Loosey-Goosey Dancer? Ballroom Dancing Blues pt2

According to Oxford Languages, a definition for loosey-goosey is, “…imprecise, disorganized, or excessively relaxed.” That pretty much describes the loosey-goosey dancer. C’mon, partner, get it together!

Ballroom Dancing Blues

Issue #2: The Loosey-Goosey Dancer

When it comes to ballroom dancing, it’s one thing to be expressive with your body. But, it’s quite another to be imprecise and disorganized.

This gif shows what may be considered the definition of a loosey-goosey dancer.
See some examples of bad dancing here.

Causes and Solutions

Many people think they dance their best after a few drinks. That’s why the first thing we’ll address is drinking and dancing. It’s kinda like drinking and driving – they don’t go well together. Not that it’s against any law that I know of, but, keep in mind that too many cocktails might make you all loosey-goosey. For that reason, when you go out dancing, it’s better to take it easy at the bar.

Frame, frame, frame – the key to a good partnership

The frame is how you hold your arms and hands. In ballroom dancing, it’s what connects you to your partner. Therefore, just as you wouldn’t want the handlebars on your bicycle to be all wiggly, your frame should not be either.

Don’t take any chances…keep a strong frame.

Two big problems with being too wiggly in the frame are connected to leading and following. A leader with a weak frame will have trouble directing the follower without man-handling her. That’s called over-leading and followers hate it. On the other hand, a follower without an energetic frame that holds it shape won’t know for sure what her partner is intending. That means she’ll probably guess. That’s called back-leading and leaders hate it.

Rx for the ‘untroubled by technique’ dancer – Strengthen your core. Muscle tone is your friend.

Although it would seem that having relaxed muscles would be ideal in ballroom dancing, in fact, the opposite is true. No, we don’t suggest being overly rigid, rather carry yourself with a bit of shape, ie, no flopping around. Muscle tone is needed to create the dance and the partnership.

One thing is true in any sport or physical hobby and that is a strong core, or center, is the key to feeling powerful. In ballroom dancing, it allows you to hold your posture, which is so important when dancing together. Accordingly, be sure to use proper dance poise to move your body in sync with your partner.

Stop being wiggly and Think like a dancer.

  • Start by stacking the sections of your body correctly. Here’s a Dance Safari post that explains how.
  • Engage the stomach muscles. Imagine taking a punch to the belly. The tightening reflex should feel like you’re bringing your bellybutton back towards your spine.
  • Elongate your spine by pointing your tailbone towards the floor. It’s the opposite of arching your back.
  • Your hips will point upwards and the ribcage points down.
  • Finally, use a wide open chest and shoulders to anchor your solid and steady frame.

One last piece of advice for the loosey-goosey among us.

No one will fault you for wanting to use your arms and hands to express the music. However, arms flailing about with no rhyme or reason look strange and will hurt your balance, rhythm, and timing.

This image shows an cartoon dancing octopus with loosey-goosey arms.

An experienced instructor will help you smooth things out. It’s totally worth the time and money and the result will be more dances with better partners.

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  1. Great tips, Barbara!
    K and I are trying to do all of the above as we prepare for the comp floor. We just have to get a quickstep routine together and we’re off… in March! 😎

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