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Elevating Your Skills: Mastering Ballroom & Latin Dance for a Confident, Charismatic Future

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

I’ve been dancing Ballroom and Latin American since I was a little boy. The culture in Cape Town is where you were not judged, figuratively speaking, for being a male dancer. In recent years, this has changed - in my opinion.

The feedback is that dancing is for sissies or it is very feminine. The amount of times that I’ve heard things like ‘my dad doesn’t want me to dance’ - or something along those lines - is indicative of the perspective people have. In every single culture, dance, for both genders, is an integral part of their society along with music, costumes or clothing, language, and other aspects. If you look at any culture, there are both males and females dancing. Look at Portuguese culture, African, Afrikaans, Lebanese, Russian, Chinese,… The list is endless. I cannot understand or agree with the perception that it is feminine. The only inkling of that perspective, in my opinion, could possibly be derived from ballet dancing. Males are in tights and generally have a softer approach to movement; this does not make it feminine! So that is definitely not always the case.

This leads me back to the topic of this article – which is Ballroom and Latin American dancing. The positive aspects of this beautiful genre of dance far outweighs the negative. One learns to be a gentleman or lady, one learns to be competitive, to be strong physically and mentally and learnt to adapt to various situations in the competition as well as a training environment.

The gender-based violence situation in South Africa is sometimes cause it as being the silent pandemic that we are dealing with and have to face on a day-to-day basis. Millions of ladies in South Africa have to deal with men not understanding no treating women with did you respect that they deserve. In my personal experience, young boys often are awkward and uncomfortable around people of the opposite sex. Couple dancing will help to address this and teach them how to navigate those situations. One learns to dress well, appreciate music, get opportunities to interact with people from various backgrounds and cultures and to touch and interact with people of the opposite sex in a kind and respectful way.

The skill level required to dance Ballroom and Latin American dancing at a high level rivals any other art or sport. The technical intricacies are aspirational and the level of concentration needed to master your body movement along with moving with another body does not come easy to anyone and takes years of training to attain even a taste of expertise in this area.

We all watch programs such as Dancing With The Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, World of Dance, and other dance programs in awe and admiration of what people can do. We follow the journey of training and improvement and, ultimately, defeat or glory. We realise and understand visually and intellectually just how difficult it actually is. Yet, we have this bias towards it. For the life of me, I cannot understand why peoples perceptions have not changed or improved - especially in South Africa.

I truly believe that the discipline, dedication and artistry that you learn through dancing in general, and specifically to Ballroom and Latin American dancing skills that you can use anywhere in life and will add value to society. Perhaps my perception and perspective is too dated for this generation. Perhaps wanting people to be gentlemen ladies and to perhaps have some chivalry is asking too much. Perhaps wanting to add some value to society we boys can be taught and guided how to be strong man but still be gentle in the approach isn’t something that people really want.

From a business perspective, the parallels in couple dancing and enterprise are endless. One learns to lead without pushing or pulling people. One learns to understand and control Your body language.

You learn about putting in the hard work exponentially and reap the proceeds and attain the glory in a finite experience. One trains for hours and days and weeks and even months for a few minutes on that dance floor. We learned to groom ourselves and take care and pride in our appearance. Your dress in character for the role that you’re playing just like in business.

I don’t want to teach Ballroom and Latin American dancing because I want to train provincial, national or even international champions only. Not everybody wants to go that route. But to disregard it as a valuable skill to learn because it is dancing, is highly shortsighted and ignorant. I want to teach dancing for reasons mentioned above and because my heart says that this is a valuable and the decades that I’ve spent training in this field proves that. Internationally, couple dancing is highly popular and people dance for fun, finance, and fulfilment. Yet people are dancing every week for that moment of escape and then you have people dancing every waking moment of every day to master the craft.

Whatever your reason is, whether it be for or against Ballroom and Latin American dancing under the umbrella of couple dancing, I hope that you would reconsider, perhaps improve, or perhaps change if you need to, change your mind.

There is no time like the present so take the plunge. What do you have to lose?

Written by Quintus Jansen

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