Pet Peeves In Dance: No More Tip-Toeing

We all have areas in our dancing that need improvement. Fortunately, there are a few things you can be mindful of as a leader or follower to make yourself a more enjoyable partner. Without further ado, here are six different dance characteristics/pet peeves you may unknowingly possess and some quick and easy fixes that will maximize your experience when dancing with someone else (when dancing on your own, you can go crazy! I know I do).

The Corrector

  • As a teacher, I know how tempting it can be to offer a helpful hint or two when dancing. You mean well and you believe it’ll make the experience more enjoyable if they just do this one thing. The reality? People are just looking for a good time, not a lesson with each and every person they dance with. Even if they ask, chances are you don’t have a complete grasp of the step yourself or what your partner should do, so your innocent tip may actually do more harm than good. To make your experience more enjoyable for both parties, just laugh and have a good time. If they persist, defer to a teacher.

The Barbell

  • You’re tired and your partner is strong, so why shouldn’t they help hold you up? All of that may be true, but if your partner wanted to lift a barbell they’d go to the gym. A great way to practice having a light frame? Hold your arms out like you’re treading water for two minutes at a time. You’ll get tired at first, but the more you do it the easier it’ll become to support yourself.

The Tree Frog

  • The Tree Frog is known for their ability to cling to their partner which is usually due to a lack of confidence in one’s ability to balance. The best way to practice? Go through the steps you know on your own. Hold your frame up, and keep them up through the whole practice. When practicing with someone, visualize water flowing through your fingers. It’ll keep you more relaxed.

The Complainer

  • This is a big one for couples in particular, because it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing, only to get after your partner when they’re not in sync with you. The reality is that you may be working on something different from your partner, so release your expectations about the dance. It may not be perfect like you were hoping it’d be, but having fun is the name of the game, right? Enjoy your time together. All of that other stuff will come together in time.

The Rock Star

  • You want to impress your partner with the latest and greatest step you recently learned? I get it, believe me I do, but think of dancing like wine. If you pour two glasses of $200 wine and your partner prefers the taste of 2 Buck Chuck, you run the risk of giving them a wine they don’t like while making them feel like an idiot for not being able to appreciate what’s in front of them. The best way to help your partner feel like a rockstar? Drink what they like, or in this case, dance what they know. Start with the basics, slowly work your way up, and stop when they falter. Don’t push it. If your partner has fun, they’ll want more dances, and that’s the ultimate goal, right?

Mr. Up Close & Personal

  • You see your teachers pull their partner in close, it looks really cool, and they’re having a lot of fun, so you pull your partner in close as well, thinking you’ll get all of those things yourself, right? Sadly, outside of being in a relationship with your dance partner, it’s safer to keep your distance, as you risk coming across like a creep. Respect your partner’s personal bubble, and I guarantee they’ll have more fun.

It takes a strong person to admit you need to improve something about yourself, but in the long run, this kind of honest reflection will help you immensely. So do yourself a favor: tackle the areas that need improvement, ask your teacher for help, and follow through. You’ll improve as a dancer, generate better rapport with your dance partners, and ultimately get more from your experience as a result.

Have other characteristics you would’ve added to this list? Email me at: ross.ambellevue@gmail.com

Written by: Ross, Communications Consultant for Arthur Murray Puget Sound
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