How to Gain Self-Confidence, Improve Your Health, Boost Your Mood and Make New Friends


ABDS FAQs: Click here or scroll down


STEP 1: If you have an impulse to go to a dance lesson, dance party, or other social function at which you might want to dance, or if you just think it might be kind of fun, don't hesitate — go for it! You never know which opportunities you might miss by giving in to your self-doubt and avoiding social situations.


Call our dance studio to inquire about lessons at (207) 671-7644. Ask us as many questions as you need to in order to feel more comfortable with your decision to learn how to dance.


STEP 2: Sign up for at least one lesson before you hang up the phone. Once you hang up, you may have second thoughts. One of the hallmarks of a confident person is that he or she is willing to take a gamble on a new situation or experience, and work out the details as they come up.


STEP3: Commit to showing up for the lesson. Life sometimes gets in the way, so if for some reason you cannot keep the lesson that you scheduled, call right away to reschedule.


STEP 4: Arrive with a positive attitude. Avoid thinking that you will be the only one in the class who doesn’t know how to dance or that you have two left feet. Ride your nerves like a wave. It's natural to have the jitters before a job interview, before your first dance lesson, or when you approach someone for the first time. Let your nervousness serve you, rather than inhibit you, and remember to smile as much as you want.


STEP 5: Be prepared to step onto the dance floor with more confidence. In our dance classes we teach you techniques to improve your posture, eye contact, dance etiquette, how to get on and off the dance floor, how to be a good lead, how to be a good follower, and more.


STEP 6: Do not be intimidated by group classes. If you prefer not to start in a group class, we offer private lessons where you will receive one on one individualized instruction.


STEP 7: Commit to a fun way to gain fitness. Dance is a work-out: physical fitness has a huge effect on self-confidence. If you’re out of shape, you’ll feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By dancing, you will improve your physical appearance, energize yourself, and accomplish something positive. Having the discipline to dance not only makes you feel better, but it creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day and for the rest of your life.


Experts agree that exercise helps in beating depression, and intense aerobic exercise can boost your mood. Studies have shown that regular exercise works as well as antidepressants to relieve major depression. It may even help prevent depression in the first place.


Our studio is in the heart of Portland, so do not stress over finding a parking spot when you arrive for your dance lesson. We recommend that you park one to several blocks away, if possible, and think of your walk to the dance studio as your warm up. It is also the perfect time to clear your head from work and other life events, so you can enjoy every moment of dance.


Dance three times a week for about 60 minutes a time (more is better), for the best results. If you exercise hard enough to feel out of breath—that's even better!


STEP 8: Don’t quit after one lesson. Rome wasn’t built in a day!


STEP 9: You can come alone or bring a friend.


STEP 10: Attend a Saturday night dance party to practice your dance skills. We provide this opportunity for you to dance in a safe environment with friends from your dance class. Our dance hosts are there if needed to assist you if you have questions or you want to learn a new dance move.


REMEMBER: You don't have to be worried or anxious about how you look when you dance. No one will be looking at you. They won't have the time as they will be totally absorbed in their own moves.


Finally, remember to approach life with confidence: The way a person carries him or herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self-confidence. Dance requires you to stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. By practicing good posture, you’ll automatically feel more confident. You’ll make a positive impression on others, instantly feel more alert and empowered, and you will dance better.


Last but not least: report to all of your friends how much fun you are having and invite them along!



FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions


1. I’m afraid of looking silly…

The most important thing to remember is that many people feel that way at first. When you come to our classes, we will take care of you by working to your level, and building your confidence and knowledge. Remember that once you have attended even ONE class, you will know more than most people. You will immediately start learning about correct posture and technique which will make you feel more confident about your dancing at any social event, club or your own wedding.


2. What are group classes?

If you are a beginner, we are going to suggest starting you in one of our group classes but you are welcome to take private lessons at any time. Classes are grouped by levels from newcomer (Basics), to beginner (Bronze level), to intermediate (Silver level), to advanced (Gold and open level). All students are welcome to try out any of our classes. In the Basics classes you will be at relatively the same level as other students in the class, and learn the basics together. This will be your new peer group where you will make new friends, receive support, and learn to enjoy the art of dance.


Group classes will also give you the opportunity to rotate and dance with multiple partners. However this is not mandatory. You can stay with your own dance partner if you prefer. The benefit of changing partners is that you will learn that not everyone dances the same way. You will start to develop your own personal style and learn things such as how to handle height differences that can affect a couple’s dance.


3. What is private instruction?

Private instruction is a structured class with one-on-one learning. You (or you and your partner) can learn in a private environment that is fun, with focused attention that is responsive to your specific needs.


We suggest that if you take private lessons, you also consider taking group classes to reinforce your learning. This gives you more chances for repetition, practice, and more rapid advancement combined with opportunities to navigate around the floor. Contact us for more information at (207) 671-7644 or email us at


4. Should I focus on learning one dance or several?

There are advantages to doing both. Our group classes focus on a variety of dances. The reasons for this are:

  1. Learning multiple dances helps you in many ways to be a better well rounded dancer.
  2. You will have more opportunities to dance at social events
  3. Each dance compliments the other and each one will help you to learn the next one a little faster.

 However, we do offer classes and private lessons that may focus one style of dance.


5. Do I need a partner to learn Ballroom dancing?

No. You never need a partner for any group class, party, workshop, or lesson at Aquarius Ballroom Dance Studios. We encourage all our students to learn to dance with a variety of partners. We rotate partners in our group classes so you can experience dancing with many different people. This has been proven to be the best way to learn to dance and get you comfortable dancing with different people.


6. How do I register?

In an effort to balance the number of leaders and followers in our classes, we encourage you to pre-register for the classes(s) you are interested in taking. However, if your are in the neighborhood and want to drop–in we have a drop-in fee as well. Private lessons must be scheduled in advance. Contact us at or call us at (207) 671-7644.


7. What should I wear to dance class?

Our dress code is casual for our group classes and private lessons. You may want to choose something a little dressier for our dance parties, but it is up to you. The best advice is to wear something that allows you to move in whatever you feel comfortable in. Loose slacks and a loose, comfortable shirt are recommended for men. There is more variety for women from pants to a nice dress or flowing skirt.


8. Do I need to buy dance shoes for my beginning class?

Not at first. Just be sure you wear leather or suede-soled shoes that fit well and will stay on your feet. Sneakers or other rubber-soled shoes are very difficult to dance in and can put unnecessary strain on your ankles and joints. Please DO NOT wear clogs, wedges, slides, or any shoes with an open back  or open toe otherwise you and your partner will be thinking more about your shoes and getting your feet stepped on than about your dancing.


Women will find that shoes with heels that are not too high are the best. Platform soles or stilettos require better balance and are not recommended. For men, flat-soled (dress) shoes are a good idea. This will allow you to spin without effort.


Special Note: In order to preserve and maintain our dance floor at the highest performance level possible for our students, we ask that you please bring the shoes that you plan on wearing in class with you and change into them once you are in the studio. This will prevent the floors from becoming worn out and scratched and allow you to spin and turn with ease. Thank you!


9. Is there parking?

Our dance studio is located in downtown Portland, therefore, like any other successful downtown business, we do not have the option to provide on-site parking. Fortunately, there is plenty of meter (free after 6:00pm) and non-meter parking. There is also a parking garage located directly across the street from our studio that offers hourly parking. Allow yourself extra time to park, and if you do have to walk, think of it as your warm up time before hitting the dance floor.


10. How do I sign up for the classes?

The quickest way to sign up is to call us at (207) 671-7644 or email us
Please  sign up for our
newsletter for the latest updates on class schedules and events, and visit us on FACEBOOK.


11. Are you looking for ballroom dance shoes?

"Improve your mind, body and "sole." Whether you are buying your first pair of dance shoes or you are adding to your collection, we have some tips for you.


Unfortunately, there are limited ballroom dance shoe suppliers in the area. If you do find a studio that sells shoes, this is great for convenience, however proceed with caution. Some studios have a high mark up on their shoes and carry limited brands and styles that may not be right for you. Be sure to ask if they have an exchange or return policy otherwise you may get stuck with an expensive pair of shoes that you are unhappy with.


Before investing in a pair of dance shoes take your time to learn about what style, brand, and size is best for you. Unless you are planning to dance competitively, you do not need to invest a lot to get a good ballroom shoe. If you have a pre-existing foot, knee, or back problem, please speak with your primary care provider before purchasing any dance shoe, especially one with a high heel. Several ballroom shoe companies have an excellent return policy and provide options for ordering a custom made shoe to ensure a proper fit.


Your dance instructors at Aquarius Ballroom Dance Studios can recommend online stores that carry a broad selection of high quality dance shoes at affordable prices. Please feel free to call us at 207-671-7644, or visit our studio in Portland, Maine, for more information.


Vegan Dance Shoes

Animal lovers, did you know there are also vegan options that have neither leather nor animal products? These are available on the Internet by special order. Most of the shoes have hard rubber soles, but there are some that have a pseudo-suede sole made from synthetic materials. Please contact us at for more information about where to purchase on line vegan ballroom dance shoes.


Disclaimer: We have no affiliation with any one vendor and we do not profit from referrals or purchases that you make from any of the vendors mentioned by our studio. We put our customer first and we are here to help make your dance experience the best it can be.


12. What is the difference between ballroom dance shoes and regular shoes?

The biggest difference is the bottom or sole of the shoe. Ballroom shoes are flexible and have a thin, suede sole allows the shoes to glide on the dance floor, without too much grip. When dancing in competition it is recommended that women wear tan or flesh-colored shoes, to extend the look of the leg, and to avoid calling too much attention to the feet.


13. Are there different types of ballroom dance shoes?

The three basic types are Latin, Standard and Practice shoes. Shoes should be selected not only for appearance, but for comfort, support, performance, and protection. Some women prefer the closed-toe shoes, because they offer some protection against being stepped on.


Women's Latin shoes are typically an open-toed sandal with a heel from 1 to 3 inches high. The standard heel height is 2.5 inches. However, it is not necessary, especially for a non-professional dancer to wear high heels. If high heels hurt your feet, knees or back, avoid a high heel or try adding arch supports.


Women's Standard shoes are closed-toed pumps. A Standard shoe is worn for dances including Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango and Quick Step. If you do not want to purchase both a latin and standard shoe the recommendation is to go with Latin.


Men's Latin shoes have a Cuban Heel that is 1.5 inches high, however most men only wear latin shoes for competition. You do not need to wear a special shoe for social dancing outside of the ballroom.


Men's Standard shoes are usually an oxford-style lace-up, with a heel comparable to regular dress shoes. Men, if you only purchase one type of shoe, it should be the standard, however a comfortable dress shoe with a smooth bottom will also work.


Practice shoes are also an option and come in many styles.



Dance shoes may be made and sold in European sizes, which are generally 1.5 sizes smaller than American sizes. Check size charts carefully if you are ordering online and select an online store that will accept returns or exchanges


14. Do you offer Ballroom classes for children?

Ballroom dance group classes as well as private lessons deliver great benefits for your child. As a sport, ballroom dancing for children helps them to develop their body shape, while at the same time developing stronger leg muscles and arms. It also helps to improve their overall fitness, strength, endurance and agility. At ABDS we emphasize the importance of good posture, body mechanics, and a positive attitude.


15. What age does my child need to be?

ABDS programs are adapted to accommodate children ages 7 and above. Initially dance classes focus on basic steps, body awareness, coordination, and how to interact and partner with others. As your child progresses he or she will begin to develop musicality and learn to use movement for self-expression. Dance is the best way to increase confidence and self-esteem.


Our dance lessons teach children the basics of etiquette and how to hold and present themselves well in public. Dance requires discipline and commitment that will carry over into their daily life.





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