Questions and Advice

What is the Difference between Ballroom dancing and Modern Sequence Dancing (MSD)?

In Ballroom and Latin American Dancing couples dance their own routine of steps in the order they wish – with the man leading.

In MSD all couples dance the same routine of steps – for 16 bars of music at which point the sequence (hence the name) is repeated until the end of the music.

Each sequence of steps or dance has its own name and there are (literally!) thousands of different sequence dances all using basic Ballroom, Latin American & Classical dance steps.

 

So MSD covers a wide range of dance rhythms?

All different rhythms and styles of dance are covered – Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quick Step, Rumba, Jive, Samba, Cha Cha, Mambo, Saunter, Gavotte, Two Step, Glide, even Salsa, there are countless different sequence dances for all these dance styles.

 


If the dances are all performed in a set sequence doesn’t this make it rather repetitive and limited?

No – quite the reverse. Because there are so many different dances (and new dances emerge virtually every month) there is a tremendous variety of dances.

In Sequence dancing the dancers progress the sequence in an anti-clockwise manner around the floor. As everyone is doing the same sequence the requirement for floor craft (and the level of concentration required to avoid collisions!) is reduced. Dancers do not need to choreograph their own sequence and as everyone is doing the same set sequence it is relatively easy to follow.

 

What sort of Music is used in MSD?

All types – from elegant and traditional waltzes to recent chart releases, like Imelda May.

 

So once you know the basic steps can you choreograph your own dances?

There are a number of inventive dance competitions held during the year with qualified dance teachers creating and scripting their own dances. The winning dances then flow onto the general dance scene worldwide following the competitions offering new opportunities for all dancers to learn and expand their repertoire of dances.

 

Sounds good so how can I get started?

To learn sequence dancing it’s helpful to know the basic dance steps of Ballroom/Latin American Dancing, but if you are a raw beginner, then why not visit your local dance school and join a class, perhaps have a few private lessons to help you on your way.

Group classes aren’t expensive and it will give you a good introduction to the sport at a reasonable cost.

You may want to learn direct from Steven Shaw and Helen Blackburn and you can find out more about them by clicking here. If you already have a basic dance knowledge then look to join a local MSD group. Sequence Dancers are a friendly bunch and will be delighted to help you find your feet.

Do I need any special clothing or footwear?

 

Regular dancers tend to wear specialist dance shoes (see our page for a list of retailers) but for beginners this is not necessary. Just make sure you wear comfortable clothing that will allow you to stretch and move easily. Dance shoes are better than rubber soled as they will help you glide across the floor better.

 

What happens if I haven’t got a partner?

You’ll need to check with your class or group but most classes welcome new members whether with a partner or not and will ensure that you are not left out if attending on your own.

 


What about fitness?

Sequence dancing is an ideal way to improve your fitness in a fun way without having to do anything too strenuous….as the saying goes, if you can walk you can dance. You don’t need to be particularly fit but as always if in doubt check with your doctor first.

 

Is there a Governing Body?

Modern Sequence Dancing (like Ballroom and Latin American dancing) is overseen and regulated by the British Dance Council. Underneath this umbrella organisation is the Sequence Advisory Committee who meet regularly to consider and advise on any matter relevant to Classical, Modern and Latin Sequence Dancing.