United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association
Delaware Valley Chapter



Look, I was never the one picked first for a team. Me? Dance? Get real, I thought, I have 2 left feet. Besides, I didn’t even have a partner. But, finally, after years of putting it off, I took a chance (5 years ago) and went to a dance studio. Wow, was I surprised! A whole, undiscovered world of fun was there! The easiest way to meet nice people, a no-tension way to go out any night of the week, and an exercise system so healthy that even my doctor has taken it up.

Don’t make my mistake and put it off so long. Here are all the keys that open the door to this marvelous world of dance, right here in the Delaware Valley!

"And if you have the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!" Let the US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association (USABDA) show you how.

Do I need a partner?

This may be the most common question. Absolutely not! Ballroom dancing means that everyone dances with everyone else. I started with no partner (although I met my sweetheart dancing). In dance etiquette, women may ask men to dance, and no one who is asked to dance says "no" (unless they are not dancing at all for that dance.)

What if I can’t dance because I have 2 left feet?

We have found the miracle cure for this mysterious medical condition – all it takes is practice accompanied by music! If you like music you CAN dance. But like a sport, it takes practice. Do guys really dance? Yes. I have even been to a number of lessons and dances where the men outnumbered the women. But, because of rotation and ballroom etiquette, the numbers don’t matter much. Everyone dances – no wallflowers. Any guy who seriously wants to impress women needs to try dancing.

Can a person "like me" dance?

I have danced with people of all ages (children to folks in their 80’s), every size (I danced with a lady 7 feet tall, and I am 5’4"), every group imaginable. I have danced with partners who spoke no English, I did a rumba with a blind lady (I didn’t even know she was blind until the dance was over), and I have seen an excellent dancer in a wheel chair. On the dance floor something wonderful happens – all that matters is that you smile and just enjoy the music.

Can a single lady really go to one of these dances?

Yes, even someone who has been out of the social world for a lifetime. There is nothing easier. You walk in and they teach you how to dance. The dancers rotate, so you get to meet everyone there. It is non-threatening and friendly.

I don’t know how to dance – how do I find a place to learn?

There are many dance schools and teachers in the Delaware Valley – this is a great place to learn to dance. You can find them several ways. 1) USABDA has a great newsletter – the Dance Spotlight, with a calendar of dances, a directory and ads. You can get a free copy by sending your mailing address to 2) The Internet, including, or a search with the words "ballroom dance." 3) the yellow pages, under dance instruction. But avoid the ads for tap/ballet/jazz –these are for performance dance, not ballroom.

What type of instruction do I look for?

There are several ways to learn dance: 1) private lessons. These should run about $50-70 per hour. 2) group lessons. These run about $10 per hour. 3) video tapes, which range from $12 to $45. 4) dance studio contracts. Studio arrangements may include private and group lessons as well as parties in one package. Generally, private lessons are considered the best way to learn, but group lessons can be very cost effective. Tapes are probably best as a supplement to private or group lessons. Studio contracts can be good if you can take advantage of the different elements in the package.

Where can I dance?

The Delaware Valley is an unbelievably good place to dance. Check out the USABDA newsletter, the Dance Spotlight’s calendar - there are places to dance every night of the week. Once you start it is easy to network with other dancers to find more dance spots.

How do I know what places have real dancing?

This is a very important question. As a single you do not want to go to a place that is "date night," and you are the odd person out. As a couple you do not want to go to a smoky pick-up bar. Here’s the best clue: do they have a dance lesson. If so, that means you will have an opportunity to meet everyone there, and that the people there are serious about dancing.

What if I don’t even know the difference between salsa and swing, or cha-cha and tango?

You’ll pick it up fast – its surprising how easy it is. If you want, USABDA can provide you with an information sheet explaining each dance. Contact us at

Does dance really count as exercise?

Yes. Try it once and you will find out for yourself. When I first considered it, I thought, well, this will use my legs but what about the rest of the body? Folks, once you go out on the dance floor you will understand that there is no better exercise. Words don’t describe it – one night dancing will convince you. No one looks younger than a dancer. And how many sports can you think of where you can actually become better as you get older?

What if I really get into this, can I compete just like the dancer s on TV?

Yes, USABDA can show you how to get into competitions, here in the Delaware Valley, or at competitions around the country.

Can children do this too?

Yes, USABDA can also show you how to get your children involved.

Who is behind USABDA?

We are amateur dancers – no professionals, so we make no money from this. But we do want more folks out there dancing and discovering how much fun this is.

How do I join USABDA?

The newsletter has all you need to join; the annual cost for a social dancer (this is what I am) is just $25. This gets you the national magazine, the Del Val chapter’s newsletter, the Dance Spotlight, and reduced admission at USABDA dances, including Dance Haddonfield.

What if I can’t get it right?

Hey, its only dance! Its not a test. How do you know if you are successful? If your dance partner smiles and you laugh, then you must be doing it right! Go ahead, get swept away!

See you on the dance floor,

Joe Murphy
Del Val Chapter
US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association
30 Tanner Street
Haddonfield, NJ 08033