Dancing at the School Dance

school dance

The school dance is looming and you have no idea what moves you will shake, much less how to do those moves. Dancing in front of other people can be intimidating, especially if you're already feeling self-conscious. However, there are a few dances you can learn that will help you have enough tricks in your repertoire that everyone else will wonder if you've been dancing for years.

Freestyle Dancing

Freestyle dancing means you make up the moves as you go along. If you've never danced before, you may feel awkward and unsure of what to do on the dance floor. Fortunately, a little practice can help you be more comfortable. Try to practice in front of a full-length mirror if you own one, so you can see which moves look good and which ones need work.

Moves

There are some basic dance moves you can learn that will help you dance to almost any song .

Step-Side-Step

This dance move is simple, and even the most novice dancer can make it look good:

  1. Step right with your right foot.
  2. Pull your left foot to meet your right foot so they are side by side.
  3. Step left with your left foot.
  4. Pull your right foot to meet your left foot so they are side by side.

That's it. You can make this move more advanced by lifting your right hip as you step to the right with your right foot and then lifting your left hip as you step to the left with your left foot.

Bounce to the Beat

Have two left feet?

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart.
  • Bend your knees a bit.
  • Bounce up and down.

Once you're comfortable bouncing up and down, you can move your torso slightly to the left and then the right as you bounce.

Grapevine

The grapevine is a simple dance move that appears in a lot of line dances. The directions below describe a right grapevine. After finishing a right grapevine, repeat the moves to the left. To perform the grapevine:

  • Start with your feet together.
  • Take your right foot and step to the right.
  • Swing the left foot behind the right foot and place it to the right and just slightly behind the right foot.
  • Step to the right with the right foot.
  • Bring the left foot back to the starting position with feet together, but do not set the foot down completely. Instead, you will tap the left foot into place. This also keeps the weight on your right foot so you go right into your left grapevine.

Step Ball Change

A step ball change is another simple dance move that will make you look like you were born on the dance floor.

  • Start with feet together.
  • Step forward with right foot.
  • Bring the foot back to start position, but tap the ball of your foot.
  • Stomp your left foot.
  • Now, step forward with your left foot and repeat the entire process.

You can mix this dance move up by kicking the foot instead of stepping forward or stepping sideways instead of forward.

What to Do With Your Arms

One of the biggest mistakes that novice dancers make is keeping their arms glued to their sides. The first rule to good dancing is to keep your arms away from your body. Try:

  • Lifting both arms over your head
  • Keeping one arm bent and the other straight and then switching them
  • Snapping your fingers
  • Bringing one arm up to your chest and the other straight out the side and then switching
  • Lifting one arm straight over your head and keeping the other arm straight down in front of you and then switching.

Staying on Beat

It's important to listen to the rhythm of the music. You don't want to dance slower or faster than the beat. The beat can be heard in the drums. For most songs played at school dances, the beat is easy to hear. If you're not sure, watch the other dancers for a minute while you sway slightly from side to side and smile at those around you. Once you pick up the beat, you can join in the dance.

Specific Dances

Specific dances that go with a popular song appear frequently at almost any dance event. Fortunately for the inexperienced dancer, they are easy to pick up. Once you know the basic steps, the dance simply repeats.

Cupid Shuffle

The Cupid Shuffle is often played at school dances. The song itself gives you the instructions you need to follow along, telling you when to kick, step right and step left. Even though the dance is simple, the video below will give you ideas of how to jazz it up a bit and let you see how other people perform this dance. You'll want to practice this one, because it's sure to crop up.

Macarena

The Macarena is a dance that has been around since the song by the same title was released in 1994 on the A mi me gusta album by the group Los del Rio. The hand movements in this song are key and it is a typical line dance, where you do a set of moves, turn to the side, repeat the moves and turn again and again until the song is over.

Electric Slide

The Electric Slide is a dance that dates all the way back to the 1970s. However, you'll still see the moves in current line dances or you can incorporate some of them on your own. Below is a video that helps break down all the moves. Once you've learned the basics, you can watch more videos of the electric slide and learn variations.

Gangnam Style

This fun, high-energy dance repeats the same moves, so learning how to jump up and down and where your arms should be placed will prepare you for keeping up with everyone else on the dance floor.

Slow Dancing

It's bound to happen...just when you hit your groove with the Cha Cha Slide, the DJ puts on a slow song and invites the couples to dance. If you've never slow danced before, it can be difficult to know what to do. Don't worry, though. Slow dancing is probably the easiest dancing of the night for most teens. No one expects you to perform like a ballroom dancer, so you don't need to know fancy moves.

Boys typically put their hands at the girl's waist and girls place their arms up on the guy's shoulders. Guys are supposed to lead, but if a guy isn't leading, it's okay for the girl to go ahead and sway slightly from side-to-side and maybe he'll get the idea.

You'll also want to look your dance partner in the eyes and try to have a conversation. It will make the dance goes easier and you'll be less nervous about dancing with another person if you are talking about how much you both love the latest action movie that came out last week.

Confidence Is Key

It's natural to be a little afraid to dance in front of your peers. At some point during the night, you might forget a dance move, not know what to do with your hands, or be off-beat. If you can smile and just keep moving, others are less likely to notice.

A natural tendency when you're nervous is to look down at the floor and bite your lip. This shows everyone around you that you don't know what you're doing and that you're afraid.

Even if it is difficult, lift your head, straighten your shoulders and put a smile on your face. With dance, it's all about body language, so make sure that yours says you are confident and there to have a good time.

Your school dance is about having fun with your friends and letting off some steam. Dance to the songs you like. Take a break if you need one. Most of all, have a good time. You're building memories that will last a lifetime.

Dancing at the School Dance