Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


The man needs a reason for everything he does or he will simply not do it or will not continue to do it. You can't just say: "Put your head in this position". He must know: Why? "Put your head in this position because it is needed to balance the partnership", etc.

Fortunately, everything we do in ballroom dancing has a reason. Some times it is hard to figure out the Why. The key is to always consider that the Why is about a "two-headed, four-legged animal". If you analyze the four-legged animal from a basic physics and geometry aspect, the Why of what you are looking for will become apparent. This approach has not failed me yet (16 years).

The man needs to realize that he is not alone when he dances. He is not just doing his thing while his partner is being drug around the floor. The man has to realize that he is now only half of a partnership. The goal is to adopt the other half (the lady) to become "one". If this is achieved, the man will in fact be dancing as a single entity, the infamous "two-headed, four- legged animal".

When you dance solo (ex: a jazz dancer) you have complete control (in a perfect world) of your movements, power, turns, etc. In partnership dancing, you have to learn to control these elements in your other half as well. In solo dancing you have a center of gravity within your physical being that is basically the reference point for all of your movements. When partnership dancing, your center of gravity is outside of your solo dancer physical being. It is now in the center of your single "four-legged animal". The man needs to change his physical being from two-legged to four-legged. The movements of the four-legged animal are referenced from the common center of the partnership.

The frame is the primary element that makes two dancers a single "two-headed, four- legged animal". It is very common for the man to present a frame and just dance away expecting the lady to be there. There is a lot more to it than just holding your arms up in the frame position. The connection is not a frozen frame work just physically there, it is alive and constantly participating in the partnership. The purpose of the frame is to communicate between the two halves of the partnership so the "oneness" of movement can be achieved.

I have heard instructors tell their students that the lady should feel "light" in their partnership. However, many take this to mean to try not to touch your partner. This causes all kinds of problems because this reduces the communication between the partners. Light means to feel your partner and use each others power for movement. There should always be a forward connection to your partner no matter what direction you are moving. This allows each partner to use the others power to move lightly and in unison.

If you hold out your arm to the side and move it forward and backward, it doesn't feel heavy even though the whole weight of your arm is supported by the shoulder. This is kind of what the frame feels like. The arm, shoulder, back, and front of your body are working together to create a light, strong, controlled movement. This is how the two partners should be working in the "two-headed, four-legged animal".

Men, I hope this article will give you enough information to get you started in becoming that elusive two-headed, four-legged animal. And ladies you need to actively participate in the partnership by using your whole body when you dance.