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on 19 March 2003
Ballroom Dancing... what a stunning title. There was no debate as to whether it should be called "My views on Ballroom Dancing" or "What I learned from Ballroom Dancing" but an assured title of exactly what the book contains.
In many teachers opinion, this book is indeed the heart and soul of their learning. And as an amateur competitor this is the book that I use for my study.
The book covers 4 dances: Quickstep, Waltz, Foxtrot and Tango
It also has brief notes on the following popular dances: Viennese Waltz and International Viennese Waltz (this also includes information on the International Council ruling as to what can be danced in competition)
At the back of the book, the following is also commented on: Paul Jones, Military Paul Jones, "Excuse Me" Dance, The Palais Glide, The Lambeth Walk, St. Bernards Waltz, Spot Dance
The book was originally published in 1936 and has been revised/re-issued to the point where it is now in its 9th Edition. The book features a foreword by Phillip JS Richardson, and has the most recent preface by Alex Moore, accompanied by the original preface.
The book has 324 pages, and is divided into 7 sections. Each section cosists of figures, each of which is broken down into Timing, Tempo, Basic Rhythms, Figures. The description are written for both Man and Lady, and to aid the learner there are 100 diagrams showing feet positiona and movements.
Do not be intimidated by the initial complexities of the book, as the author has also included a guide for all levels as to how to approach and tackle the content.
The book is supremely written, and has a much more personal feel that the official IDTA and ISTD technique books. However, these texts are an unrivalled source of information and (if thinking of taking a teaching exam) would work well together.
On a personal note, my current teacher has fond recollections of Alex Moore and has spoken to him before about "The Book" and his teaching methods. He has only complimentary things to say, and has always comended his ability and natural teaching method.
In reflection, most dancers will agree that with an hours lesson, this book is worth it's weight in gold if you make use of it. By spending time reading and trying the book, you may well be able to save many hours lessons.
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on 29 October 2009
For a complete beginner, this book provides the basics in a clear and easy to understand format. The footstep diagrams are easy to follow and have proven to be invaluable to someone with no co-ordination and two left feet! It's straight to the point and as a beginner myself this directness has been a bonus. When your dance tutor shouts "natural turn", you'll suddenly be glad to have bought this book :) If it's history of dance you want, try another book. If you think "I want to dance, how do I do it?" then this book will help kickstart your life as Fred Astaire :) For advance dancers, they will have to decide for themselves as personally I am a long way from looking like a graceful dancer instead of a fairy elephant! Personally, I think this book is for beginners, touching on the intermediates.
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on 21 September 2000
This excellent book, which was the lifetime work by the late Alex Moore, has been the bible for all students of ballroom dancing for ove fifty years. What is astounding is that it is still being used as the main technique book for this type of dancing all over the world.
Mr Moore commences his book with information on how to study the charts and gives brief examples of the rules of ballroom dancing. He then goes on to chart all the dance figures used in ballroom dancing(Quickstep, Waltz, Foxtrot and Tango) from the humble(but very relevant) beginner to the current world champions. Without this book dancing would be virtually non-existant
This book is vital for students of dancing as well as teachers who need to use it for further study and also for constant reference. It is definately a book that is ideal for "Learning for Life".
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on 12 February 2007
Alex Moore's book makes an excellent accompaniment to Ballroom dancing lessons; it explains everything from the correct hold to the figures in great detail, and extremely well. It is definately too heavy for the beginner / casual dancer but for students especially it is a must-have reference book.
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on 29 September 2011
Certainly, this book has had terrific reviews, but in my view, is not ideally suited for someone setting out from the beginning or near to it. It contains plenty of information, but chiefly it is restricted to few traditional dances, quickstep, waltz, foxtrot and tango, while a couple of others (rhythm dancing and the viennese waltz)are treated in a perfunctory manner without diagrams. Therefore, much of present-day dancing that would be of interest to a beginner, or indeed to any dancer, is not there. But from a practical point of view not even the dances mentioned are all that easy to follow and this is because of the way the book is laid out. The diagrams are not placed together with the descriptions, but are on different pages, and many dance figures do not even have diagrams. Also one has to read very carefully to gather what exactly some of the moves are.
Consequently, it is a very authoritive book, more suited to reference and advanced study than for learning dance steps.
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on 30 November 2012
I first had this book in the late 60s / early 70's and used it when I first tried my hand at ballroom dancing. As I have not danced since the late 70's I have forgotten most of the steps. So it was refreshing to find this book still available (as I now need some exercise - and what better way than ballroom).
The book itself is probably the best to learn the basics of ballroom (note - Latin American is not included). It has comprehensive but simple to understand diagrams of all the basic steps, with attached write-ups of the rise and fall, line of dance, etc. It served me well when I first used it, and it was a first step to me competing with varying degrees of success in various South African ballroom dancing competitions.
It does not claim to be for the advanced dancer, and only describes the basics; but this is where every beginner (or in my case - returner) should place emphasis. If one wants to learn more advanced routines them a dance studio is the best.
The photos in the book are of Bill and Bobbie Irvine who were World Champions so many times. They would not have allowed their photos to appear in just any book, so they must have judged this one to be among the best. And Alex Moore was the Len Goodman of his day.
I thoroughly reccommend this book to everyone who wants to look good on the dance floor.
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on 20 November 2002
This book seems to be aimed mainly at the kind of dancer who will be going in for competitions. A lot of the steps are fairly clearly illustrated with 'footprint' diagrams (but would have been even better in colour) and are well described. However, the book goes into great depth with many variations on each dance and is a bit overpowering for the complete beginner.
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on 9 September 2011
My wife and I have been learning ballroom for a little under a year and love it. However, being a bit OCD I wanted to understand better the technical aspects of the moves we learnt, so that we could become as good as we possibly can (bear in mind were in our mid sixties).

This book is excellent. It explains in minute detail exactly where your feet, hands, head and other body parts should be at all times during a move. Now most of you won't want this level of detail or study to enjoy your dancing, but for those of you who do want to be that little bit better this is the book for you.Ballroom Dancing (Performing Arts Series)
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on 9 February 2013
All professionals rely on this authoritve volume which has been reprinted so many times. No Latin dance steps but that was how it was until the 50's
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on 20 September 2015
For the most up-to-date technical reference of the five standard dances (Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, Quickstep), as recognised by the governing bodies of the sport, this book has been superseded by Guy Howard's book "Technique of ballroom dancing" (the latest edition of Howard's book is expensive but old editions can be found on the internet). Moore's book remains valuable for the novice for its clear, precise and detailed explanations and its footprint diagrams (Howard's contains no diagrams). The user of this book should be aware that the "Quarter turn to left" figure in Quickstep, presented as one of the basic figures, is now obsolete and never danced (the progressive chasse is always used instead). So the book shows its age in one or two places, but the vast majority of the content is still accurate and valuable.
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