Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


"Invisible Connections" are a high level concept of partnership dancing. Fundamentally, there is a physical (general) connection between the partners and there can also be logical (invisible) connections between the partners. The physical connection (the frame) is capable of developing various logical connections. A logical connection is real and can be felt as clearly as a physical connection. This concept may seem illogical at first, but once you feel it, you will realize that it is very real.

The basic premise of lead and follow is that the leader has to create a physical environment such that the follower has only one course of action. This physical environment has to invoke a natural response from the follower. The follower needs to be able to move naturally in response to the lead. The leader can, however, do unnatural things to develop a natural response from the follower. The invisible connection is an advanced concept that enables the leader to lead actions beyond the normal natural movements of the follower.

The logical connection is an invisible physical link to a specific part of the lady, hence, the term "invisible connection". The invisible connection is not possible unless there is participation by both the leader and follower. This connection is initiated by the leader. The invisible connection is basically a one-way connection from the leader to the follower. The general connection is a two-way connection.

The general partnership connection to your partner should feel like it is consuming and surrounding your partner completely. You should be able to feel (for example) the difference in rise/fall, whether it is foot rise, leg rise, or body rise, the weight changes of your partner, etc. The invisible connection is a concentrated connection where as the partnership connection is a more general connection. The invisible connection is quite precise.

The invisible connection is very hard to write down and describe verbally. That is why the instructor needs to get his/her hands on the dancer so he/she can actually feel the connection. Once the lady can feel the invisible connection, she will know how to participate in this connection. I have the man feel this connection as a lady so he knows what kind of feeling he is trying to develop in the lady. If you only take group lessons, you will probably never get to experience this incredible feeling.

The following are a few examples of invisible connections:

- Connection to center of the partner's body. The center of the body is roughly two inches below the belly button. The frame tends to connect the partners together at about the shoulder level. The leader can logically move this connection from the bottom of the ladies neck at the top of her sternum down to the ladies center. The lady can now feel the leaders center as well. This connection can also be re-directed to the center of the partnership which is outside of both the physical partners but inside the logical partnership. The center of the two-headed four-legged animal.
- In an American Style Rumba "Crossover Break" element, you can feel and match the free hand of your partner across the partnership.
- In an American Style Rumba "5th Position Break" element, the leader can directly move the ladies right leg to execute the 5th position move.
- In executing a Waltz "Whisk" from a back hover position, the leader can directly move the ladies right leg to wrap around her supporting leg for the whisk action.
- In executing a syncopated under arm turn in Waltz, the leader can power the turn through the ladies center with an invisible connection.

The typical learning sequence of a ballroom dancer from non-dancer to accomplished dancer is something like the following:

- In the very beginning, the dancer learns one step at a time.
- Shortly thereafter, the steps become "elements". An element is basically the steps in a measure of music. The dancer now thinks at an element level instead of individual steps.
- Then comes "element" sequences. A pattern is no longer a series of steps, it becomes an order of elements. New patterns are now just re-ordering the sequence of the elements. It is very unfortunate that many dancers do not progress beyond this stage of ballroom dancing. All they know are patterns and they never progress to the good stuff where all of the feelings reside. I call these dancers "Pattern Dancers".
- Finally the dancer discovers that he/she has a partner.
- Then comes the really good stuff - going back to dancing one step at a time but this time feeling your partner. Dancing your partner one step at a time allows you to create more feeling between the steps. Very good dancers like slower music because it allows more time to create feelings. Less experienced dancers like faster music because they don't know what to do between the steps.
- After all of the above, this is where the "invisible" connections can be implemented.

The invisible connection is a ballroom concept that can take your dancing to a new level beyond what you ever knew existed.