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The Arthur Murrays’ Dance Secrets: Exercises To Improve Your Dancing (Part 1)
At every newsstand you will find books of instructions for playing tennis, golf, swimming, and so on. This information is easy to read and digest—but do you feel that you could perform these muscular activities just by knowing about them?
Dancing deals with the muscles, too. You can pick up steps just by watching them—or reading their description… but you will have your knowledge in your head only. Your feet and your body cannot respond to your will and desire alone—your muscles must first be trained to obey your command.
Men who want to be good dancers must learn only their own part—and train their muscles to follow the steps they choose to do. But ladies are in a different position… they must be able to follow many partners—some tall, some short; some with a great variety of intricate steps, some with a weak lead and faltering steps.
The way to become an alert, agile partner—ready to follow anyone, is to train your muscles to obey quickly and to strengthen them to support you in any direction you choose to move.
You cannot dance merely by wanting to—any more than you can be a fine tennis player just because you know the rules and know that the game is fun to play.
To exercise sufficiently takes character and determination. It takes enthusiasm, too. If you really want to be a far better than average dancer—one who is sought out as a partner—you will study these exercises carefully. They are a sure means of training your dancing muscles quickly and effectively. Remember, no one can do it for you… but once you’ve achieved your ambition to be an attractive, popular partner—everyone will envy you.
Here are eight (the first two in this part) exercises for you to use—you will find it more entertaining to do them in front of your mirror, in time with music.
Have you ever wondered why some girls look better standing than others do? Or, have you ever wished that you knew how to stand when someone takes your snapshot?
Count One of this exercise will give you the same standing posture that the best photographers’ models use. Count Two will give you the backstep technique of an exhibition dancer.
To make your feet look well as you stand, train your heels to always come together. The toes should be turned out and the knees should touch each other. Look in your mirror!
On the count of One, bring your heels together so that your knees touch and your toes point outward. Now, on the count of Two, kick your right foot as far back as possible—toe pointed out and leading. Return to correct position of Count One. Repeat this same movement with your left foot and continue in time to slow Foxtrot music.
This is an exercise that will train your feet and ankles to look attractive from any angle. It will teach you to automatically turn your toes outward—a definite “must” for any girl who wants to look well while dancing.
Place your feet together as in Exercise 1. Take a peek in your mirror to see how you’re doing. Then, step backward with your left foot, counting One—draw your right foot up to your left, counting Two.
Now try the same thing with your right foot back.
Repeat this movement, going backward around the room. Don’t forget that your toes must be turned outward.
This back step may seem exaggerated to you… but remember that most of your partners are going to walk you backward very often. You must prepare your muscles to carry you easily.