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How to be a Better Social Dancer

Posted by Tina Lee-Almazar on

How to be a Better Social Dancer

Photo Credit: Pinterest

When you're at a social dance event, you're there to have fun, party, and meet new friends. But just like anything in life, you gotta be prepared for everything if you want to dance better! You don’t want to look like an overcooked noodle on the dance floor, that’s for sure!

Whether it’s your first time joining a social dance or you’ve attended quite a few, there’s always room for improvement. Here are ways to become a better social dancer:

Keep Fit

This is one of the most important things that you need to remember before joining any type of dance event; you have to be prepared for the physical demands of dancing. We’re not talking about dipping or turning your partner just yet. Leave the complicated dance moves to the pros. 

We’re talking about training your body to move so you don’t end up gasping for air every five minutes trying to keep up with your dance partner. You have to keep those muscles flexible and strong to move your body to the music and in some cases, lift your dance partner. And the thing with dancing is that it’s a full-body workout, your muscles should be primed to survive a round of social dancing.

There’s no need to spend hours working out in the gym; here are quick strengthening exercises that you can try at home.

Be a Social Dancer

Most newbies think that they'll only be ready to join social dancing after getting better at it, but here's the thing: the only way that you'll get better at social dancing is to social dance. Do not wait until you've become a better dancer before giving social dancing a try.

Social dancing is something that you become better at the longer you join these events. While social dancing, you can learn how to create moves on the spot and develop a relationship with the music. By immersing yourself in the social dance scene early on, you'll become a better social dancer.

Learn the Basics

When attending social dance events, you need to be prepared. And a part of that is knowing how to dance! 

Forget about complicated footwork and gravity-defying maneuvers, you need to perfect the basic steps first so you’ll look good on the dance floor and get people to dance with you. Thankfully, the basics are easy to learn; there are loads of tutorials online, but here are the best ones to get your start:

Basic Salsa Dance Steps

 

 

Basic Bachata Dance Steps

 

 

Basic Kizomba Dance Steps

 

 

Leading and Following

You have to be considerate of your partners’ ability to dance. If you’re leading, you need to know what it takes to give a clear lead. You have to learn how to adapt to your partner’s ability to dance. Also, you need to know the difference between a dance move that’s learned in class and a spontaneous dance move on the dance floor and adjust accordingly. No move has to be perfect every time. Just be patient, enjoy the dance, and don’t forget to have fun!

If you’re following, you need to pick a lead that’ll make you look good on the dance floor. A good lead is easy to spot; it’s the person that a lot of followers turn to when the music starts. No need to dance with the strongest-looking lead; just dance with an experienced lead who gives clear directions while dancing. 

Improve Your Musicality

When you’re dancing, you’re not just focusing on getting the dance steps right; you need to listen to the music, so your body is in tune with the beat. You need to learn the difference between listening carefully to the music, hearing the beat, and simply hearing the melody. 

Improving your musicality helps improve your rhythm. Hearing the beat clues you in what dance steps to execute. You’re not shimmying and shaking when the song comes on. You have to familiarize yourself with popular tracks for social dancing and listening carefully to the beat to know how and when to dance in time with the music. 

Criticisms and Compliments

So you’ve been practicing, you’ve been taking classes, and you’re eager to show your moves on an actual dance floor. But you’re too self-conscious; you’re worried about people pointing out missteps while social dancing. What do you do?

Don’t take these comments to heart. If the person who’s critiquing your dancing has a valid point, then consider his or her insights. Think of these comments as constructive criticisms, and do not be disheartened if you missed a step or a spin wasn’t as executed perfectly. At the end of the day, you’re doing what you love, which is dancing. 

A compliment, on the other hand, will go a long, long way when boosting someone’s confidence. If you had a great time dancing with someone, let him or her know! Go ahead and compliment someone with an excellent dance style; it will make their day. If you’re the one getting compliments from people, it’s a sign that the hours you’ve been spending practicing are finally paying off!

Sign Up for Dance Classes?

Formal training helps improve your performance -- it's just different when you have a qualified instructor working side by side to improve your dancing. That said, there is a difference between performance and social dancing. Choreographed routines are not common at social dances. These events are best for improvised and instinctive leading and following. Still, your dance skills and confidence will be better if you take dance lessons. 

Don’t Forget to Have a Good Time

Social dancing is all about having fun, socializing, and looking and feeling good. Don't be too caught up with the technicalities. Don't beat yourself up if you've made a mistake. Social dancing is fun, it's a great stress reliever, and it's a celebration of our love for Latin music. Don’t forget to have a good time!