Photo Credit: Dancer's Notes
Most Latin dance styles are danced with a partner. Because the dance moves are quite romantic, you need to have chemistry with your dance partner. Latin dance demands intensity, energy, and a deep connection. If you’re not in tune with your dance partner, the entire performance will look off.
That’s why it’s essential to find a dance partner that can match your dance skills, one that can keep up with you on the dance floor and take your performance to a higher level. Of course, you have to feel comfortable dancing with your partner too. We’ve already dished out tips on finding a dance partner at a glance, but how about when you’re already dancing with your dance partner? Here are ways to check if you make a good team on the dance floor:
How to Choose a Good Dance Partner (While Dancing)
Check the Sense of Rhythm
This is perhaps the best way to tell if a person can dance, do they have a good sense of rhythm? It’s just like checking to see if a person makes a good singer if s/he can carry a tune, you can see if a person looks good dancing if they know how to time the movements according to the song.
In Latin dance, every step is timed; there is a particular count to every movement. And the movement also depends on the tune. The dance movements will always be in tune with the music, so timing and musicality are two characteristics of a good dancer. You know the dancing won’t be flawless if the timing is off.
It’s All About the (Leader and Follower) Flow
How hard is it to keep up with a partner that leads? For followers, how quickly can your dance partner keep with the transition from one dance move to the next? When you’re totally in tune with your dance partner, the transition and flow from one dance move to the next will be smooth and seamless. You won’t feel confused or overwhelmed trying to figure out what the other person will do because you and your partner are working together, not against each other.
A lead that pushes you with slight force will make the follower uncomfortable. Followers that back leads will undermine the leader’s efforts to lead. If you find yourself at odds with your dance partner, the movement would look ill-timed and poorly executed. There should be no pushing, no dragging, no wrestling for the lead when dancing.
Good Eye Contact
In this guide, we’ve gone extensively on the importance of eye contact to Latin dance, so we suggest checking that article out. Making eye contact with your dance partner is important because it strengthens the connection. Also, it focuses on the performance, away from what’s happening all around. Making eye contact adds drama to the performance too!
But too much intensity might make your dance partner uncomfortable because not many people are used to holding someone’s gaze for a long time. You definitely don’t want to creep out your dance partner, so keep the eye contact focused and dramatic but timed. Convey passion and intensity through your eyes but maintain synchronicity. If a dance partner keeps staring down at you or makes creepy, unblinking gazes, you might feel too self-conscious to focus on the dancing.
Dance Skill Level
While it’s perfectly fine to dance with someone more or less skilled than you are, the difference will definitely show in the performance. Frustration and conflict are common when dance partners are not a good match on the dance floor.
It’s okay if your dance skill is close to your partner, but if you’re a newbie dancing with a complete professional, you might find yourself struggling to keep up. This goes especially for some dances with complicated footwork or technical dance moves.
On the other hand, if your dance skill is advanced and you choose a complete newbie, you will find it hard to lead or feel frustrated when your dance partner cannot execute a dance move the way you want to. For smoother performance, it’s best to dance with someone who has the same level of dance skills as you have.
Just like how dancing with someone who matches your dance skills, opt for a partner who specializes in the same or similar dance styles that you love. You can’t expect a good performance if you’re into Latin dance and your partner is more into breakdancing, no matter how easy or fun the movies make the situation look.
The thing is, every dancer has a dance personality, and you need someone whose dance personality matches yours. Some dancers love to perform very technical performances - crazy steps and gravity-defying moves and all. Others are more reserved, preferring to execute subtle, low-key dance moves.
How comfortable are you dancing with your newfound partner? You shouldn’t feel anxious, uneasy, pressured, or creeped out when dancing with this particular person. If you feel negative emotions when dancing with your dance partner, stop dancing and move on to other willing partners.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable dancing with someone, you won’t dance well. Because to dance well, you need to be at your most focused. And you cannot focus if you are feeling negative emotions. You can follow each other’s movements, pick up cues, connect, and be so close to each other when you’re comfortable with the person you’re dancing with.
How to Choose a Good Dance Partner?
It’s hard to know if a person makes a good dance partner at a glance, and most times, you’ll learn about it once you dance with the person once. The tips above are some things that you need to check when looking for potential dance partners. And while there is no way to know if a person makes a good or bad dancer, your senses will definitely sharpen the more time you spend joining social dance events.And social dance events are not complete without wearing your favorite Yami dance shoes. Shop our latest collection here!