Dating Like a Dancer
Stick with any style of dance long enough, and inevitably, someone will suggest you showcase it to a larger audience. This carries certain unique challenges, not least of which is learning to connect with said audience, so they can enjoy the routine as much as you (hopefully) do. So, what does this have to do with dating?
Let’s say you meet someone on your favourite dating app and, after trading a few smiles and tester-questions, decide to meet in person. You’re nervous naturally, because you don’t know if this person is going to judge you. You may even practice a few lines to convey the story about yourself you want the other person to believe.
Now let’s look at performing. We practice and rehearse our moves endlessly, trying to convey a specific impression. And yes, we worry about being judged, every bit as much by that crowd as by that special someone. In essence, a dance performance is like going on a date with our entire audience!
How else can we draw parallels between our tested-and-true dating experience and that upcoming dance showcase?
- Eye contact is essential. Whether there’s one person in front of you or a hundred, taking to time to look into their eyes can make them feel singled out for your favour. Nor should this be a fleeting glance – Fix someone’s gaze as you punctuate a step, or complete a gesture, as though you meant it just for them.
- Mind your body language. Turning away from a person can make them feel shut out, or like you just want to leave. Make sure you always cheat your body towards your audience, so you include them in every movement.
- Don’t forget to smile! Like a date that’s going terrifically, let the audience know how happy you feel to be there with them. Those positive vibes get picked up by those who see you, so they can start feeling good too.
- It’s not all about you. Few things turn an audience – and a date – off more than when you focus only on how great you are. Go into each performance with the intention of honouring your team, and the audience – practice putting yourself last. Those around you will remember and appreciate your humility.
- Not every date is a success. Sometimes, you just aren’t feeling your best, and your feet (or your tongue) get away from you. It happens, to students and instructors alike, believe me. Keep your focus away from negative language, and towards how you can improve in the future.
- Thank them at the end. Last impressions are far more powerful than first impressions. Competitive pros have mastered the art of combining confidence and appreciation as they take their final bows, as though offering their performance up as a parting gift.
About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.