What Your Partnering Skills Say About You

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The longer you dance, the more embedded your habits become. You may have inadvertently adopted a style that is not only not what you intended, but is actually contrary to your personality and is holding you back. Your friends are too nice to tell you or aren’t able to explain it accurately enough to make a difference, and your dance partner is blind to your habits since learning to compensate for you them.

Everyone goes through phases in their dance development, so none of these are permanent if you focus on progress. As a beginner, try to avoid these habits before they become permanent. The best way to guarantee progress is from feedback in a private lesson.

Leaders with tight arms
You feel: strong, supportive, in control
You may present as: dictatorial, closed minded, aggressive

Leaders with waving arms
You feel: flowy, creative, stylish
You may present as: passive aggressive, over compensating, oppressive

Leaders with slack arms
You feel: gentle, relaxed, smooth
You may present as: wimpy, unreliable, incompetent

Leaders who exclusively lead consecutive patterns
You feel: competent, entertaining, un-boring
You may present as: domineering, self-absorbed, lecturing

Leaders who interrupt their follower before she’s done/ready
You feel: on time, in charge, keeping flow
You may present as: impatient, insensitive, dogmatic

Leaders who try too hard to use mojo during a sexy song
You feel: sensual, connected, expressive
You may present as: creepy, objectifying, domineering

Followers who anticipate/self-lead
You feel: competent, helpful, self-sufficient
You may present as: impatient, disruptive, alienating

Followers with tight arms
You feel: obedient, ready, protected
You may present as: robotic, unstable, heavy

Followers who stop themselves
You feel: obedient, helpful, light
You may present as: disruptive, unpredictable, non-responsive

Followers who hijack
You feel: creative, musical, entertaining
You may present as: self-absorbed, disruptive, uncooperative

Followers who drop themselves into dips
You feel: creative, adventurous, agile
You may present as: unpredictable, unstable, reckless

Followers who refuse all invitations
You feel: nervous, clean, conservative
You may present as: bored, tuned-out, rejecting

Dancers who don’t make eye contact
You feel: shy, concentrating, polite
You may present as: bored, snobby, self-absorbed

Dancers who mug to the judges / audience too much in comps
You feel: confident, showman, engaging
You may present as: ignoring your partner, selfish, narcissistic

Check yourself – get feedback – be self-expressed!

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  1. Great article! Really loved how you outlined what a lead or follow might be trying to achieve, and how it might be perceived. Helpful on both counts.

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