By Stanley McCalla

International Dance Council member

Coach, National Adjudicator, National Champion

How to achieve good posture dancing with your partner in International Standard or in American smooth closed hold.


Good dancing must start with excellent posture and hold. Why? Because it equalizes balance; it creates a pleasing silhouette; and it supports efficient communication between the partners.

So how do we achieve good posture? Man and lady stand with their bodies erect – shoulders lined up over rib cages – rib cages lined up over hips- hips lined up over middle of feet, creating a vertical line from the top of the skull to the tail bone. Shoulders should hang down away from the top of the head with a feeling of relaxed elongation of the back of the neck. Knees should be slightly flexed and soft.

Because the body has a natural “S” curve, to make sure you have achieved this proper vertical alignment, here is a useful exercise: While in the position just described, take your right hand and place it over the navel, then apply slight pressure backward toward the spine. Place the left hand on the middle of the shoulder blade – apply light pleasure forward – the weight of the upper body should be felt over the balls of the feet. The man should rotate his upper back around the spine slightly to the right to the point that his heart is facing the follower’s heart. The lady should likewise rotate her upper back around her spine toward the right to orient her heart toward the man. It is important that the head does not follow the rotation of the back to the right, but rather stays central and neutral above the spine. From this position, the head can take its final position by inclining to the left through an active stretching leftward and upward. This stretch is further energized by the oppositional stretch of the left back forward and to the right. The top of the lady’s skull should be felt behind her left shoulder. This position creates the poise.

Stanley is a United States Official National Adjudicator and highly sought-after Coach. He has been on the Fred Astaire National Dance Board since 1997. He visits Fred Astaire Dance Studios throughout the United States, and helps develop the quality of their staff’s and students’ dancing to the highest level. Stanley’s passion and expertise is to train professionals and amateurs alike, so they achieve the highest level of competitive dancing. He regularly trains in Smooth, Rhythm, Standard and Latin. Stanley is the Co-Owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Mamaroneck, New York where he serves as Dance Director. As a Professional, he was a principal dancer for American Ballroom Theater, directed by Pierre Dulaine, for 7 Years. He, together with his wife Jennifer Ford McCalla, choreographed the Tango scene for Adam’s Family II. They were also Ballroom Consultants for The Stepford Wives (2004), where they choreographed the group waltz in the movie.


2-Time Fred Astaire National Dance Champion (Smooth)
United States Finalist (Smooth)
Ten-Dance United States Finalist
United States Championships Semi-Finalist (Latin)
Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Champion (Smooth)
Fred Astaire National Rising Star Champion (Smooth)
Fred Astaire National Syllabi Champion (Standard, Smooth)
Breakers and Texas Challenge Rising Star Champion (Standard, Smooth and Latin)
North American Rising Star Champion (Standard, Latin and Smooth)
Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Finalist (Standard and Latin)
United States Championships Rising Star Finalist (Latin, Standard and Smooth)
4-Time United States Amateur Champion (Latin, Standard and Ten Dances)
2-Time United States Amateur Champion (Rhythm and Smooth)

Stanley McCalla is part of the prestigious Fred Astaire Dance Studios International Dance Council, which oversees Dance Instructor training and certification, judges (Professional, Amateur, Pro/Am) at Regional, National & International Fred Astaire Dance Studio Dance Competition events, actively coaches our Students & Instructors in dance studio locations across our network, and continuously reviews our proprietary dance curriculum to ensure only the finest, most up-to-date programs for our Students. For more information on the Fred Astaire International Dance Council or any of its members, please contact us.

Leave a Reply