Can I Learn Ballroom Dancing from a DVD?

  • Today you have more choices than ever about how and when you study ballroom dancing. There are the varied dance studios in your area, hundreds if not thousands of DVD’s are available to purchase or rent, and a whole host of streaming video on dance websites as well. Learning from a pre-recorded video has its advantages and it may be a great way to start with little commitment of time or money, but it has its drawback, too. Let’s look at both.

    Pro’s For Learning Ballroom Dancing by DVD or Online

    • Cost – Aside from attending a free dance and trying to follow along, this is by far the least expensive way to learn how to ballroom dance. DVD’s cost around $20 for a 45 – 50 minute lesson. Used DVD’s, rentals and the use libraries bring the cost even lower. If you are unsure whether you will like ballroom dancing and want a minimal initial investment, DVD’s may be for you.
    • Private – You can’t get more private than learning ballroom dancing in your own living room.
    • Move at your own pace – Ballroom dancing DVD’s give you the option to pause, rewind, and fast forward. If you miss something you can watch it as many times as you like. Alternately, if the pace is moving too slowly for you can zip ahead to more difficult moves. That’s something you can’t do in a dance class!
    • World-Renowned Instructors – Ballroom dancing DVD’s give you access to the advice of world-class instructors. Your local instructors are likely terrific, and can probably teach you all you’ll need to know, but there is something inspiring about learning from the best of the best!
    • Your own time – You can take dance lessons whenever you have the time.  6 am or midnight, the DVD waits for you. You can even take half a dance lesson, go to work, and come home  to take the other half.

    Con’s of Learning Ballroom Dancing by DVD or Online

    • Feedback – Ballroom DVD’s provide no feedback on how you’re doing. Even if you have a mirror on the wall, keeping one eye on the TV and one eye on the mirror still won’t give you the feedback that a professional will. It’s also a distracting way to dance!
    • Isolation – One of the great things about ballroom dancing is that it is an art of collaboration. Dance classes are motivating, stimulating, and a lot of fun. Standing alone in your living room doesn’t provide the same feeling and can be less fun.
    • Partner You need a partner! You can only go so far memorizing basic steps. If you are working with a partner, it is awkward for both of you to face the TV at the same time, and without a professional’s feedback you will be left to coach each other. Not ideal for two beginners!

    The bottom line is that instructional dance DVD’s offer a unique, if limited, way to learn basic movements in ballroom dancing. They are probably best used by someone tentative about diving in to dance classes or someone with an extremely limited budget. They can be a handy tool to reinforce things learned in class, a way to catch up if you’re falling behind in your class, or as a way to clarify something that has been giving you trouble. Online resources provide video snippets and basic information such as a dancer’s glossary that will be useful for someone studying dance, but is of little use to someone who has no outside instruction.

    Search for Ballroom dancing DVD’s online and you’ll find a vast array of sources. DVD’s are classified by instructor, by dance style, and by specialization such as Turn Techniques, Cuban Motion, and Partner Positions.  You’ll also discover free streaming videos on ballroom dance sites and communities such as MySpace and YouTube.