Let’s Dance to study Hustle, Cha Cha in November

Let’s Dance classes in November will be Beginning Hustle from 6:30 to 7:50 p.m. and Intermediate Cha Cha from 8 to 9:20 p.m. on Tuesdays, Nov. 4, 11, 18 and 25.

We will also have Sunday practice sessions at which the dancers can get additional help from Deb on Nov. 9, 16, 23 and 30. The beginning practice session on Sunday will be from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and the intermediate practice session will be from 4 to 5:30.

By tailoring the speed and content of each class to the skill level of the participants involved, the dancers will be challenged to learn something new without being overwhelmed or bored. Check with Deb at 731-3338 if you are not sure at which level you should enroll.

The Nov. 30 practice session will also present the opportunity for students to “check out” on the month’s lessons. By working one-on-one with Deb, the student has the opportunity to get what amounts to a private lesson and earn a percentage grade and receive a frameable certificate signifying their accomplishment. Feel free to bring your own refreshments to the Sunday practices.

Classes cost $20 per person for the month, which includes all classes, practice sessions, and the checkout opportunity. If you are unsure if you want to sign up for the whole month or know you will miss some of the classes, you may also pay by the class at $7 per person per class.

All Let’s Dance sessions meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave. There is no need to pre-register but please arrive 10 minutes early to register. Classes must start on time because we are holding two classes each night. Although it is helpful to register with a partner, it is not necessary as there is usually a close match between men and women and we will rotate dance partners during the evening. Wear comfortable clothing and well-fitting shoes that have smooth or split leather soles, something that won’t leave black marks or mud. Shoes with rubber soles or lugs are inappropriate and difficult to dance in.

For more information call Deb Aspen at 731-3338 or e-mail her at instep@centurytel.net.

About the dances

Hustle is the fusion of Swing and Disco that began in the ’70s and is usually danced to disco music with a strong bass beat, although it can be danced to some Cha Cha tunes as well. It is a fast, smooth-looking dance with the lady spinning almost constantly while her partner draws her close and send her away. Turns, spins and wraps are primary components to the Hustle with the more accomplished dancers using syncopated timing and fakes along with elaborate arm styling. Dancing With The Stars has just added the Hustle to its repertoire of dances so watch for some exciting dance ideas there.

Cha Cha is an exciting syncopated Latin Dance that originated in the 1950s as a slowed down Mambo. It gathers its personality, character, rhythm, basis, and charm from several major dance sources. It is a derivation of the Mambo through its Latin Music. It is also a stepchild of the Swing, as it is danced to its triple-step, step-step rhythm, and additionally, incorporates the Cuban Motion from the Rumba. Cuban in origin, the lively Cha Cha rhythm is found in much of today’s popular music.

Ballroom tips

This month’s dances incorporate a lot of turning and it is important that the partners know how to maintain hand contact during a turn.

It is common for beginning dancers to try to rigidly grip their partner’s hand during a turn, especially when performing a fast dance, because they think their partner will fly away if they don’t hold on tightly. Holding on tightly can instead lead to injury because the hands need to rotate during the turn and, if constrained by a tight grip, the rotation is transferred to the wrist, elbow or shoulder which are not designed to absorb the stresses induced.

The proper way to hold the hands during a turn is to not hold the hands at all but rather to maintain contact and pressure between the hands using the dance frame to maintain pressure and allow the fingers to slide past each other as the bodies rotate. This is easier to demonstrate than describe. It also helps for the man to place his hand around which the woman will turn in the proper position above the woman’s head to serve as a reference point around which the woman can turn freely.