Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


What is the physical relationship of the dancers in Ballroom Dancing? We are trying to take all types of body shapes and sizes and mold them into a single entity (a two-headed four-legged animal / "Singularity"). This seems like a tall order for us mortals. It is just a matter of applying simple physics and geometry concepts that allows us to create the elusive Ballroom Dance "Singularity".

Early in my dance training, I had a female instructor that was 4' 10" and I was a little over a foot taller than her. We had no problems dancing together and she had no problem dancing with even taller men. This is a real example of what this article is about. In the perfect world, the partners are matched in size, weight, skill, strength, attitude, eye color, hair style, etc. etc. This is just not a practical expectation. Ballroom Dancers come in all sizes and descriptions. In fact, it is a challenge and a pleasure to dance with all of the various combinations of physicality, skill and attitude.

The question is: "How are all of the variations of Ballroom Dancers accommodated to become that two-headed four-legged animal / Singularity?" The answer is: "Use very basic physics and geometry concepts to mold the two entities together." These basic concepts allow the creation of a strong, balanced, feeling, musically moving "Singularity".

The first order of business is to determine the leader. I really don't like the term "LEADER" but it is the commonly used term. The man is usually taller and stronger than the lady, so it would be easier for him to see over the lady and use his power to move the "Singularity".

The next order of business is to create a communication link between the partners to allow movement as a single entity. The "Dance Frame" is the physical communication link between the partners. The "Dance Frame" is structured such as to place the partners in an offset position slightly to the left. This offset position accommodates four-legged movement. The "Dance Frame" has a forward feeling connection from each partner all of the time. This maintains the communication link no matter what direction the partnership is moving.

Now, "How does the partnership physically move?" Before movement is initiated, the lady must know which foot she should be on. This is accomplished simply by the man moving his weight to one foot. In order to move forward, for example, (This is from the leaders point of view.) the leader powers from the supporting leg and that movement is communicated through the Frame Connection to the other partner. The other partner cannot clearly detect movement through the Frame if it is initiated from the free leg. The power generated by the leader must be directed to the partner's center of gravity and not to the partner's shoulder area. The partner should feel as if the power is coming from under her instead of coming down on top of her.

One of the biggest partnership misconceptions in Ballroom Dancing is that the lady travels past the leader on some movements. The fact is that the lady maintains that offset position no matter what. She either travels with her partner or rotates around him. Even in "open dance position" and "promenade dance position, the offset is still maintained. Fundamentally, the dance frame relationship is maintained at all costs.

There are many other dance elements that affect the physical relationship. The above is just a small sample. There are things like "Head Position", "Left Side Lead", "Union Connection", "Foot Work", "Upper-Body Lazy Susan", "Rotational Centrifugal Force", etc. etc.

The ultimate goal in Ballroom Dancing is to evolve the physical relationship of the two dancers from Individuals, to a Partnership and finally to a "Singularity". At the highest levels of Ballroom Dancing (the "Singularity"), the partnership does not exist. The individual dancers are grown together into a single entity, undistinguishable from each other.