New Dance Partner Anxiety

Nobody goes to a dance party or club to sit around. You want to dance and, since we’re talking about partner dancing, you need someone to dance with. So, here’s a little ballroom dance secret.  Although we all love new and exciting experiences, your first dance with a new partner can stress you out.  Furthermore, I can assure you the feeling is mutual.  Under those circumstances, it’s best to take a few minutes to feel each other out.  In short, settle down…interacting with new people is what life is all about.

What can you do to make things go well for you and your new dance partner?

Ballroom Dance Do’s and Don’ts help get you two moving in the right direction.  

Don’ts for the follower

  • Avoid hanging on your partner. Instead, be light, hold yourself up, and use good dance posture.
  • There’s a word for the follower who tries to lead. It’s called backleading and leaders don’t like it. Because of this, anticipating or guessing which step comes next is a no-no.
  • Be patient. Remember, the follower moves a split-second after the leader. That’s why they call it following.

Don’ts for the leader

  • A lead that’s too strong can hurt your partner. It’s called overleading and followers don’t like it.
  • Don’t forget to match the dance to the music. If the dance you’re leading doesn’t fit the music, it won’t feel right. When you’re not sure what dance to do, it’s okay to look around to see what other couples are dancing.
  • Poor transitions from one step to the next can lead to confusion and hurt toes (and egos!). Therefore, it’s a good idea to practice connecting your steps.

do’s for the leader

  • Keep in mind, she’s the picture, you’re the frame. In ballroom dancing, the frame is how you hold your arms. A solid frame supports the partnership.
  • Ballroom dancing is really pretty simple. That is, you move forward, backward, to the left, and to the right. Be specific with your directional movement and your partner will be a better follower.
  • If your partner doesn’t pick up on the lead of a particular step, try it once more. If it’s not working, drop it and move on to something else. (Dance Manners 101.)

Do’s for the follower

  • Keep it simple. This isn’t a performance; it’s a friendly dance for two people who enjoy good music.
  • It’s not unusual to find yourself dancing in a small space. For this reason, you’ll want to keep your arms and legs to yourself. That means no big arm movements and certainly very small kicks, if any at all.
  • Relax and find happiness with an old or a new dance partner.
Clearly this isn't a new dance partner.  This shows a beautiful performance for a competition or show.
Save this for the competition floor.

For more detail on how to improve your dance relationships, here’s a Dance Safari post, “Become a Better Ballroom Dancer Using 5 Simple Tips“.

There’s really no reason to be anxious about a new dance partner. That’s because we’re all after the same thing. Girls (and boys) just wanna have fun!

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