Testimonials -- Essential Guide to Ballroom



I was given this book as a present and think it is a very good book for students who are starting to learn dancing and also a great book of reference for advanced dancers.

This book can be used just for learning the steps of the ballroom dances, if this is the student’s intention or as a guide to dancing as it goes beyond just teaching the steps. It covers basics like balance, posture, poise, dance hold, different positions ( CBMP, CBM) by clearly defining their meaning and clarifying them even more with lots of illustrations.

Each ballroom dance has its own chapter, English and Viennese waltz share a chapter. Each of these chapters covers beginner's and improver's steps. The beginner's figures are discussed in minute detail, and what makes this book so valuable for me is that they are also demonstrated in photographs. For me visualising and copying them becomes much easier than following diagrams of feet or just long explanations.

The improver's steps are explained in detail as well, including timing, rise and fall, alignment, footwork. To make each chapter complete there are a few music suggestions at the end.

Having discussed the essentials of dancing Janet and Malcolm also go beyond the basics and explain terms like transferring of weight, poise in hold, preparation step, the centre in dance, sway, swing and some more dance related details. They do this in a detailed and precise way that makes some of these rather abstract terms understandable.

The book also offers exercises to train the muscular support needed in dancing. It even features anatomical illustrations and includes the names of the major muscles involved in dancing. Mastering and remembering steps are just part of what makes a good dancer. This book though clearly explains basic and advanced steps and clarifies beginners’s steps further with lots of photographs. It is all these other things like posture, poise, balance, technique that make the steps and routines look great and help define a dancer as a good dancer. This book defines all these things in an understandable way and successfully and thus goes beyond just teaching one or the other dance, but teaches dancing.

My husband and I have been dancing for a few years now and are preparing for our gold medals. We both use this book for reference. I really wish it had been available when we started dancing.

Stephen Belbin

I have really enjoyed reading through The Essential Guide to Ballroom Dance. It is both very informative and insightful. Chapters 2 and 7 are fantastic as they cover the principles of seemingly simple movements such as stepping, how to stand and shifting of body weight but go more in depth to show how improving these are important foundations to build for any dancer. I particularly found the part about how we learn to walk as babies and then forgetting how we learnt as we get older - great, it also mirrored what my Kung Fu teacher once told me too. The middle chapters cover all the ballroom dances as well as the basic steps, there is also concise breakdowns of the history of where the dances originated from. The end of the book covers supplementary exercises that can be included into ones practice which will be invaluable for dancers wishing to explore other movement disciplines and see how they relate to or carry over to dance. There are numerous useful exercises given throughout the book that will help. Great read overall and I frequently go back to it when I have a question.

Sarah Davey

This is such a readable book. I am not a professional dancer - my work involves balancing the body and allowing that to be reflected in everything an individual undertakes in their daily life. That’s why this book is so interesting. Janet and Malcolm have gone to great lengths to make this book accessible to all from the pure novice to the more experienced allowing that interest to be developed and explored by everyone with an eye for detail. Each chapter is presented so as to encourage the reader. It is exceptionally clear and well presented. The illustrations a delight that draw us all further in to this fascinating topic. It takes enormous courage and dedication to do anything well and then even more to share that expertise so generously and professionally as detailed in this publication. Yes, a guide it is, but this book is so much more and will be returned to again and again The authors have produced something very special as time will show

Christina Cremin

This book is a must for anyone who is passionate about ballroom dancing. It covers literally everything from posture and diet to the minute details of making dancing look elegant . No secrets held back all is revealed and shared with the reader. If you want to look better on the ballroom floor then this is the book to read.

Andrew Jones

I like this book as it goes beyond steps and explains some useful techniques. Amazing info on posture and how to stand and move. Couldn't put it down. Love the photography and illustrations. A must if you are into dancing.


this is an excellent book for anybody thinking of taking up ballroom dancing, either socially or entering the competition world. the book covers basic steps in the modern ballroom dances to dance wear, exercises and nutrition.

Sarah Davis

This book is a must for anyone learning the art of Ballroom dancing, whether just starting out on their journey or for the more advanced dancer. There is not only extremely clear explanations with fantastic detail for the correct technique of dance but also included is how to achieve this technique by showing the muscles, bones etc in collaboration with the fundamentals of dance. To write a book like this shows that the authors have an immense depth of knowledge, dedication and understanding of every component required to dance.

Each ballroom dance has its own chapter explaining about the dance to set the atmosphere and then the first steps of learning to dance right through to 'championship level" in technique. Another very important element is music and this book not only mentions it but explains It, showing beats and timing of each of the 5 ballroom dances. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to read such a fabulous book to help and aid in the learning to ballroom dance. As the title says it is the essential guide and I use it as my ballroom bible. Thank you Janet and Malcolm Supa Sarah