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The Arthur Murrays’ Dance Secrets: How To Achieve Perfect Carriage
It is annoying to be told to “stand up straight”. Yet, we all envy the appearance of those with good posture. When a person wants to look his best, they automatically lifts their head and stand tall and erect. There is no trick to achieving perfect carriage—it’s easy to learn. Then, once it becomes a habit, it is yours forever.
An army man needs no uniform to display his soldierly bearing. Through practice, he has developed fine posture. You can tell at a glance that he’s a military man.
Dancing, like military training, accustoms the body to fall in line, without the necessity of effort or reminders. Very few people can train themselves to adopt good posture, by willpower alone. If you walk along the street and think: “I must stand more erect”—you do so, but for a few moments only. As soon as you stop thinking about it, you slump back into your old ways.
But when you take up a new muscular activity, such as dancing, which constantly requires correct posture, you have the chance of a lifetime to replace old, faulty habits with new and good ones. It is a good idea to practice new dance steps in front of a mirror—your reflection will prompt you to adopt an attractive and flattering position. Before you know it, good posture will come quite naturally to you.
Dancing needs soul—not soles. You have seen couples whose feet fairly fly. That’s fun! If they can do it, you can, too. Practice will put wings on your feet.
Pumping your arms or flouncing your elbows betrays an unconscious attempt to keep time to the music because your feet can’t do it. Train yourself to be nimble and quick—don’t accept substitutes!
Swaying the body from the hips is fine for high school calisthenics. A good dancer moves from the hips down.
A rose by any other name would be just as lovely—provided it has an upright stem to show it off. To droop is to wilt… keep your head and shoulders up.
Good dancers float through the air—but they do it through training and practice. It can’t be done by sheer luck or sheer dresses. A smiling glance in yoru direction may mean amusement—not admiration.
Rising too high on your toes will make you look and feel tense and stiff. Try walking around the room, perched unnaturally high on your toes—do you like the effect?
This is “for men only”! A lady dresses to suit you—not to be spread-eagled over your suit. Avoid deep dips and brusque or sudden motions. She’s dressed for dancing, not for wrestling.
Do not bend your knees any more in dancing than in walking. A bent knee may make the wrong impression on your partner.
Placing your feet apart will give you a firm stance in golf—but too firm a stand for dancing. Plant your feet in neat rows, close together, and you’ll harvest a crop of admiration.
Heavy, heavy, hangs the partner who cannot lift feet from floor. If you drag along—or scrape—or hug the floor; you cannot float or glide. Practice new steps by exaggerating the lifting motion of your feet.
Above all, be natural. Remember that the other dancers are busy enjoying themselves, not looking to criticize you. Let yourself go with the music and your partner.