When you take the stage as a solo act, you feel amazing and powerful. It is literally all about you. And, when you take the stage with a group, it is you and your dance BFFs showing off your amazing skills together. Partnering, however, is probably another story. When you work in contemporary, ballet, ballroom, and many other types of dance, you may be required to partner with someone you don’t know. This can be awkward and uncomfortable, but there are tricks to getting over this quickly so you can say goodbye to the awkwardness and hello to enjoying the dance!
A simple way to get over the weird way you feel about having to match movements with your partner is to make a game of matching movements. Get with your partner and try to move in sync. To do this, either you or your partner should be the “mirror” and the other will be the leader. Start by having the leader move with the mirror repeating afterward, and move on to trying to move at the same time. It will help more if you do this with dance steps, but it is fun and effective to just practice making silly faces at each other, too!
Feeling uncomfortable with your dance partner might be because you are strangers to one another. If you are only partnering for one class, this might not matter, but if you are going to be partners with this person for a while, it will be easier if you aren’t strangers. So, hang out with your partner! Get a snack after class. Share dance tips. Complain about how bad each other’s dance shoes smell! When you dance with a partner, chemistry is important. The easiest way to have good chemistry on the dance floor is to have chemistry off the dance floor. Besides, it is always more fun to dance with your partner when that partner is also one of your best friends!
Why So Serious?
Dancing is a sport and art, so you should take it seriously. However, that does not mean that every moment has to be serious. We dance because we love to dance! Taking dance seriously does not mean you have to execute every move perfectly on the first try or spend all of your time mastering every form of dance there is. The same is true for partnering. You should take partner work seriously, but you can’t expect to work with your partner perfectly right from the start! Relax. Learn how you each approach the dance you are doing, and find the happy place in the middle where you are both working your hardest and having the most fun.