So, you’ve mastered the footwork, have spot-on timing, but for some reason, NOBODY seems to guide (or respond to) to you properly on the dance floor. Why can’t they move with you the way your instructor does? Here is why Partner Connection in Social Dancing is important:
Ptting it into an equation, this is what we get:
Frame + Pressure = Connection
Let’s do over each part:
- Frame is the positioning of your arms that creates room for you both to dance. Poor frame results in toes and crushed underfoot.
- Pressure is a light and active compression (about 5 lbs.) applied to your partner’s frame through the palms of your hands. Passive compression by contrast, is just leaning on and becoming heavy in your partner’s arms. If some isn’t responding fast enough to a lead, you might need to upgrade your spaghetti arms from soggy to al dente.
- Both of these together create Connection, which is where much of the joy of partner dancing comes from – moving together in unity.
Now that we understand connection better, how let’s…
Maintain it in Our Dancing
- Connect your palm to your partner’s with about 5 lbs. of pressure. Have your partner resist the pressure, so your hands stay in the centre. Maintaining the pressure, have your partner move their hand around. Your hands should stay stuck together during the movement. Switch who initiates pressure and who moves so you feel both sides.
- Take a two hand-hold. The leader initiates the pressure, then takes a step with the left foot forward, backward, or side, but not crossing. The follower moves with him using her right foot. Both sides keep the connected hands in front and the same distance from the shoulders (frame), and maintain the 5 lbs. of force (pressure). Practice with more steps in any direction, without crossing.
- Finally, take a closed hold. Both sides apply pressure into the clasped hands, while the leader applies pressure through the right hand on her shoulder blade, and she returns it with pressure on his upper arm, just before the shoulder muscle. Now try some basic steps, maintaining space between your chests and pressure through the contact points.
You should find it’s a lot easier to follower your partner (or vice versa) then before. Just remember that any difficulty in connection ultimately comes from poor frame or lack of pressure, so keep an eye out for it – your own, as well as theirs.