually nice/casual will do. Ask if you're not sure.
  • If you perspire a lot, bring a towel to dry off. An extra, fresh clean shirt/top to change into might be appropriate.
    Wear a t-shirt or other light weight, absorbent garnet beneath your outer clothes.
  • Your cologne or perfume should not announce your arrival. A little bit goes a long way, so please don't over do it. Excess cologn/perfume does not cover body odor or bad breath, and for those who have allergies or are otherwise sensitive, it can cause skin rashes and problems breathing.
  • Avoid excessive jewelry (watches, bracelets, rings) that could catch or cut.

About Shoes
Shoes are the most important piece of equipment for your dance attire. Of course, dance shoes are the best shoes to dance in. However, they are a little spendy. If you are not ready to make an investment in proper dance shoes, here are some tips for dancing in regular street shoes:
  • Avoid tennis shoes or other rubber soles. They are ment to stick, and they do.
  • Avoid wet soled shoes. They really stick. When it rains, bring a pair of dry "dance" shoes and change into them for classes or dances.
  • Select shoes that are comfortable and will stay on your feet. Use this pair of shoes as your "dance shoes".
    Carry them with you, and change into them for classes and dances.
  • Leather soled dress shoes usually work well for the men.
  • Flats or low heeled pumps, work for most ladies.
  • Wing Tips for the Men? ........ No, they're like strapping boards to your feet.
  • Five Inch Spikes or Platforms for the Ladies? ...... Not! Remember this is a dance floor, not a Runway. You need to be able to move quickly in any direction. Overly high heels compromise your balance and put you at risk for a twisted ankle.
  • Sandals/Burkenstocks? ......... Not a good idea. It’s difficult to keep these shoes from flopping around on your feet.
  • Combat boots, hiking boots and the like? Really, what do you think.....?
  • Slip-ons........... Just make sure they don’t “slip-off”!

Personal Hygiene
Dancing requires you to be physically close to others. Your personal hygiene is very important if you are not to offend your partner. Remember, in many classes, partners exchange and rotate. Here are some common-sense points to remember:
  • Always wear clean, fresh clothes.
  • Shower before class or dances if you need to. (You know if you need to.)
    This is a must, especially if your job requires physical labor, or if you overly perspire.
  • A little cologne/perfume goes a long way. It does not cover body odor, and for those who have allergies or are otherwise sensitive, excessive colones/perfumes can cause skin rashes and problems breathing.
  • Please brush your teeth before attending class or dances. Cigarette, stale coffee, garlic or alcohol breath are not very attractive. Neither is having to look at, or avoid looking at, pieces of your last meal hanging off your teeth or corners of your mouth. Yuk!!!
  • Carry, and use, breath mints. However, chewing gum can be distracting and annoying to your partner.
  • Dances and classes are a great place to catch colds, the flu and other bugs. Wash you hands often - before, during and after dances and classes.
  • If you wear long hair, make sure it doesn't become a hazard (or a weapon) to your partner or others around you on the floor.
    (On the other hand, it can be a great tool to keep others who deliberately encroach on your dance space! Just be sensible.)

Class Tips
  • Be on time or a little early.
  • The music is playing before class for you to warm up and practice. So, don’t sit around. Get up and Dance!
  • Remember, classes and workshops are meant to be fun as well as informative. Develop the ability to laugh at yourself and with your partner. Life is too short. Lighten up! Enjoy!
  • We all learn at different speeds. Don't get discouraged if you feel slower than the rest of the class.
    You probably won't get everything the first time. Be patient, and stay with it.
  • If it hurts, STOP! Find out what you need to do differently.
  • Speak up if you can't see, hear or understand the instructor.
  • The instructor(s) is human, too. Sometimes they space out. Let him/her know if you're confused or they forget to change partners.
  • If you have questions during class, please ask the instructor for clarification, not another student to "show" you. You are probably not the only one with that question, and others could benefit from the answer. The other student is just that, another student.
  • Bring a note pad and takes notes in class or immediately after class is finished.
    Believe it or not, you'll forget up to 70% by the time you get home!
  • Don't feel threatened or discouraged by correction. It's not personal. Take advantage of it.
    It's like having a little mini private lesson right there in class, which is rare because of the next point.....
  • There is usually not enough time in classes or workshops to give much personal, one-on-one attention.
    Personal attention is otherwise known as "private lessons". Invest in some.

The Importance of Practice
  • You are given time in class to practice to music the steps being taught. Use it.
  • Practice! Class time is for review and moving forward.
    You need to practice outside of class if you are going to reatain the information and progress.
  • Attend dances - lots of them. Dancing is a skill. Practice is how you get better.
  • Practice in class and at home, even if you don't have a partner.
  • Don't try to avoid your partner's feet. And, don't look down. Your feet follow your body and will take care of themselves. Think about it..... you don't look down when you walk.... do you?

Are you a Good Student?
  • If changing partners, don't try to "teach" or impress that partner with other material you know or think you know.
    Beginners can become confused, intimated and discouraged.
  • There are no stupid questions. Dancing should make sense to you.
    You should understand why you are doing something a certain way, not just because the teacher told you to do it that way.
  • Whispering is rude and distracting to the class.
  • Teaching in someone else's class is even more rude, even if you are a teacher, already know the material, or don’t agree with what’s being taught. It's rude, disruptive and distractive. If you want to teach, and think you are qualified, rent your own space, pay for printing and advertising and, put together your own class.
  • If you have questions, please ask the teacher, not another student in class.
  • If you really don't want feedback or correction, buy a video, stay home and try to figure it out yourself.
  • Be open minded. Every instructor has something to offer - some good, some not so good.
  • You may have learned a different style or way of doing a step somewhere else. Try to incorporate what's being taught into what you already know. Hey, you might even find a better way of doing something.
  • Don't get a big head if you pick up the moves more quickly. As soon as you think you know it all, you stop learning and are no longer teachable. (For example: “I'm and advanced dancer” or “I already know the basics" or "I dance on a performance team" )
  • No one is beyond the basics. Even "advanced" students can improve the most basic steps and material.
    Take a que from the top pros.
  • If you are on the dance floor, you should be dancing. Move it!
  • Don't stand on the floor visiting or "teaching". It's rude to your partner, and you're in the way.
  • No matter how much you push, pull, throw, jerk, shove or flip your partner around, you ain't dancin' if your feet aren't moving in a consistent rhythm than can be recognized and followed. You may think it's fun, until you get hurt or hurt someone else, which is just a matter of time.

Are You Easily Offended?
  • If you think the class isn't moving at the speed for you, or the instructor talks too much, or doesn't explain (talk) enough, try to consider this: In a group class, a good instructor trys to find the "middle ground" with the group. You might find reading
    an actual class critique interesting and enlightening.
  • There are bad apples in all groups. This is also true with dancers and dance instructors. Unfortunately, there are many instructors out there who should not be teaching. Don't judge every instructor by a bad experience with one or two.
  • Give the instructor the same benefit of the doubt that they give you when you enter the class.
  • Everyone has bad hair days, even your instructors. Lighten up! Life is too short!
  • Classes and workshops are meant to be fun as well as informative, and the instructor is there for teaching as well as entertaining. Good, conscientious instructors do not do things to purposefully offend you.
  • We all all different. What may have offended you, may be funny to someone else. You are not the only person in the class.
  • Teachers who teach as a couple often joke around with one another. It's just that.
  • Teachers who teach alone will sometimes joke with students in the class. Again, it's just that.
  • If you feel you have been genuinely offended by something the instructor has said or done, talk with the instructor about it. Exercise tack when confronting the instructor about it. Don't attack.
  • There is a reason (good or not) for why an instructor teaches the way they do. If you don't agree, ask about their approach, motiviation, and why. Their answer should make sense. If not, ask again (don't challenge). "Just because" is not an answer. Good teachers want you to learn and understand for yourself, not just copy them.
Contact Us!
E-Mail - Click Above
Pearce Ballroom • 317 Court Street • Downtown Salem, Oregon
Tele: 503-363-3341

(Next to Great Harvest Bread • Above Academy Hair Design School )

www.rjdance@rjdance.com • e-mail: gottadance@rjdance.com
Mail: PO Box 17377, Salem OR 97305

All Rights Reserved Reproduction or Redistribution Prohibited • Copyright 1999 - 2005 - RJ Dance Studio