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The Working Vacation & The Gentlemen Host Program


How easy are you
to dance with?

Women want good dance partners in increasing numbers and skill, and the cruise lines want to invite gentlemen who are "easy to dance with" on board the ships. This ability-- to be easy to follow regardless of the dance skill of the lady partner--is the key element in selecting and scheduling Gentlemen Host® volunteers.

Dance Skills Made Easier
  1. There should be self-confidence in knowing one's dance steps / patterns.

  2. One should be familiar with the rhythms of dance music -- seemingly without thinking about it; having the ability to keep time to the music, permitting the leader to concentrate on leading and how the partner responds.

  3. There should be precision in footwork as well as the communication felt through the arms (in the correct dance position).

  4. Should have the ability to indicate a change of direction with an unnoticeable lean or change of weight.

  5. Need to have sensitivity to your partner's dance knowledge or ability by sensing how she moves, and thus being able to make decisions about how to proceed. (The length of the step may need to be shortened or the pressure of the lead increased, for example.)

  6. When dancing with a less educated or experienced dancer, a repetition of basic steps / patterns helps them understand and gain confidence. Any mistakes should be treated lightly.

  7. Steps / patterns that are too difficult or advanced should be reserved for the more experienced dancer. Execute patterns that are leadable.

  8. Having knowledge of dance floor courtesy and etiquette, being friendly, happy, complimentary, and reassuring all go into making one easy to dance with.

Although many of the women on the ships are basic dancers, some are not and because of this continued dance instruction for the gentleman is very important. Often many applicants believe that they do not require dance instruction. However, usually just the reverse is true! The male dancer is required to be knowledgeable of the dance fundamentals gained through basic dance training, in command and able to make the decisions for the couple. His responsibility is greater.

We highly recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in this program to immediately enroll himself in dance instruction. If you are not actively enrolled in any basic or fundamental classes, ask your dance instructor for a few private lessons. Make sure these lessons are based on the 5 basic dances - waltz, fox trot, rumba, cha-cha and swing (jitterbug). Your aim is to learn the elementary basic 4-5 steps / patterns in each of these dances. These steps should be just the steps you can do with (1) a new dance partner, or (2) a dance partner who is older.

You do not need a wide variety of steps or patterns, but need to know the basic steps or patterns and have a strong lead. Leading is essentially a balance and shifting of the body. As you guide your partner around the dance floor, you are the driver and she is the guest.

We highly recommend that you enroll in group classes and perhaps a few private lessons. It is also a good idea to ask the ladies that you dance with for their feedback. Explain to them what you are doing, and above all, dance with as many different people as possible and as often as possible. Dancing is like learning a foreign language; you learn better when you immerse yourself in it. Another good idea is to take out videotapes from the library. Although you cannot learn to dance with these tapes alone, it is a good idea to view them prior to your dance class. Then after each class write down what you have learned and make an effort to practice it several times before the next class.

Dancing is walking! The further you get away from walking the worse it looks. Walking is balance. Step forward and the weight automatically goes with you. Many people in the learning stages of dance try to put in an unnatural movement. Some think that it is more difficult than it is.

One gentleman from the East Coast is an advanced dancer and has had a lot of training. At 66 years he is a natural-appearing dancer. Of course he has had 14 years of lessons and experience! However, he attributes it all to fundamentals. He says that it was easy for him because in his youth he "first learned to walk, then to box in high school, then to fence in college." The introduction to dance was a natural progression because he understood the transfer of weight and keeping balanced which he used in his chosen sports. We know that many boxers have taken dance in training to prepare for the ring. Shifting from side to side and being light on their feet is equally important in both sports.

Direction is another important element in social dance. Men must show the way to their lady partner. The ability to lead requires understanding, training and development. Most women like a gentleman partner to give firm cues as to acting in unison. Dancing is a communication where two people relate and mirror the movements of one another. Rather than verbal direction, the man's shifting his body weight, holding an upright posture and slight pressure from the touch of his hands gives the signals of direction and change of movement and direction on the dance floor. "Leading is giving the proper dance-signals while dancing."

We appreciate your interest in the program and hope to hear from you soon! Kindly remember to notify us of any change in your address and telephone contact number(s). And please feel free to call if you have questions about any aspect of The Gentlemen Host® Program.

Thank you again for your interest. Let's Keep Dancing!

Sincerely,

Lauretta Blake, President

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