How To

It’s party time! Or how your PC can help you dance

Francesca Migliorini


Party timeSo the weekend is here and you would like to leave all the stress of the week behind you. What’s better than going dancing then? Salsa and ballroom dancing sound fun and stress-free. It’s something we are all tantalized by, but there so many excuses for not actually doing it. Surely not knowing any dance step is a valid justification. For all shy people who wouldn’t attend a course because they feel clumsy, I’ve decided to look around, seeking how our computers can help us improve our confidence and dance skills.

There are loads of videos and web sites you can find online, but let’s start with something you can download and install on your computer. James introduced us to Stepmania and Dance with his post ‘Go dancing on your PC’. When I tried the new version of Dance, I found it rather difficult to follow. Basically, what you have is a representation of you and your partner’s shoes moving on the dance floor. It’s true that there are many different steps to choose from, but there is no music associated. You have to download midi files manually and there is no way to link them to the relative steps.

Although the graphics are rather poor, I’ve found Salsa shine very useful. You have several salsa figures and steps, listed in increasing difficulty. What I’ve found of extreme utility is the slow motion function, which allows you to see movements better. This is the real advantage of a PC course and something you wouldn’t even get from a real class with an instructor . In fact, when taking courses , I’ve always found it difficult to understand exactly where I have to place my feet because teachers move so fast. Instead in this application the teacher is facing the same way as you, so that if he moves the left foot, you don’t have to think of which foot you have to move. It’s simply the left one! I know this may sound silly, but when figures get complicated I can assure you it eases things a lot. With the slow motion, you can finally see exactly where you have to place your foot, saving you some trouble and your partner from bruises.

Looking online there are several resources which may help you improve your style and general knowledge on how to dance. While I’m curious to know what your favorite sites are, I listed the ones which I think can be of some use.

  • Dario’s Tango Guide – a bi-monthly video blog to help improve your dancing. Only for wannabe latin lovers, it’s clear, but it starts from the basic steps and has very good video quality.
  • Ballroom Dancers – a collection of international and American style dances, from Walts to Foxtrot. Videos are a bit small, but the database of steps is comprehensive enough for you to be able to attend your “debutantes” ball.
  • Learn to Dance – Free online dance lessons with some theory and basic text lessons. The video clips unfortunately have such a poor quality that it’s difficult to really understand what to do.
  • How to Belly Dance – Be bold and learn how to belly dance, with tips on basic belly dancing moves and techniques, in this free video series of dancing lessons.
  • Disco Dance Steps – It’s now time for your Saturday Night Fever sequence.


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