(Re-post from an item written in August 2008)

We have been taking Swing dance lessons for what seems like almost a year and there’s a few things I’ve learned, outside of the technical aspects of the dance.

  • Practice, practice, practice – So you want to look good, eh? You want to be “fluid” and “creative” with your moves? The practice. It’s only when you feel comfortable with each step and move that you can mix them all up. There is no better way to get comfortable with dancing than to dance.
  • Pick out dance partners who are better than you – I know this is counterintuitive. Most people like dancing with those who are at the same level or worse than them, but this gets you nowhere. It’s only when you dance with people who are better than you that you begin to learn what they know.
  • Dance with as many partners as you can – It does not matter if you are a lead or a follow, you need to be able to adapt your dance to anyone! This means dancing with as many people as possible do you can learn the wide range of ways people will dance. If you want to make it look good you need to be able to match your partner, not just perform choreographed moves.
  • Do not stop, ever – This is the cardinal rule of dancing that even if you screw up just keep on going.  Don’t stop and try to start over just to get it right, as this will drive your partner crazy and make them not want to dance with you.
  • Smile and look your partner in the eyes – Dancing is about having fun and how you feel about the dance is first visible on your face.  You should always smile and make eye contact with your partner to show them you are enjoying their presence.  This also takes away some potential stress and keeps the fun element present.
  • Mix it up – Most people go with what they know, but this can be boring.  To keep things fun you cannot simply “loop” the four moves you know over and over.  It’s important to mix your moves so it appears more like fun and less like a choreographed skit.