Dance is a Global Language
Updated: Feb 15, 2021
The Waltz is Viennese and the Tango Argentinian. The Brazilian's gave us the Samba and the American's got us all Swing dancing. Search the globe and you'll find people enjoying the joy of dancing. No matter your native tongue, you can enjoy communicating through dance.
Communication is Key
The language of dance is 'spoken' through the medium of touch, site and music. Communication can be a touch of you and your partner's hands or the connection of the dance embrace. You may see a shift in your partner's body position or see them finishing the rotation of their turn. There may be a change in the music as the song moves from verse to chorus 'asking' you to lead a certain type of pattern. So rather than discussing what's going on in the dance you are both feeling, seeing and hearing what's going on.
Every Ballroom partnership has a designated role: Leader or Follower. The Leader role is traditionally taken on by a gentleman dancer and the Follower role usually taken on by a lady dancer. Not feeling traditional today? No problem! Just decide who's taking on which role before starting with a partner of your choice.
As the Leader, your job is to clearly communicate your intention. Make sure you have a good connection with your partner and you are being mindful that they may not know what pattern is coming next. Deciding what step to lead BEFORE it's time to lead it can go a long way to improving your clarity of lead. Also, remember that Leader doesn't mean controller. Your partner is a living, breathing, thinking dancer. Indicate the step then let them dance it! Dancing is a partnership, 'listen' to your partner as you dance together and respond to their movement too.
As the Follower, your job is to 'listen' to your partner's lead. Try not to anticipate what comes next. Instead, maintain good connection and move freely in the direction your partner is indicating. Following, however, doesn't mean you should be sluggish or that you are expecting the Leader to make you move. As Follower you are an active participant and powered by your own motor. Feel the rhythm and dance!
Around the World
In my life I have been fortunate enough to dance in many countries around the world. While I may not have known the local language beyond 'where is the bathroom please', I have been able to communicate freely and deeply on the dance floor with a diverse spectrum of dancers. Just like a warm smile or reassuring arm squeeze, dance transcends the language barrier.