Upgrade Your Social Life: Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango...Oh my!

[Pics: Cathy Smith, a dance student with instructor Josh Jones. Jorge Morales, one of the founders of Academy Ballroom, instructing me on a little salsa. Paul Kemper, a dance student, and I, on the dancefloor. Cathy and another dance student, dancing the night away. *Special thanks to Cathy for being such a great photographer!)

When I walked into Academy Ballroom, I was a little bit skeptical. The room was filled with mostly older people doing what looked to be the waltz. I was under the impression that I was coming to a salsa party, so I was definitely expecting something louder, faster, and more hip. Since I was already there I decided to take a seat and take a look. I had to give it to them, they made this dancing look effortless and classic. Turns out I had arrived on the wrong night if I was looking for a salsa party. This was Academy Ballroom’s Grand Party, a night for dance students and anyone else interested to come together and dance whatever dance the music led them to.

I wasn’t seated long, and didn’t have much time to ponder whether or not I should stay, before an older gentleman asked me to dance. I responded with what became my intro line of the night, “…uh, this is my first time here, so you’ll have to teach me a little bit.” This gentleman, and most of the gentleman there were not put off by my firsttimeness. He started off teaching me the basic step to the tango. Before the night ended, I had learned the basic steps to the tango, rumba, waltz, swing, foxtrot, and salsa.

One way I like to upgrade my social life is to go to something where I will be walking in to a room full of strangers. This night fit the bill. I started off unsure, but after a couple of hours I had danced so much that my calves were talking back to me about it. This may not be the best place to meet Mr. Tender Fine (and I personally haven’t discovered the corner market for where Mr. Tender Fine and his crew tend to hang out. I’ll reportback when and if I do LOL), but it was a great place to don your classy attire, dance the night away, and enjoy an evening of gentleman respectfully holding out there hand to ask you to dance versus coming up behind you and attempting to shake what their mama did and didn’t give them. Check below for the links to Academy Ballroom and some other places you can get your formal dance on.

09/13 – Academy Ballroom Salsa Social. 8:30pm. Cover $10. www.academyballroomatl.com

09/26 – Tango Night at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. 8:00pm. $15 cover for tango lesson and party. www.callanwolde.org

09/27 – Academy Ballroom Salsa Social. 8:30pm. Cover $10.

Next up on my upgrade agenda…salsa, FREE events, and (yeah I said it) sports!


Upgrade Your Social Life: Chicago Step in the Name of Love

I have to admit…I have been frontin'. Every time "Step in the Name of Love" comes on, I hit the dance floor and do something that is trying desperately to pass for Chicago steppin'. I have always wanted to learn how to step for real so I stopped through a stepper's evening sponsored by My Steppers Club, held at the Atlanta Executive Center every third Sunday.

The folks at My Steppers Club, showed me a thing or two about how deceitfully easy Kells and his Chi-town cronies make steppin' look. Special thanks to Sarah and Ron, step class instructors, and to the deejay (whose name I sadly didn't get!) for helping me to review the steps I just learned. Here are some things to note about learning how to Chicago step:

1. You can't make stepping up as you go. It has structure and specific steps. I started off with two: The "push off" and the "full 8."

2. In this dance, the man takes the lead and the lady follows…which is a metaphor that could incite a whole other level of conversation but we'll save that for another blog series. ☺

3. Ladies heels are a must so pick a comfortable pair that you won't mind dancing in most of the night.

4. Practice, practice, practice!

For more steppin' check out this event: Sunday, Sept. 7, Hot Steppin' in Red at the Crowe's Nest Mega-Plex. Free Steppin' Lessons from 7-8pm, open dance floor until 12am. $10 cover. Visit www.classactsteppers.com for more information or call 404.663.9269.

Next social life upgrade…salsa lessons!