Thoughts on Partner Dancing

*Gasp*  It’s another ballroom post.  Hooray!  I must say that even though I am on hiatus, currently getting over a sore throat, and officially in dead-week for finals, my spirit is feeling fresh, and I feel like I could write for hours.  Luckily, I’ll spare you all from that.  The title says it all, folks.  I find it odd that I’ve never written in-depth about the subject before, but there’s no time like the present.  I found this pretty nifty diagram that illustrates the surface dynamics of partner dancing quite well.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, let me clarify.  The music sets the rhythm, the leader (the man) has to think of how he has to interpret the music through syllabus figures, musical phrasing, etc., and the follower (the woman) has to do whatever he does.  But, as a ballroom dancer, let me tell that partner dancing is so much more than that schematic, little pyramid.  First and foremost, the man and woman are a team.  They must never forget that.

On a physical level, they literally help balance each other.  Personally, it never really dawned on me how much I relied on DP for balance until I had to practice proper posture without him.  I felt so shaky and ungraceful!  When they dance Smooth (traveling dances), they have to get stomach to stomach, and become a single unit so they can get the momentum needed to get the “floating” effect you see in professional competitions.  It’s hard to describe in detail what the man and woman’s role when they dance because there are many dances, tons of music, and each partnership interprets the music in their own unique way.

On an emotional level, it’s quite dynamic.  Please keep in mind that as I make this next statement that I speak as someone who is currently not in a serious relationship.  In my opinion, dance partners walk a fine line between platonic and romantic.  It’s hard to explain, but dancing is certainly a more physically intimate than any other hobby I’ve seen thus far.  Studios seem to recognize this as most of them seem to have a strict no fraternization policy.  Personally, I think dance partners should be strictly platonic.  I’m certainly not against significant others dancing together, but I’d hate to see a common bond such as dancing drive a wedge between two people.  Dealing with the possible stress of dance and adding the extra level of a regular relationship strikes me as too much.  That’s why I’m thankful DP and I are separated by age and professional boundaries.  Dancing can be awkward enough without those unspoken feelings that can occur.  But, what’s wonderful is taking that energy and channeling it into a dance.  It adds to the realism and molds it into something beautiful.  Dancing is what you make of it.  If you feel awkward, then you’re making it more than what it really is.  It really is just dancing.  However, if you’ve fallen into that situation where platonic seems to be crossing into something more, I have no advice to give save to say that I’d talk to somebody about it.

But, the best thing about partner dancing are those little moments every lesson.  Sharing fellowship with someone that’s like-minded is, dare I say, better than the dancing itself.  The best moments I’ve shared with DP are those goofy moments that make the learning easier.  This concept is at the heart of my “Say What?” series.  And, underneath the funny veneer is that unspoken statement that says, “Hey, I care about you a lot, and I want you to be the best you can.”  That’s what I love most about ballroom.  When you get right down to it, any sort of partnership or team is made strong by loving the people with you.  I’ll never stop loving the people I’ve met through dancing, and that’s why I’ll never stop loving dancing itself.


The floor is yours now.

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