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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Personal Tips for Partner Dancing

Last night in class I gave what has become my standard speech in every beginner swing dance class about the importance of bringing extra shirts to change into during social dances. Swing dance is a highly engaging activity and the music is addictive. You go to a dance and dance, dance, dance. But after awhile, you might sweat, sweat, sweat.

This is healthy for you. But not the best thing to enhance your partner connection. Here's a typical scene from when I first started dancing:

Guy: (shirt so drenched it's sticking to him, sweat pouring off forehead dripping down onto follower's skirt) Would you like to dance?

Me: Um, ok.

Not to be stereotypical, but guys can get drenched and dripping after just a few dances. But new dancers simply don't realize how wet they might get, so when I started teaching I decided to incorporate social dance awareness into my class instruction. It's made a world of difference.

Here are some tips to make your dancing experience a pleasure for you and your partners:

1. Bring extra shirts and use them. (See above).
2. Bring a small towel or handkerchief to wipe your brow if needed.
3. Use deodorant (this is not always as obvious as it seems. We've had to have "the talk" more than once with students).
4. Have breath fresheners or gum available if needed.
5. Do not douse yourself with perfume. Less or none is better.
6. If you have long hair and wear it in a high ponytail, be aware if you are whipping your leader in the face with every spin (this has happened to Chester) and make adjustments.
7. Avoid spike heels that could injure those around you. (This has happened to me. Her heel sliced my ankle! Those rock steps can be dangerous!)
8. If you have a skirt that twirls up make sure you are wearing shorts underneath.
9. Avoid wearing bangles, big rings, long necklaces and heavy jewelery/earrings. (I was asked to do an unexpected demo and was wearing a long necklace that whipped around my neck like a lasso. Quite distracting!)
10. Drink plenty of water. Water is available at most dances, but a water bottle is a good thing to have at all times. Bring water to class.
11. Dress appropriately. Swing dance classes are always casual as are most of the dances. Cute dresses and skirts are always appropriate. Unless noted for special events, there is no need for a shirt and tie or "formal" attire. Our 2nd Friday Swing Salon is dressier than our 1st Saturday dances. Look at the photos of people who attend. Comfort is always key.
12. Dress to dance. Beware of flying scarves, shawls and clothing that gets in the way of dancing.
13. Wear layers. You may get warmer while dancing and cooler when sitting in air conditioning.
14. Have fun and keep dancing!

Anything you'd like to add??
In my next post, I'll talk about the Swing Dance Culture and Etiquette.

Join me at next social dances, classes and workshops:

Aug 2. 1st Saturday Swing Dance at Mac Fitness in Kingston with Speigeltent Performance Sneak Peek!
Aug 7. 1st Thursday Swing Dance at the Newburgh Brewery with lesson & live music.
Aug 8. 2nd Friday Swing Salon at Uptown Gallery in Kingston with lesson. BYOB & snacks!
Aug 21. 3rd Thursday Hep Cat Lindy Hop Practice in Red Hook

July 26 Saturday Beginner Swing Dance Workshop on Liberty Street in Newburgh 6-7:30pm
July 30. New Blues class series in Highland
Aug 2. Technique Clinic Stops & Drops before our 1st Saturday dance 
Aug 4. Monday night classes begin in Kingston
Aug 5. Tuesday night classes begin in Wallkill


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