Scoping the Crowd: How to Tell If S/He Makes a Great Dance Partner?

Posted by Tina Lee-Almazar on

To dance the salsa, you need to feel comfortable yet uninhibited and confident. Yes, the crazy dips and dizzying flips are part of the dance, but there is more to salsa than that. Salsa dancing is all about the hip movements, expressing sexiness, and showing off one’s unique personality on the dance floor. You can’t dance the salsa if your dance partner is stiff, nervous, and mechanical.

You want a dance partner who understands how body positioning and styling work together to achieve the proper form, and how to connect with a dance partner as well as the audience, someone who can express themself in a way that adds to the performance, not take anything away from it or compete for the spotlight. Essentially, you need a dance partner that complements your performance in every way.

So how do you choose a great dance partner? How can you tell if a person makes a terrific salsa partner at a glance? While it’s not easy to know if a person makes a great dancer at a glance, there are subtle clues to watch out for. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

6 Ways to Tell if a Person Makes a Great Salsa Dance Partner

How They Carry Themselves

You can tell an experienced dancer from a beginner just by checking out how the person carries themselves. Be mindful of the person’s bearing, how he walks, moves, or how he conducts himself. Even the way they dress is indicative of how good a person is when it comes to dancing.

Usually, a seasoned pro would look exactly like a professional on the dance floor. He or she would be wearing dance-appropriate clothes and shoes. If a person isn’t dressed for the occasion, that’s a clear sign that he’s not there to dance.

Check Out the People Near the Dance Floor

The closer a person is to the dance floor, the more eager they are to dance. If you’re out there in the crowd, check out the edge of the dance floor. Be mindful of those who are sitting or standing near the dance floor. People who seem to hover near the dance floor are usually interested in dancing, so it’s just a matter of checking out their body movements and the way they carry themselves to know if they make a great dance partner or not.

How Much are they Drinking?

You can tell if a person is interested in dancing or socializing by checking out how much alcohol they’re drinking throughout the event. Alcohol impairs the body’s coordination, so those who came to the social dance event to dance won’t be spending a lot of time in the bar. And if they do, they tend to limit their drinks to 1 to 2.

On the other hand, a person spending a lot of time drinking at the bar is not interested in dancing but socializing. And even if they’re interested in dancing, would you like to dance with a tipsy dance partner? You don’t want to spend your night hanging out with a drunk. If you get asked to dance by someone who’s obviously inebriated, tell them “No, thank you,” then walk away. If they insist, call security.

How They Dance With Other People

An effective way to tell if someone’s a good dancer is to see how they move on the dance floor. If he got the moves, then he has potential. Of course, check the level of the other person’s dance skills, make sure that they suit yours. If a person is way too advanced for you, you might not be a good match for him. If he can dance, but your dance skills are too advanced, he might have difficulty keeping up with you on the dance floor. Essentially, look for someone whose dance skills match and complement yours.

How They Behave

We hate to say it, but social dance events do attract some creeps, and you should always be on high alert for shady attendees all the time. If you’re scoping the crowd for a dance partner, be mindful of how others behave. Steer clear of people who seem to have a knack for being in awkward or uncomfortable situations. Is he getting weird looks from women, or does it look like people are avoiding him, etc., that’s a red flag.

If he comes off too strong or he’s giving you weird vibes, avoid him and turn down his offer to dance. If you are not comfortable in any way, do not be pressured to dance with someone. If you have friends with you, be sure that they’re nearby in case some creep comes on to you.

How They Dress

Looking closely at a person’s outfit will clue you why they are attending a social dance event. Someone who paid careful attention to his look and shoes is a dead giveaway that he’s there to dance. If a person is interested in dancing, he will wear the proper attire for it. That includes clothes, shoes, and accessories. And this goes for both men and women. 

The shoes, in particular, are very telling. If they wear Latin dance shoes or social dance shoes - shoes with suede or microfiber bottoms - they are serious about dancing and would make a terrific dance partner. 

Of course, there are times when women don’t wear their Yami dance shoes when they go out salsa dancing. But if you see some ladies wearing strappy heels with lower heels, they might be into dancing. If you see women wearing sky-high stiletto heels, platform shoes, gym shoes, flip-flops, sandals, they might not be there to dance.

As for men, it’s hard to gauge their potential as dance partners just by checking out their shoes. But usually, men who are wearing dress shoes with leather or microfiber bottoms are there to dance. There are times when they wear street dance shoes, which look like regular walking shoes. We suggest checking how pointy the shoes are. Pointy dress shoes are a typical style for men’s dance shoes.