Whether you are partners in life, or partners in dance, now is a great time to start dancing with your partner and developing your own dance style. Yet, so often when people first learn to dance, they focus too much on dancing with a partner rather than developing their own individual skills as a dancer first. When you first start dancing, it’s so important to work on these basic skills and develop your own individual dancing style. This will ultimately lead to you being a more accomplished dance partner in the future.

If you’re a leader, you need to be aware of what you want to convey to your dance partner and you also need to be able to communicate it clearly to them. If you’re a follower, you need to practice your turns and develop the skill of swiveling your feet. Either way, as a dancer, you need to know how to move in time with the music.

When you learn to dance, there are a series of skills and coordinations to develop. Here are our top 4 steps to keep you on track. By following these steps, you will not only develop your own dancing style, but you’ll also be on your way to being a fantastic dance partner…

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  1. Start with your own physical coordination

Before you start dancing with your partner, you need to develop the basic skills of physical coordination. For some this comes naturally, and for others it develops over time with practice.   At this point, you need to learn the moves or steps of the dance. Don’t worry too much about the speed of your movements or rhythms, just get the moves right. Remember, practice makes perfect and you’ll find dancing with a partner a whole lot easier down the track if you have already learned the dance steps and you can move around with good physical coordination.

  1. Work on timing (of your movements and the music)

Next, you need to consider timing. You need to develop your own internal sense of the relative speed of the movements within the dance.  As part of this step, you also want to coordinate the physical movements you’re making with the rhythm or speed of the music. There are several different tempos or speeds for any type of music.  Some people have a very good sense of the rhythm, but they just don’t coordinate it well with a particular dance or music. But getting the timing right is a skill that you can develop through working on your own individual dancing style before jumping into dancing with a partner.

  1. Practice your dance style with a partner

Once you have followed the previous steps, you’re finally ready to coordinate your movements with a partner who, hopefully, has also developed their own physical coordination, learned the steps and been able to get the timing and rhythms right for your dance. When you first start dancing with a partner, it’s about being connected and coordinated with them. Don’t worry so much about leading and following – this comes next.

  1. Refine your skills in leading & following

Now it’s time to develop the physical coordination of the lead and follow. The aim is to put all of the skills you have learned into practice and your dancing will begin to feel ‘natural’. You will move freely around the dance floor from a place of ‘feeling’ rather than thinking intensely about each movement and step. With practice, you and your partner will lead and follow in an elegant and coordinated manner with plenty of dance style, and this is because of your time and effort in developing your individual dance skills before launching into dancing with a partner.

To start your dancing journey, contact Chicago Dance to arrange your professional dance lessons today! We offer group classes and private lessons.


Are you ready to make a move?