Perils of Partner Dancing

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Probably not really going to be about perils now that I think about it but it sounded like a good title.

Yesterday, after I was done with my lesson, another instructor came over to talk to me about one of his students. They are trying to get her to come to the parties. After all, you are paying money to learn a skill and this is the best place to practice that skill. She’s new and very apprehensive about coming to a party – kind of afraid she’s not going to know what to do.

Turns out we talked briefly the day before the party when PJ asked her if she was coming and she expressed some of her concerns. And the conversation ended up with PJ telling her I was a great lead and she’d have no problems with me. She ended up not coming to the party.

And the hesitation is understandable. A lot of us start out that way – convinced we don’t know anything and afraid of screwing up. It is hard to get across the message that a dance studio is typically full of the most supportive group of people in the world. After all, we were all crazy enough to sign up for this and we can usually remember how that first party felt.

I’ve been doing this so long that I really have no desire to “show off” during party. If it is someone brand new, we start with basics and I can typically gauge how much farther they can go. I do sometimes see the guys who want to do that cool step they just learned except they really didn’t learn how to lead and it rarely goes well. Then I see others who like to pull ladies through steps that they know. Not sure if that is the best option either.

Maybe it is because I’ve done this for as long as I have but if you ask a lady to dance, then it is on you to make sure she has a good time. So if it is just basics but it gets her up and moving, then that’s just fine. No need to go to the bag of steps and pull out something fancy that is levels above what she’s capable of. Because you can kind of read it on their face when a step doesn’t go well – sometimes they end up apologizing which isn’t necessary.

(Side note – now when ladies dance with their spouses or significant others, they tend to have no problems blaming the guy for everything that goes wrong. That’s something I see a lot)

Is doing a bunch of basic Fox Trot steps as much fun as when PJ and I get some open floor space during the Viennese Waltz? No, of course not. But it is not like it some torture to go back to beginning Bronze steps. You still get to work on frame, on connection, on lead/follow. Still something you can can out of every dance. Or maybe I’m just the odd one but if it goes smoothly, then it is fun for me as well.

The hard truth though is that you’ll never find out if you don’t go. If this lady does eventually show up, then I’ll have to save a dance for her.

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