Dance As If No One was Watching

November 29, 2011

Social dancing is not the same as social performing. Many social “partner” dance classes seem to emphasize patterns, footwork, and “styling” – as if they are what matters most. NONE of these are what really make a COUPLE look and feel good TOGETHER on the dance floor. What all too often is overlooked and omitted, in my opinion, is that dancing is a relationship – and mainly about connection with the music, self, and partner(s).

Dance Phones

Moving together in harmony to the rhythms of the music and each other does NOT require even moving the feet. Focusing on learned choreography and pattern variations seems to distract many from leading, following, and staying connected – and inhibit “original” creative and playful impromptu improvisation in the moment. Every song and every partner is slightly different – and how people dance should reflect this.

everything dances

Each person moves in a unique and individual way – and thus has an innate style of their own, whether they realize it or not. Moving together with another often creates a certain aesthetically appealing look – with limbs flowing freely from the undulation of two torsos moving in sync. Most learned “styling” is really more for the benefit of others watching than a natural expression of the dancers or their interpretation of the music. The emphasis is almost always much more on how what is done might look to someone else rather than how it may enhance the intimate experience with one’s partner.

Dance first, “style” second – if at all.

The (often unintended) message communicated by styling is that those watching are more important than the “partner” – especially when the styling is done while the partner’s back is turned and it can only be seen by others. Many women may say that styling makes them feel more attractive – but are often vague about to who. Shoes, clothes, hairstyle, lipstick and other make-sup are often selected and worn NOT to please the man a woman is actually with but for the attention of OTHER men – and the notice and “approval” of other WOMEN.

People often seem to want to dress up and behave “better” for people they do not know and may never see or interact with again than for those actually in their lives and whose opinions and preferences should matter more (but don’t).

dance like no one watching

I am NOT against formal education and training. Learning and practicing new movements often expands and enhances the possibilities individuals and couples have available to share. I just wish more people would dance as if no one was watching – and focus entirely on their partner and the music (in that order) instead of caring how they might look.

That’s my perspective. What’s yours?

© 2011 – 2015, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.

One Response to “Dance As If No One was Watching”

  1. […] Dance however you like – as long as it is to the music and together with your partner. Think less about the steps, patterns, and the count of the timing and more about matching the mood of the music and the movements of your partner. It it is not necessary to turn at all. Try dancing more in place and emphasizing connected partner body movement more than stepping with the feet. […]

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