How to Choose a Dance Partner

For many people, dancing is a social art that gives you a chance to mix with others. But if you're interested in performing or competing, or just want someone you can rely on to be available during your favorite songs, it's time to look for a regular dance partner.


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    Decide which dance style, or at least which genre, you most want to learn and practice.
    • This narrows down the pool of potential dance partners considerably, because if he's into swing and you only want to dance ballroom or Latin, your partnership will be short-lived.
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    Dance with as many people as possible, and learn as much as you can while you're at it.
    • This gives you the broadest exposure to different dance styles, lead and follow styles, and also "dance personalities"--that is, each person's individual approach to dance. Not only does this give you context for determining your own personal approach to and preference for dance, it also gives you a chance to decide which sort of dancer you're most comfortable with.
    • Although the basic steps to any given form of music are fairly universal, the range for interpretation and expression really is endless. So if you meet somebody that says you're dancing wrong, you could be making a mistake--or you just might be dancing with the wrong person.
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    Choose a dance partner whose personality you're comfortable with. Remember, you're going to be spending extended amounts of time with this person, and the occasional creative conflict is inevitable.
    • The ideal dance partner should also be at about the same ability level as you are, although if you're otherwise compatible, you might be comfortable dancing with somebody who's more or less experienced than you are.
    • You can always learn new techniques, but personality is difficult to change--so if you have to choose between one or the other, personality trumps ability.
    • Select a partner who has a similar level of commitment to dancing as you do. In other words, you should be looking to spend similar amounts of time dancing, and have similar goals for your time together, whether they're fitness, competition or performance oriented.
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    Make yourself a more attractive dance partner, in return, by following a few considerate practices:
    • Groom yourself neatly. Wear deodorant and clean clothing.
    • Avoid eating garlic, onions, or other strong-smelling foods just before you go out dancing.
    • Keep your own body weight under control. This doesn't have anything to do with whether you're fat or lean. Instead, it means being well-balanced at all times so that you don't have to lean on or fall onto your partner for support.
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    Decide ahead of time whether you're open to a romantic relationship with your dance partner. Politely make your position clear from the start, and stick with it.
    • You're going to spend a lot of time together in close physical contact, so developing some sort of friendship is inevitable, and romantic relationships between dance partners are common. That doesn't mean you have to date or be romantic; keeping clear boundaries from the start will help keep all parties involved from getting confused.


  • Grooming, hygiene and dress might seem like superficial reasons for choosing a dance partner. But if a dancer isn't willing to wear deodorant or clean clothes, or groom him- or herself neatly, it sends a clear message about what he or she thinks of him/herself and the people he or she dances with.

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Categories: Dancing