• Ross Millar

7 Most Commonly Heard Phrases In Dance Class

During the last 5 and a half years, I have had the pleasure of teaching Ballroom and Latin to adults and children, ranging from beginner level, all the way to top competitors. During this time, I have noticed familiar phrases either spoken by myself or my pupils, so have decided to compile a list of my top 7 most commonly heard phrases! Let me know if you think any of the below apply to you, or if you think of any others!


1. 'Not Bad'


Meaning: I have realised over the years that this is my personal go to phrase after watching a couple or group class execute a dance! Almost a begrudging compliment, you are inferring that though the dance wasn't done badly, it could have been done better. With more practice on the dance, this phrase might progress to - 'Not bad at all,' 'That was better' or even if you are feeling very generous, 'Very nice.'


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2. 'I Can Dance It With You'


Meaning: A couple is struggling to perfect a move after a few attempts and begin to get exasperated at not only the step, but themselves and eventually, you. After taking the lady or the gent by themselves for a few moments, dancing the step with them successfully much to their delight/bemusement, the 'I can dance it with you' phrase is usually uttered! I then counter this with either 'if I had a pound for every-time I heard that' or if in a group class context, 'So the men can dance it on their own and so can the ladies....so in theory their should be no problems!' This phrase may progress to - 'I think I'll ditch him/her and dance with you instead.'


3. 'Sorry'


Meaning: This phrase is my personal pet-hate. Dance studios are a place of learning and progressing. We all get things wrong from time to time, especially when you have someone stood an inch in front of you! No need to apologise, just try again and learn from the mistake.


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4. 'The Other Left/Right Foot'


Meaning: You have your pupil in a loose hold and instruct them to begin the dance with their left foot. You count them in and they proceed to then start the dance with their right foot, leading to either a stubbed toe, bruised shin or a collapse to the floor. Whilst you try and suppress a grimace due to the pain of your throbbing big toe, rather than berate the pupil who is clearly embarrassed, a simple and humorous, 'I meant the other left foot,' usually breaks the tension.


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5. 'From The Start, Start'


Meaning: You are working on a particular section of a dance with a group class or couple and now want them to try from the beginning of the dance. You say to the class, 'let's go from the start,' to which their reply may be, 'from the start of this section or from the start of the dance?' A nice and easy, 'from the start, start' usually sorts out the problem! This phrase may progress to, 'from the top' or if you wish to humorously confuse your pupil, 'I would like you to start from the start, start of side 1, into side 2, which used to be your old side 1 and then finish with the new section, which will be become your new side 1 but is currently side 3.'


6. '5, 6, 7, 8'


Meaning: As a dance teacher, you spend most of your time demonstrating to your pupils your ability to count up to 8, sometimes in a foreign language for added intelligence. Whether a Quickstep or a Jive, a good old, '5, 6, 7, 8' can get your class to go on time together. This phrase may progress to, 'Ready....and,' or for expert level of timing in Samba, 'Right, ok so your timing is, 1 a 2, 3 and a 4, bom de-de bom, ba da ba, chi-chi boom. Got it?'


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7. 'Just One More Time'


Meaning: We all know what this one actually means!!


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