How to Learn Ballroom Dancing at Home

Andie Rowe
Written by
Last update:

FAQs: Is it Difficult to Learn Ballroom Dancing?

Ballroom dancing is an enjoyable hobby that helps people keep fit, learn the perfect body posture, and even develop the personality. But since you don’t see many people learning ballroom dancing in dancing schools any more, people usually think that it’s a difficult and boring dance style.

Despite what you may have heard or feel about ballroom dancing, it’s actually a great hobby that anyone can enjoy as long as they have some basic knowledge on the basics.

One reason why people sometimes think that ballroom dancing is difficult is that they didn’t find an easy and fast way to learn the basics. However, with a good learning resource, you can learn the basics in no time. The difference between the people who think that ballroom dancing is too difficult and those who enjoy it lies in the type of resource that they use to learn the dances.

A lot of ballroom dancers and dance instructors might tell you that it’s too hard and that there’s really no way to learn without taking classes. But what they don’t know is that if you choose the right ballroom dance resource, learning can actually be easy and fast.

Top Tips for Learning to Ballroom Dance at Home

There are many ways to start learning to ballroom dance. You can attend classes at a studio and they can be pricey. You can search for free ballroom dancing lessons online. Another great way to start is at home with ballroom dance for beginners DVDs with a partner.

The key to dance is to decide to dance. Many dancers start with the right partner, but just the wrong timing. Someone who loves music, and dancing for fun is the best partner for you. Think twice about who to dance with — are they a good dancer? Can they think well on their feet? Are they a fun "dancer" who isn't afraid to foxtrot if the music demands it?

If you know two people who work well together and are interested in ballroom dance for beginners, get them together and dance! The next best option is to find a local dance group that meets once a week. That way you know there's someone to dance with each time.

Additionally, you will learn to dance better if you have a good dance partner. You don't have to become an instant expert overnight. You will do better as you practice more often and with a partner who is better than you. Someone who can tell you what is going wrong, even if it's not flattering, is invaluable to a beginner at ballroom dance.

Find a Partner

The first step you should take before you start learning the steps to ballroom dancing at home is to find a partner. As much fun as it may be to dance with yourself, no matter how well you can choreograph, it’s not nearly as much fun as dancing with a fun person by your side.
Some tips for finding a partner.

Stick to a Decent Level

Make sure you partner is at a similar level of dancing so you can have a successful learning curve together. This is particularly important if you are at different levels because you can be a hindrance to their learning curve and growth.

Match Up

Remember you are going to be dancing with this person, so try to find someone who has a similar sense of style and humor. Try to find someone who can give you absolute support and understanding when it comes to flaws in your technique and make sure you can do the same for them.

Make Sure You Put Equal Effort into the Relationship

Don’t be one of those people who only calls when you need something or who always expects their partner to initiate contact. Put as much effort into the relationship as they are investing into it.

Choose a Style

After you know what you are trying to accomplish, like increasing your confidence before a trip, attending your high school reunion, or really wanting to learn Italian because you love the language so much, you need to decide what style you want to learn.

You can’t just hop around from one style to another, for various reasons. The first is that it takes a lot of practice and time to learn a dance style, as one style is often very different from the other in terms of footwork.

Secondly, once a person learns one style they become familiar with it, allowing them to look for other similarities in style that the practitioner can use to improve their dance.

For instance, if you learn to dance ballroom as a duo and want to learn the cha-cha slide, the difference between the two styles will be so significant that it will be almost impossible to make the transition. However, if you already know how to dance ballroom, than transitioning to the cha-cha is much easier.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important reason you need to stick to one style is because of social dancing and dance competitions. The vast majority of social dancing or competition dancing is done in a particular dance style. It is expected that the person who is dancing with you knows how to dance in that particular style.

Find a Video Class or Tutorial

The number one challenge to learning ballroom dancing is having a reliable teacher. If you don’t have access to a local class but still want to learn to ballroom dance, you can find video content online that will teach you to do a few different dance steps. These videos can be an excellent way to get a good introduction to learning ballroom at home.

If you’re more interested in learning elaborate competition style dances, then you’ll find that most of the tutorials are designed for practice rather than showing off your skills in front of an audience. This step focuses on learning the basics … namely, the fundamental steps, movements, ropes, and turns that you need to know in order to dance confidently in ballroom.

After you’ve done some initial over-the-shoulder learning with video tutorials, you’re going to find that you still need practice. The next step is going to be to get in touch with other dancers in your area and start to get face-to-face lessons.

Find Your Perfect Music

Since there are three different types of latin dances and two different types of ballroom dances, you can choose a variety of different instructors. Consensus holds that at home level beginners should start with basic ballroom dancing. Here’s why.

The standard ballroom dancing that is the basis for all other forms needs to be mastered first. This is because it is the most widely taught type. It is a beginner-friendly way to learn the dance form and get comfortable with the terminology.

Once the basics are clear, moving on to latin dancing is more effective. The reason why standard ballroom is taught first is because the concept of the dance is the same as with latin or ballroom– namely, dance steps to music.

Regardless of whether you take ballroom dancing classes, you will find a variety of kinds of dance audio instruction that you can use on your own. Here are some popular options:

CD/DVD Audio Education

Ballroom and latin dance music CDs and DVDs are great resources. This is especially true of the latin and the ballroom. These types of CDs/DVDs often come with detailed steps featured, demonstrations of several kinds of combinations, and high-quality music.

Private Instruction

Taking ballroom dancing private lessons can be beneficial. However, it will most likely mean a class time commitment that exclusively works for your busy schedule.

Practice

Most people think they need to pay a specialist dance teacher to get better at ballroom dancing and will need a dance studio to take lessons for ballroom dancing from home.

The truth is you don’t need to pay for formal dance lessons to learn how to dance better, and you can learn to dance at home.

Do a little research (ask someone more experienced than you, or look for online dance tutorials) and ask yourself what you specifically want to learn.

Do you want to learn how to do different kinds of ballroom dances? Do you want to learn how to dance to a specific song like the Happy Birthday song?

If you want to complement your ballroom lessons at home with ballroom dance lessons for seniors you can attend any time you need a refresher.

Take Your Dance Class Anywhere

The most important thing about dancing at home is getting used to it. The more familiar you are with dance forms the less likely you are to get embarrassed if you have to go to a large, formal event.

Head to a Class or Social

If you want to learn ballroom dance for personal enjoyment, it’s easy to do at home. You could buy a video lesson, but it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more fun to find a class or go to a social event. There are usually several ballroom dance socials going on at any given time. Check the local newspapers, or ask around at local dance studios or health clubs.
First, find any ballroom dance classes in your area. This could be at a local community college or an exercise studio.

Go to a class or to a social and follow it up by going over the basics. This way, you could learn the basics of how to move and also improve your footwork. Studying the different types of dances will give you an idea of how ballroom dance works visually and rhythmically.

Studying the different types of dances will give you an idea of how ballroom dance works visually and rhythmically. But you can’t really get to the fun part (socializing with others in ballroom dance) without putting in some hard work! In fact, you can learn to do ballroom dance without taking a class.