Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What I've Learned from Ballroom Dancing

Writer that I am, I cannot help but observe and record the intricacies of ballroom dancing and what happens when you are out on the dance floor. Characters in masquerade circle and swoop around the dance floor, more characters are unveiled in their true, carefree, playful light, and memories are filled with fragrance and the sound of music. So, while dancing Friday night, I took to heart the timeless lessons I’ve learned over the years from ballroom dancing…

  1. Live in the moment. You could be looking over his shoulder, imagining yourself with someone else, or thinking of other things…OR you can feel the gentle push of his lead, listen and let your body follow, and express yourself in the music now.
  2. Manners still exist today. Really! There is a place where men are gents and women are ladies, where “May I have this dance?” is still in order, where men escort the lady on and off the floor, and where etiquette is expected.
  3. Be present. Every dance is its own singular moment to impact another human person in a close and personal way and for him or her to influence you. If you are not present with that person, you will miss what the dance is all about.
  4. Make a connection. All good leading and following comes from your connection or your frame. Your ability to communicate comes from this connection. Know where he is; know where you are; and stay connected!
  5. The most powerful communication is unspoken. Through your body movements and eye contact, you are speaking volumes of a universal, human language that is capable of uniting people of every ethnic background and culture. I have met dancers from China, South Africa, Austria, Asia and England – and whether you can speak each other’s language doesn’t matter so much as if you know how to dance!
  6. In ballroom dancing, we are like children in adult clothes, playful and carefree, beautiful and dashing. You are being “man” to woman. She is being “woman” to man.
  7. Look at your partner’s eyes–this sums up everything: it helps you be present to each other and establish a connection. You know more in a glance than words can say. Looking at each other’s eyes is how you appreciate each other.
  8. Fine-tune your social skills. Get out of your comfort zone, improve communication with the opposite sex, meet new people, and even do some speed dating!
  9. Three words to define a man: leader, guide, support. Three words to define a lady: beauty, grace, integrity. (She is the flower in his frame. She makes the picture whole.)
  10. Dance through the pain. Yes, even on calluses and aching feet, you dance through the pain because the dance is too beautiful to miss.


  1. I want to know where you dance! I'd LOVE to go dancing!!! I took salsa/merengue lessons once and LOVED it! Too bad there was a shortage of guys to girls!

  2. I go dancing in Milwaukee, where they have ballroom social dances (which mostly attract dancers my father and grandfather's age...) and swing dances (which are a hotspot for young people). As a single woman, I've learned to not mind mixing up with partners of all ages & dance abilities. If you're ever interested, there are studios all over offer dance lessons as well as dance parties, in the Fox Valley area and well beyond! You can take group lessons or private lessons with your husband. - Makes a great Christmas wish list item!

  3. This makes me want to get past my innate fear of dancing and take the plunge!

    Oh, and have you seen "The Young Victoria?" There is an awesome waltz in that film!