10 Ways to Improve Your Social Dancing
Feb 07, 2023
No matter if you dance salsa, bachata, tango, kizomba, urban kiz, west coast swing, foxtrot, lindy hop or any other social dance, here are 10 tips on how to improve your dancing! Let's get to it!
There is no substitute for practice. If you want to become good, you have to dance a lot. Regular practice will help you to refine your movements, build muscle memory, and become more confident on the dance floor. It also gives you an opportunity to try new techniques, experiment with different styles, and work on timing and coordination with your dance partners. How much you practice depends on how much time you have, and how fast you want to become better.
- Take lessons:
Unless you are unbelievably talented and just do things right straight away you should take lessons. Taking lessons from a professional dance instructor can give you guidance and feedback on your technique. An instructor can help you to correct any bad habits, provide new ideas, and help you to understand the intricacies of the dance. With their expertise, you'll be able to get the most out of each practice session and accelerate your progress. On the flip side, if you don't take lessons, there is a risk that you will ingrain the bad habits into muscle memory. The longer you keep them, the more difficult it will be to get rid of them. And normally, people will not correct you on the dance floor, so you will be less than you can be forever.
- Focus on communication:
Good communication between partners is fundamental for good couple dancing. Communication is the foundation of leading and following, which is fundamental to good couple dancing. As the lead, it's important to communicate your intentions and guide your partner through the steps. As the follow, it's important to pay attention to your partner's lead and respond to their cues. Both partners need to trust each other and have mutual understanding to make it work. With better communication you can coordinate your movements, respond to each other's cues, and make adjustments as necessary. Good communication also helps to build trust between partners, making the dancing experience more enjoyable. To communicate well, it is not just about the leader sending a signal to the follower, and the follower responding. The leader also has to listen to the response, and make sure it was the right one. If not, the leader has to adjust and adapt the leading. Communication goes both ways and involves both "talking" and "listening".
- Improve your musicality:
Good musicality is essential for good couple dancing. Understanding the music and the rhythm can help you to move more in time with the music, making your dancing look more effortless and flowing. It's essential to listen to the music, feel the beat, and let it guide your movements. Improving your musicality can help you to better express yourself through dance. And in addition, when you follow the music, leading and following becomes easier, as there is a common "script" you follow.
- Focus on posture:
Good posture is critical for good couple dancing. Having good posture allows you to move more easily, look more confident, and makes your movements more elegant. It's essential to maintain good posture throughout the dance, from your feet to your head, to ensure that you look your best on the dance floor and the movement feels good in your body, without causing injuries.
- Pay attention to body movement:
Paying attention to your body movement is essential for good couple dancing. Your body is your instrument, and it's important to control it and make it look graceful and effortless. Small details, such as hand and arm movements, or how you position your feet, both in your own movements but also in relation to your partner, can make a big difference in how your dancing looks.
- Study other dancers:
Observing other couples dance can be an effective way to learn and pick up new ideas. You can watch their movements, see how they use their bodies, how they lead and follow, and take note of their style. Seeing other dancers in action can also give you a new perspective on what you're trying to achieve with your own dancing. Or what you want to avoid.
- Experiment with different styles:
Experimenting with different dance styles can help you to expand your skill set and improve your versatility as a dancer. Trying new styles can be a fun and exciting way to challenge yourself, and it can help you to find new techniques and movements that you can incorporate into your dancing, no matter what your primary dance is. This is how all social dances evolve over time. With dancer's own creativity, and with inspiration from other dances.
- Make sure it is comfortable:
When we dance we have to make sure we and our partner are comfortable, in every way. This involves both mental comfort and physical comfort. So, make sure to be appropriately dressed with no uncomfortable clothes or accessories, keep a good posture with your partner, adapt the level of dancing to your partner's skill level, don't be unnecessarily rough, and make sure you are respectful of your partner and the dancers around you in every way.
- Have fun:
Having fun is one of the most important ways to improve your couple dancing. Dancing should be enjoyable, and having a positive attitude can help you to relax, be yourself, and have a great time on the dance floor. When you're having fun, you're more likely to let go, express yourself, and improve your dancing. And when it is fun, you are more likely to practice more, which will improve your dancing the most. In addition, your dance partners will be more likely to dance with you when you seem to enjoy it.
- Bonus - Learn the other role:
Another great way to improve your social dancing is to learn the other role. If you normally lead, learn how to follow. If you normally follow, learn how to lead. This will give you a much better understanding of the dance and the communication needed within the couple. You will be able to understand how "the other side" perceives different leading and following. You will find both good and bad examples - things you should do, and things to avoid. All in all it will improve your dancing!
That's it! I hope you enjoyed these tips! Now go and practice! ;)
Suggestion - Check the kizomba, fusion, musicality and follow technique courses here.