Effectively Communicating With Your Dance Partner

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It takes two to tango. Such a simple phrase, but anyone that has ever taken ballroom dance lessons knows that it takes more than two people showing up. Two people working towards the same goal, communicating, and working out the kinks. Easy, right?

There are two things that need to be communicated to promote growth in your dance education. You will hear praise and  criticism. The way both are presented can encourage or hinder growth.

Here are some tips to keep in mind….

– Try using the sandwich method. One positive, one negative, followed by another positive. “I felt like you had fantastic lead, I think we were off time, but we kept our eyes off our feet for the whole song”

– “WE” instead of I or YOU. When you use the pronoun we, instead of I or you it softens the  criticism. “We need to work on our timing” instead of “ You were totally off time”. Remember you are a team, a partnership, therefore WE is the way to go.

– Ask for help. Everyone is willing to help, but few are willing to change when they feel like they are constantly put down. Instead of “You’re leading the turn late” try…”I am having trouble following when you lead the turn. Could you try to lead it a little earlier? I think it would really help me.”

– Don’t forget to praise your partner! It is so easy to focus on the negative, but don’t forget to acknowledge how far you both have come. Remember that dancing is supposed to be fun! Don’t forget to point out when your partner looks sexy or has great energy.

– Set a compliment goal. I can go the whole day or week even without praising my husband, but I am the first to remind him he forgot to take out the garbage. Lately, I try to make a point to thank him for his hard work or thoughtfulness. It isn’t something that comes naturally to me but he deserves the praise!! Same thing with our dance partners. They are right there with us at lesson working hard. Try to compliment your partner twice a lesson. I know it makes me feel great when I get a compliment and it makes me want to work harder.

– Listen attentively. Receive criticism successfully, don’t interrupt, listen with empathy. Many of us think of what to say next instead of truly listening to what our partner has to say. Take a breath, repeat back what you heard to prevent miss communication, then respond.

Dancing is one of the greatest activities. The benefits are endless. But, learning any new skill can be frustrating. Focusing on how we effectively communicate with our partner can help ease the frustration and enjoy the joy of dancing.


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