Partner Dancing – Social, Competitive, and Showcase

Ballroom dancing has three parts; social dancing, competitive dancing, and Showcase performances.  In my experience, once the partner dancing bug bites, you’ll probably want to try all three.

A brief introduction to social, competitive, and Showcase dancing.

Social Dancing

Here’s the truth. Absolutely, no one walks into a ballroom dance studio and says, “Get me ready for the stage and screen. In addition to that, I want to do live shows and competitions. And, of course, let’s not forget YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Where do I sign?

No, they don’t. In fact, with almost no exceptions they say, “I just want to learn a few steps so I can dance with my partner when I hear live music at the (your choice) country club, nightclub, bar, wedding, cruise.

partner dancing socially

A social dance floor isn’t the place to show off.  

  • Keep everything on the smaller side. For example , avoid large steps and fancy arm styling.
  • Please, no kicks or lifts.
  • The whole experience should be cozy as you concentrate on your partner.
  • It’s okay to make conversation. That’s because social dancing and chit-chat go together.

This Dance Safari post, “Underarm Turns – the ABC’s and Essential Elements,” discusses the turns and spins that are used in partner dancing.

Competitive Dancing

It’s for sure, if you’re taking lessons in a ballroom dance studio, sooner or later your instructor is going to suggest that you enter a competition. At this point, you’re gonna say, “I didn’t come here for that. I don’t want a lot of people watching and judging me.” We understand. We really do.

However, entering a ballroom dance competition is the number one way to improve a bunch of your partner dances very quickly. When you know you’ll be dancing in front of the judges and a crowd, somehow you work a little harder. So you’ll practice more or squeeze in a few extra lessons. And, when it’s all over, you’ll say, “That was fun! By the way, when’s the next one?“.

parftner dancing competitively

Style and technique are key elements of competitive dancing.

  • Competition style dancing involves large, grand movements from the size of the steps to arm and hand styling. The objective is to dance big enough so the audience in the cheap seats can see you.
  • Some competitive dancers have lifts and tricks in their routines.
  • Good competitors know how to get the judges’ attention.
  • An expressive style shows the different characteristics of each dance.

Showcase Performances

A performance in a studio showcase can be anything from a beginner’s 1-minute ballroom dance demonstration (known as a Spotlight) to a Broadway-style number featuring a student and the entire staff.

The point of the Spotlight is to let the newer student get his or her performing feet wet. On the other hand, the full-staff Showcase extravaganza is meant to challenge a more advanced student with a show-stopping routine.

showcase style partner dancing

when it comes to showcase, It’s all about the presentation.

  • You’ll be dressing up for your dance performance. Either ballroom or theatrical costumes are encouraged.
  • Acting is definitely a part of any Showcase routine. With this in mind, think Fred and Ginger or Dancing with the Stars.
  • Many times the choreography will include props. For instance, you’ll have an umbrella for “Singing in the Rain“.
  • Whether your routine is dramatic, romantic, or silly, ya gotta have fun!
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