1. First learn the steps. This is where the body and feet are moving: forward, back, side or diagonally and the number of steps in each direction. Don’t worry about learning arm styling or Latin motion at this point.
  2. Next learn the timing. Some dances are slow, quick, quick such as rumba, bolero, mambo, salsa, silver foxtrot and nightclub 2 step. Other dances have syncopated steps such as swing, cha cha and samba. Fit the steps to the timing.
  3. Next learn how to lead or follow depending on which part of the partnership you are. This is the communication-without-words part of dance. The man needs to learn what “gentle” movements (no man handling, please) he provides that will cause the lady to turn, open to promenade position, step back or swivel. The lady needs to learn to feel the man’s lead through the connection of hands and frame (no noodle arms, please) rather than watching his feet and trying to guess what he is going to do. We often suggest ladies close their eyes so they can learn to “feel” the man’s lead instead of using their eyes to watch his feet. Learning to move with a human being connected to you feels awkward initially, but exhilarating later as you learn to communicate through the partnership connection and move in response to the music as a couple.
  4. Last of all, learn to clean up and fine tune the moves to make them look better, and feel smoother, more efficient and effective. This step often helps to make the dance reflect the characteristic of the dance (the rumba is romantic, the cha cha flirty, the waltz elegant, etc.). Fine tuning will involve improving technique such as Latin motion and use of the ribs, learning how to brush the feet in smooth dances and learning which direction to look and turn the head.