What makes a good social dancer?
When we social dance (partner dance) we will interact with male and female dancers of all shapes, sizes, ages, fitness levels, abilities.
A good social dancer recognises recognise the needs and limitations of their partner and adjusts their dancing accordingly.
A good social dancer meets the needs of their partner without forcing their own style or ability upon them.
A good social dancer is thoughtful, always says yes, always thanks their partner, returns their partner safely off the dance floor and looks after them the whole time.
A good social dancer is also a nice human being, kind, polite and accommodating both on and off the dance floor.
A good leader is not too forceful.
A good follower is light on their feet.
How do you become a better social dancer?
To become a better social dancer you need to social dance. Taking weeks of lessons but never going to a social dance is the wrong way to go about it. You could be taking lessons for years before you ever become a good social dancer. But a good social dancer is someone who does just that.. Social Dance! The art of social dancing comes from getting our there and trying to dance with as many people as possible and enjoying the experience.
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Immerse yourself in the local dance scene.. Social dancers need to immerse themselves in the social dance scene. To listen to the music the DJ is playing and learn how to interpret this on the spot. You should dance with all levels of dancers, being respectful and encouraging to a beginner and making your dance as memorable as possible for them for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
Dancing with higher level dancers really challenges your adaptability and the higher level dancer should show patience, they should always be willing to have a nice simple dance with simple moves that are executed well, rather than an inexperienced dancer trying to lead moves that they haven’t perfected yet just to impress the higher level dancer.
Compliment people after the dance, tell them that you loved their style, their footwork or body movement.
Never stop taking lessons! Good social dancers never stop going to lessons, in fact they take more. No one is ever too good to go to classes. Even if you feel you have nothing to learn (and that is rarely the case as you will usually learn something) by continuing to go to classes you are supporting your local teachers and dance scene, plus you may be a valuable lead or follow to lower level dancers in the class.
Should I join a performance group?
There is a huge difference between social dancing and performance dancing. Should you choose to go down the performance team route do not give up your social dancing. Being a good social dancer is the No 1 reason we social dance, so we can get out there every night and have fun and be sociable. Hiding away in a performance team 3 nights a week for a year and only being able to dance with the one partner who ‘knows all your moves’ and being a poor social dancer is surely not the reason you started social dancing? Performance teams serve to enhanced core skills and focus your mind to on confidence, style, precision and timing BUT performing a series of choreographed moves does not translate as being a good social dancer.
Practice makes perfect
Practice, practice, practice, dance, dance, dance.. anywhere, everywhere, with everyone, anyone and no one! Practising turns, spins and footwork on your own enhances your speed, mobility, precision, timing and balance. If you don’t have a partner to practice with practice these on your own at home. Youtube is a wonderful resource for exploring different teachers. Use this on your own at home.
Use a mirror, it’s your best friend for ironing out all the imperfections, no one wants to look like an idiot on the dance floor.
Use your social dances for practising your partner work. If you’re a follower and you missed a few leading cues, ask your partner to repeat them until you understand what you missed. Ask the teaches for dances, as much as possible, don’t be afraid, it’s what we’re here for.