To become a more accomplished dancer, be aware of your dance hold and maintain it carefully throughout each dance.  If you’re just starting out, or wanting to improve as a dancer, there are some important things to remember so you can get your dance hold right

ballroom dance hold.

The thing is, when you are physically in contact with your dance partner, your movements have the potential to disturb your partner’s movement and balance unless you take special care.  Here are some tips to help you along the way…

Be aware of where you are carrying your body weight

You need to become aware of where you’re carrying your body weight while dancing, and also think about where you should carry your body weight for each particular dance.  Keeping your weight forward (forward poise) or back (backward poise) may be appropriate for different dances or for the same dance at different times.  Be attentive to changes, and try and make a plan for when and how you shift your body weight and poise throughout each dance.

Keep your elbows in front of your body

Your elbows need to stay forward of your body, because if your elbows are behind your body, you just won’t have enough room in your arms to be able to hold your partner well.

Dance in alignment with your partner

Pay attention to your alignment with your partner’s torso especially.  In general, your shoulders need to be parallel or in a ‘V’ with your partner. Your alignment with your partner will change, however, according to each dance style.  Alignment types vary from being not offset (in dances such as in the Argentine Tango), to slightly offset (in Latin and Swing dances), and very offset (in Ballroom and even more in Ballroom-style Tango Dance).  If you want to become a skilled dance partner, you need to learn to use the appropriate hold, embrace or frame for each dance style.

Pay attention to points of contact

Be attentive when you and your partner have body contact and pay attention to where you have that point of contact.  For ballroom dances, such as the Waltz or Foxtrot, remember the five points of contact:

  • The man’s left hand and lady’s right hand
  • The man’s right forearm/wrist supporting the lady’s left forearm near her left armpit
  • The man’s right hand on the lady’s back
  • The lady’s left hand and forearm on the man’s right arm, holding his bicep with thumb and middle finger
  • Both partners’ right sides at the ribs/abdomen

The best way to get your dance hold right is to practice, practice, and practice! Contact us to find out more about our private lessons or group classes.

When you have mastered the dance hold, it’s time to learn more about how to be a respectful dance partner in both your hold and your touch.  Stay tuned for the next Chicago Dance blog on this often neglected topic.


Are you ready to make a move?