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Author Topic: An evening at your social studio....  (Read 1641 times)
elisedance
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« on: April 26, 2009, 07:50:27 AM »

We all talk about social dancing - but there are big regional and local differences.  What happenes during a typical evening of dancing at your studio/ballroom?

We have several ballrooms here - dance places that do not have their own studio (with private lessons etc).

My favorite here is called 'The Westway' and is in a single-story, light industry building outside Toronto.  Its a large, competition-sized dance floor with a raised diaz for the DJ.  Entry is $15 per person (including dinner).  The evening starts with half an hour of ballroom (its virtually all international style here) - its the best time as there are few people there and we can go all out.  The DJ then alternates between ballroom/latin and line dancing.  The latter is very popular and the floor is usually almost full.  During the mid-evening section the floor can get very crowded and its a time to just have fun while practising floorcraft (er, avoiding incoming out of control dancers!).  At about 9 pm people line up for dinner - which is simple but usually quite good - certainly a deal for the entry cost.  There is unlimited tea and coffee too and a bar if anyone wants it (few dancers drink). 

Dinner time is another great time to dance with most people distracted and a few couples dance almost as if its a show case.  There is usually one paso doble piece each night and the same three couples strut their stuff to the delight of the rest.  Dancing goes on till the wee hours but I never see them Smiley

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Lioness
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 07:57:08 AM »

At our class socials we have an hour of beginner instruction, half an hour of intermediate instruction, and then a 2 hour dance with all ballroom, new vogue, and latin sequences.

At Cabarets and balls there is no instruction. They start at around 7 and it's BYO supper for your table. We generally start off with ballroom and new vogue, with a few latin sequences. As the night goes on it's more of an even mix.
The sequences are interspersed with 'Modern Brackets' for the people who don't dance sequence. Usually we'll have a Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Viennese, Cha Cha, and Rumba.

We have free tea, coffee, water, and cordial, and the dance doesn't usually end until 11.30-12ish. At the end there aren't many people there and so the floor is freed up. At one of the really popular venues it gets so crowded: it's quite a big floor and we still have 2 or 3 lanes.

Not many people dance the tangos or the quicksteps, so there is a relatively spacious floor in them, but the waltz is shocking for floorcraft - there are so many people that just do not know the meaning of the word
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QPO
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 08:05:51 AM »

Well we can go to the same one as Lioness but there are others they are increasing their charge to $12.00 and $15.00 and I see there is one that is $20. No food you bring your own. No drinks either. The floors are generally very crowded and as previously discussed the floorcraft is appalling. There are a couple of dancers where it is more civilized. I think I will now choose to stay home instead of taking anything.

There is a Thursday Dance on now and that is more civilized and I see that a lot of the comp dancers are starting to go to that..

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cornutt
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 01:36:21 AM »

At our studio, Friday night starts with group classes at 7:00 PM.  There's usually three -- newcomer, beginning bronze, and intermediate bronze.  That ends just before 8:00, and social dancing begins after a very short break.  They introduce the instructors, so that everyone knows who they are, and then dancing starts.  Music is continuous until 9:00, at which point there is a 10-minute break.  During the break there are announcements and door prizes, and sometimes it ends with one or two spotlight dances.  Then, general dancing cranks back up until party-over time, which is usually 10:00, although they sometimes go a bit later if there are still a lot of people there. 

Music is evenly divided between smooth and rhythm.  Waltzes, foxtrots, swings, and rumbas predominate, with some cha-chas, mambos, salsas, tangos, country two-steps, and boleros.  There are usually two sambas, during which we also have a line dance as an alternate for those who don't dance samba.  Once or twice per night there will be VW, quickstep, and hustle.  Last Friday we had a nightclub two-step for the first time in a while.  At some point during the first hour, there is a mixer dance.  We've experimented with several things and what seems to work best is a foxtrot mixer, where men line up along one side wall and women along the other one, and the two lines meet in the middle of the end wall.  When you get to the front of the line, you partner up with whoever is at the front of the opposite line, and dance to the other end of the room.  Then you drop that partner off and get back in line.  We play two songs in a row for this, so everyone gets at least three dances depending on how many people participate.  Some nights we also do a swing snowball. 

We have snacks and soft drinks, which are free.  We used to have wine also, but the owners got concerned about liability issues with that.  There is a fridge for anyone who wants to bring their own food and drinks.  The room does tend to get warm, especially in the summer, so we go through water and drinks. 

The crowd is usually largest between 8:15 or so (as soon as the late arrivals show up) and the break.  People gradually start leaving after the break, and it thins out a bit.  For most of the night, it's usually too crowded to dance "big"; if you're going to do that, you need to do it right at the start, or wait until near the end.  Since most of the seating is at one end of the room, everyone tends to start their smooth dances at that end fo the floor.  What I try to do sometimes is get out on the floor ahead of where everyone else starts for a waltz or foxtrot; that way, I get one lap of silver in before I catch up to the pack and have to switch to bronze.  Floorcraft is generally good, though. 

Admission is $10 per couple for the social only, or $20 for both the group and the social.  People who have purchased club memberships get in free.
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2009, 06:04:25 AM »

sounds like a great atmosphere C and I love the variety of dances and the mixers.  Here if you ran a mixer I think there would be a revolution. 

Is there no International style at all?  What about competitors?
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ttd
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 01:29:13 PM »

Our local studio has just closed. The new one will be opening in about a month, but I expect the social format will remain the same. It had an intro class start at 7pm, the a 2-hour party with a quick break sometime half-way for announcements.

There is a bigger studio about 35 minutes away, but I don't like going there, they do too much country western and line dances for my liking.
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MusicChica
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2009, 03:17:33 PM »

Our studio, the top competitive studio in the country for the past 7-8+ years running, holds their "big" weekly socials on Saturday nights.  There's also a smaller party on Sunday afternoons, but that's geared a bit more towards beginners.

The Saturday night socials cost $17 (yeah, it's a bit pricey, I can't afford to go every week) and include your choice of either a beginner or intermediate group class covering one dance (for April the dance was cha-cha, not sure what it'll be for May yet) starting at 7pm and lasting through 8pm.  A lot of people--like me--don't go for the group class and instead arrive around 8pm when the social starts.  Dancing goes from 8-10:30, with a break around 9-9:15 for announcements.  Immediately after announcements, they have a 3-song foxtrot mixer, which most people participate in.

The studio also provides light snacks and sodas, usually something salty and something sweet, along with one hot dish over a burner (chicken nuggets, taquitos, pizza bites, etc.).  The crowd starts to thin out around 10pm, and there's usually a group that goes out somewhere else after the social's over with.  In the past, we've gone to a disco that has a lighted dance floor like Saturday Night Fever, but the past few weeks they've gone to a local hotel that was apparently hosting a dance of their own--I haven't been to that one, so I can't report on it.

The floor is large, roughly competition-sized in between 2 poles that sit in the center of the floor; cornutt can attest to the fact that those poles, I swear to God, have a magnetic force field around them!  You'd swear they jump out at you from nowhere.  On the other side of one of the poles, there's a small area for seating (there's also seating on the long side of the floor and in the back of the room), the DJ booth, and a small hallway with a couple offices and the kitchen, leading to the junior ballroom.  On the other side of the opposite pole is a half-round with curtains that run parallel to the pole so the area can be roped off for group classes or lessons when there's something else going on in the main ballroom.  All in all, we've probably got the floor area of 2 competition floors, although they're not laid out as a large whole.

Since the studio is so large, there are probably 100+ people that attend on any given Saturday, which, as I mentioned on another thread, doesn't necessarily translate into constant dancing.  Because there are so many people there, most people tend to stick to their small group of friends and mainly dance with them--it would be next to impossible to make a full circuit and dance with everyone.  The floor is crowded for waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, samba, rumba, and ECS/WCS, less so for tango, bolero, mambo, and hustle, and very few people do VW or quickstep.  David Hamilton usually plays one or two nightclubs, and one two-step.  He's almost religious about playing one Smooth song, and then one Rhythm/Latin song, so we usually end up with more Smooth overall since hustle, WCS, and country dances get grouped in with Rhythm and Latin.
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 10:24:42 PM »

thanks for the detaile account MC - I can feel the studio Smiley  When its that large how do you meet people - from C's dancing accounts it seems its also very friendly....
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2010, 01:14:59 PM »

I must say I really enjoy things here in Atlanta.

As far as the studios go:

1) Atlanta Ballroom Dance Center has a weekly Friday social ($12 w/ snacks and goodies, some sweet things along with fruits and veggies). There's 2 Foxtrot mixers per night (which I actually enjoy), plus a good mix of Standard/Smooth, Latin, Rhythm, Hustle and even the occasional Polka and some Two-Step. The crowd starts thinning about 10:45 or so (officially it runs from 8: 30 to 11pm with a beginner lesson at 8  in a different dance every week)  It's become one of my regular haunts. ABDC also hosts the monthly Atlanta Metro Dancesport party first Saturday of the month which is really fun, very similar in makeup but with many more people, same hours too. Samba line-dance is very popular here too.

2) Daza Dance just opened up a Buckhead location (at the former site of Take Hold). The pre-opening party was very fun, here they tend to slant more toward a younger demographic musically but not exclusively. A lot of the same dances but with bachata added in(couple and a line-dance version). $10 admission after 9:30 pm, $7 before then. A small bar and snacks are served.  There's a group lesson @ 8 I think.  They also have Monday night Salsa parties.

3) Academy Ballroom (across the street from Daza Buckhead) hosts a monthly social by a couple who used to have their own studio (until they hit a bad luck streak of getting tossed out of their space due to redevelopment or demolition of building) under the name of Dance City Ballroom, similar deal to the 2 aforementioned but really nicely catered food, $12 ($10 for Atlanta Metro Dancesport members). Lenn gives a 1 hour beginners lesson from 8-9pm, and from 9-11 a fun mix of Standard/Smooth, Latin, Swing and Hustle.  Academy itself has weekly Salsa shindigs (Fridays usually, I think I'll try one out soon).The room at Academy is a bit odd to me, it's L shaped, walls painted a dark purple and 4 posts running through the center of the room (GRRRR, file that one under major pet peeve) On the plus side, there a great little room off to the side with comfy couches and where snacks and drinks are served.

And while not a studio, The Atlanta Ballroom Dance Club has a great monthly social @ the K of C hall on Buford Highway. Very similar to the others with a performance thrown into the package. Beginner lesson on a different dance very month for an hour and the rest of the night they turn you loose until about 11:30pm



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elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2010, 03:12:09 PM »

Wow, are you spoiled!  We actually have quite  a choice but its been a while since I checked them out - we tend to go just to one place thats a dance hall and 'low-maintenance' (pay your way in, dance, eat, dance some more and leave).
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emeralddancer
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 05:35:03 PM »

First let me say

Atlantic Ballroom really has some fantastic social dancing especially if people did not feel so 'intimidated' that the studio is known for it's competitive bent.

The people that come here LOVE to dance and they love to dance with everyone. Like any studio, I think 'newbies' tend to feel like they do not get asked to dance. To be fair, people are just shy to ask someone they do not know to dance. However, that being said, the regulars do dance if asked.

Ok so .... here is my take on the socials I have attended or do attend fairly regularly.

1. Atlantic Ballroom - by far my favorite (and yes I am a bit biased to this place)
a. Quality of dancing is fantastic here. so if you are a beginner, you get some quality dancing in with seasoned dancers. If you are a seasoned dancer you get the same!
b. Everyone is very friendly and kind.
c. Reasonably priced.
d. FREE parking on a large level lot
e. No stairs to get to ballroom, all level and easily accessible to those that may have some special needs.
f. LARGE dancefloor.
g. GREAT sound system
h. They are wonderful about playing requests for dances
i. The crowd is all ages. A mix of teens to adults.
j. Polina and Igor like to talk to everyone and make sure everyone is well taken care of and having a good time.
k. EVERYONE is so very helpful. Just ask. =)
l. EAST access, easy to find, right off major highway.

Swing Time Ballroom
VERY VERY friendly and very very social. They owner is a sweet heart. A good homey crowd. Dancing here is just fun fun fun!
A wee bit harder to find and some problems with the building. (Landlord of building is none to great) FREE parking.

Promenade
Love it here. Good mix of people and music. Easy to find also free parking. Everyone from college to adults. Dances going on all week. Cindy the owner is dancer and not a teacher. she knows what we want as dancers and caters to us. Love her.

Friday Night Swing
at the Towson Armory. Free parking. BEAUTIFUL floor. live bands and DJ. all ages. nice nice people. for the dancers by the dancers. =) a bit harder to find as building is tucked back off of Joppa road in a busy part of towson, md.

Actually no place I have been to has there been people that are not nice. everyone is most accommodating. level of dance quality can be a hit or miss. but then again i am really spoiled with my studio.
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 11:14:41 PM »

With a somewhat different twist, Waltz Play is a group that does weekly Sunday afternoon dance events with lessons beforehand @ the Knights of Columbus Hall on Buford Highway.

www.waltzplay.org

The dances are mostly Waltz @ different styles and tempos ranging from country to Cajun to old-timey turn of the last century style and ragtime with creativity encouraged, other dances included are Tango, Salsa, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing and One Step (which is a HOOT!), and Peabody has been known to show up occasionally.

This has probably been the most fun group of folks I've danced with to date.



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