Ginger Rogers once said that the secret to dancing is connection - with yourself, the music and with a partner. Her advice, as usual, was spot on and has been a tremendous help to me.
When we first learn a new dance, it is natural to focus on the steps and the figures. But if we want to feel good and look good, we need to go beyond technical accuracy and incorporate into our dancing a relationship with the role we may be portraying,, music and audience. And there definitely needs to be communication, a connection with a partner. Without a connection, or relationship, the dance is just steps. But if the dance contains emotion and communication, then we have something more than technique. We have art.
Of course, we need to execute the steps, but the steps only make up the foundation of a dance. Built on top of the steps, we need to feel the fun, the story that the dance might be telling, or the picture that it’s painting. If we can show that we enjoy our partner, if we can play off our partner and respond emotionally to the music and to the movements of the dance, then we can achieve a richness that goes well beyond the dance routine.
Communicating Through Dance
Partner dancing requires two people to communicate without using words. The lead dancer, typically and for the purposes of this article, the man, will guide the follower, the woman, around the floor without verbal communication.
How to keep the connection? First and foremost, you must remain connected to your partner. Without this teamwork, you are not moving in harmony. You must be constantly aware of where your partner is, what they are doing and how what you are doing relates to them. Even if you are not looking at them, your body is always trying to face them. In Latin dancing and swing dancing, you have many opportunities to look directly at your partner, which helps you to connect on a lead and follow level, but also on an emotional level.
In partner dancing, you communicate through your dance frame and through any other body contact you have. Keeping your center turned toward your partner wherever possible and maintaining a solid frame by keeping tone in your muscles (not flexing them, stiffening your arms or trying to crush your partner) will keep you connected to your partner for better leading, following and harmony.
Next, you must remain connected to the music. Dancing on the beat is only part of this, although it is certainly the most important part. You also need to listen to the music and do what it tells you. Is it telling you to move softly and smoothly, or quick and staccato? Try to fill every microsecond of music, even when your feet are not moving-continue your hip action in Latin dancing and fill out your shapes in ballroom dancing by stretching your body and arms. If there is a hold in the music, it is an added touch if you strike a pose and hold it.
Finally, stay connected within your own body. Make sure your whole body is telling the same story. It is easy to let your arms flail around, completely disconnected from your body. Arm styling does not look very good if it does not seem to be matching your body-feel as though you are using your body to start each arm movement. Also, do not let the sides of your body, from your ribcage to your hips, collapse when you make body shapes; rather, keep both sides straight and stretch one side more than the other. Every line in your body should flow smoothly to the next.
Dancing is a great way for married couples to maintain romance in their relationship. With Ballroom dancing, Latin dancing, and other partner dancing available, couples can take lessons to learn how to move to different rhythms and then go out dancing at nightclubs to practice their skills. To make it even more exciting, married couples can engage in youthful play to add mystery and fun to the mix.
Couples should set up a date to give priority to the occasion. Getting prepared to go out for a night of dancing requires time and should be taken seriously to make the impact of the moment memorable. Be sure to arrange to meet at the dance venue to surprise each other with an upscale appearance and maybe even a small gift. Then, pretend to be strangers and playfully flirt with each other like people meeting for the first time. Once the dancing begins, feel the connection on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level as one person leads and the other person follows. Dancing, love, and romance are the perfect ingredients for a recipe of a successful marriage along with trust, respect, similar values, and other factors.
The best dancers are able to pull all the pieces together and have a beautiful connection to each other, the music and within their own bodies. They seem to float across the floor together in perfect time to the music, their bodies portraying every note. Every piece of technique you learn helps you to get a little closer to this high degree of connection. While it may take some time to reach this level, focusing on improving your connection to your partner, music and self will greatly improve your dancing.