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How to Get Your Partner into Ballroom Dancing

Getting a skeptical partner onto the ballroom dance floor can be like taming a squirrel: It will calm down over time, but one wrong move, and it bolts! Likewise, you may love the idea of dancing with your beau, but aren’t sure about how to get them involved without scaring them away.

It’s good to remember that some people have a fear of dancing, out of a belief that they ‘have two left feet’, ‘no natural rhythm’, or ‘will make a fool of themselves’. Be aware of this when you first talk with your partner about starting lessons. First and foremost, you need to know…

Are they interested?

Your partner doesn’t have to be rushing out to buy a bronze program in one shot, but they DO have to at least be willing to give it a try. Few things are more uncomfortable than a dance lesson where one person is clearly there only at the other person’s request.

I’ve seen many couples where the more skeptical of the two gradually came to enjoy dancing, sometimes even more than their partner! If they really aren’t interested however, don’t push it – there’s plenty of other activities you can bond together over.

The intro lesson

Many people, especially men, are uncomfortable struggling through a new skill, especially if other people are watching, and especially if one of those people is their romantic partner. Approach the lesson with extra helpings of patience and positive reinforcement.

When you book the lesson, be sure to mention that your partner is new to dancing. Often studios assign instructors the types of students they work best with, so yours should be more comfortable with first-timers.

During the lesson, you may be tempted to correct a mistake your partner is making. However, this can be humiliating for them – ‘I’m doing so badly, I need TWO teachers!’ Unless they’re hurting you, it’s usually best to trust the teacher will catch it.

Also, who doesn’t love a good compliment? Reminding your partner of what they did well helps keep them from getting frustrated with themselves. A wise instructor will do this as well, but compliments from someone they love will have extra potency.

Moving forward

When it comes to purchasing a program, it’s usually best to start small: You don’t want to lock yourself into forty lessons if you aren’t sure if your partner will last five. And you can always scale-up later.

It’s also good to check in with each other if either of you find your enthusiasm waning. Maybe they feel like they aren’t keeping up, or maybe you want less technique, and more straight-up dancing. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor to adjust for you.

If all goes well, and your partner has stayed on this long, odds are they’re good and hooked. Congrats! May you enjoy dancing together for years to come.

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.

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