When you’re trying to do everything technically correct while you’re dancing around the dance floor, it’s easy to forget you’re holding and touching another person as you dance.  Different dances require different holds and touches, so you might be simply holding hands, or embracing for a dance such as the Tango.  There are different terms for holding and touching which you should also become familiar with:

dance hold with partner

The Hold

This term is fairly self-explanatory.  The ‘hold’ is useful because it suggests that we are holding another person.

The Embrace

The Argentine Tango community uses the word ‘embrace’ to describe the dance hold.  ‘Embrace’ is a great term because it reminds us to be gentle with our partner.

The Frame

‘Frame’ is also a good term because it denotes the basic structure of the dance.  The term ‘frame’ also reminds the leader that he has responsibilities, both to showcase his partner and to protect her on the crowded dance floor.
Within the dance hold or frame, contact between partners can happen from the thighs to the head. The amount of contact largely depends on the type of dance and the choreography within the dance.  It also depends on the styling and relative size of the partners – their thighs, hips, chest/abdomen, cheeks and forehead.  You might find it useful to revisit the ‘Five Points of Contact’ for ballroom style dances from time to time, as it explains exactly where these points of contact are.

Dancing in close contact requires a degree of skill from both partners.  With a new partner, it is better to start with some separation and then gauge each other’s comfort level and willingness to move closer.  When a ‘follow’ is uncomfortable, she can use the left hand and thumb on the front of the lead’s shoulder as resistance to maintain a greater level of distance from her partner.

Touch is an important element of dance for both the lead and the follow, and all dancers should aim to be both giving and caring with your touch.  Aim for a touch that is firm but not too tight, and a touch that is free but not too light.  If your touch is kind, educated and well-intentioned, then your partner is more likely to enjoy the experience of dancing with you.  Further to this, getting the hold and touch right is an important part of becoming a good leader or follower.

To learn more about leading and following on the dance floor, contact Chicago Dance to find out about our private lessons or group classes.  We have a huge range of classes available and our expert dance instructors can have you leading and following like a professional in no time.

Stay tuned for our next blogs which will discuss more about leading effectively and the four main types of leads.


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