About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
To many people even the idea of dancing, especially with a partner, is intimidating. Yet dancing has been a part of our lives even before we’re born. While still in our mother’s womb, we are constantly reacting to the beat of her heart. Whenever she moves or changes body positions, we frequently respond by adjusting ours. Then, long before our eyes open or focus, our nervous system is commanding our legs and arms to respond to sounds and movements it continues to perceive internally and externally.
As our vision clears and we can make out the images of those who whistle, sing or baby talk to us, what do we do? We shake our limbs, we bob our heads, roll our eyes. We dance!
There are many different forms and styles of dance. All of them share two common elements. One is a physical reaction to music we enjoy listening to. The other is the use of the body as a tool to communicate that enjoyment. When two people are able to merge those two common elements while following a sequence of predetermined steps and moves, they’re forming a rhythmic partnership. They are partner dancing.
There are various forms of partner dancing. Each has its own levels of proficiency. Social dancing is the first level of what is traditionally known as ballroom dancing. Not all traditional ballroom dances fit into a social mode. Some need a lot of space to be danced correctly, something you won’t find in most nightclubs or halls where weddings and other parties might be held. If after reading this book, you become inspired to go beyond the social level, you’ll have all the ingredients you need, because the fundamental elements are the same in social and competitive ballroom dance.
Personally, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to bring dance into people’s lives. Dance has been a part of my entire life. My own first dance lesson took place when I was about ten years old in Havana, Cuba, my native country. My teacher was my family’s best dancer, my father. At parties he was often called “the mambo dancer.” The many times I watched him dance with my mother remain the most memorable moments of my childhood. In much later years, when my parents would come to see me perform on stage or in ballroom dance competitions, they never ceased to give me pointers. Although I had progressed beyond the social level of dance, they were still the masters; they had the ability to communicate and express each other’s love for dance on the floor, the ability to have fun dancing even if all you know is a couple of steps. That ability is what distinguishes a good dance partner from an unforgettable one.
Once you achieve that sense of communication between you and your dance partner, you’ll never want to stop learning more steps, techniques, and styles. Everything you’ll find in this book and its DVD is designed to get you started, to get your mind and body to think, “Let’s dance.” But my real objective is to get you hooked on dancing because I know that once you know you can dance, you’ll want to continue learning. You’ll never stop dancing.