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How to Dance with a Partner

The safest, easiest and most natural way to dance with a partner

The only way to communicate every step in every social dance unambiguously

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Partnership Dancing SM?

Partnership Dancing is the first and only method for communicating unambiguously in social dancing.

Partnership Dancing is the safest, most comfortable, most natural and easiest way to dance with a partner.

Who is Partnership Dancing for?

Everyone that wants to dance socially with a partner, no matter what level or what social dance.

One of the basic principles of Partnership Dancing is that social dancing should be easy enough for a normal person to learn how to do in a reasonable amount of time. Any dancing that requires extraordinary effort is not social dancing.

Partnership Dancing seeks to make social dancing more accessible by making it easier to learn how to dance with a partner.

How does Partnership Dancing differ from how other people dance with a partner?

With Partnership Dancing, you and your partner can communicate unambiguously so you both know what to do all the time.

There are no other clearly defined methods of communicating with a dance partner. Every person has their own way of communicating.

With Partnership Dancing you will dance safer, more respectfully, more comfortably and more naturally. You will have greater freedom of movement, more freedom to express yourself and more freedom to improvise. You will be able to dance in better harmony with more people. Your communication will be more accurate, simpler and faster, and will work the same with each person in each dance.

How does Partnership Dancing differ from other dance instruction for how to communicate with a partner?

Every other way we have seen people teach how to communicate is ambiguous or relies on the partners knowing a syllabus of patterns. There are no other logical, consistent systems that work for dancing with people who are not your regular partners.

Partnership Dancing differs by clearly defining how to communicate every step in every dance in the same way with every person.

Partnership Dancing explicitly defines how to communicate with a dance partner in the book Partnership Dancing SM. You can think of this as the rule book for communicating with a partner. You can look in the rule book Partnership Dancing to find the rules for how to signal each step.

This differs completely from how other people give instruction. Other people instruct you on things they have found to work, which are generally hundreds of little things you have to know, some of which are good and some of which are not. Often, people will tell you one thing, but they are really doing something else that they are not aware of.

In particular, anyone doing any pulling or pushing to communicate, often called tension or pressure, will always have ambiguous communication, since the amount of pushing and pulling will vary from moment to moment and person to person.

Partnership Dancing does not use any pulling or pushing to communicate.

Are you saying that all other dance instruction is bad?

Absolutely not. Just the opposite is true. All dance instructors I have seen have been excellent in one way or another. I always learn something from each instructor I watch. You should go to as many different instructors as you can. Each instructor has their own insights that can help you.

However, when it comes to communicating with a dance partner, Partnership Dancing is the only clearly defined method for communicating. Much of the other instruction on how to communicate is vague, some of it is harmful. This is not the fault of the instructors. Until Partnership Dancing, there was no method for communicating unambiguously. Each person had to go by what seemed to work best for them.

Does Partnership Dancing really work for every step in every social dance?

Yes, by the way we define social dancing. We limit the choreography for social dancing to steps that you can theoretically communicate with someone you are dancing with for the first time, in other words, steps that are leadable.

Not every conceivable pattern is leadable. Some moves you must practice with your partner beforehand to do them accurately and safely. One example would be lifts. We call those types of moves Performance Dancing. You can include Performance Dancing during your social dancing with your regular partner, but you cannot consistently do those moves safely with someone you have not practiced those moves with beforehand.

Does Partnership Dancing work the same way with every dance?

Yes, the rules for Partnership Dancing are the same for every dance, however, you may have to learn different skills to be able to communicate them in different dances.

Some dances are very different from other dances and have different characteristic patterns, postures, timing and positions. Some dances are danced in open positions, some in closed positions, some in body contact. You will need to learn to move your body in ways appropriate to each dance, otherwise all your dancing will look the same.

Even though dances are different and you will need to master the individual elements of each dance, you can use Partnership Dancing as the basis of your communication.

Does Partnership Dancing really work the same way for every person?

Yes. Everyone who follows the method of Partnership Dancing will communicate in the same way.

How does Partnership Dancing work?

Partnership Dancing defines a specific set of communication principles, laws, rules, guidelines and signals.

The man uses three signals to communicate to the woman what he wants her to do.

By following the Three Laws of Partnership Dancing the woman can respond to the man's signals and follow every step in every dance.

If Partnership Dancing uses just three laws and three signals, why is there a whole book?

There is more than a whole book, there is a workbook, quick start guides and plans for video and for future instruction on how to apply Partnership Dancing to each different dance.

While the major ideas are simple and fit on a single page of paper, the implications of those ideas and the instruction for how to apply those ideas requires more discussion.

Why is Partnership Dancing safer, more respectful, more comfortable and more natural?

Partnership Dancing puts safety, respect, comfort and naturalness above every other element of dancing. The methods used to communicate in Partnership Dancing are designed to put these principles first. Those people that follow the principles of Partnership Dancing will automatically dance safely, be respectful of others, be comfortable and dance naturally.

Partnership Dancing does not use any force to communicate, that is no pulling or pushing, no tension or pressure. Each person moves their own body parts without moving or holding onto any part of their partner. Since each person is in complete control of their own body, Partnership Dancing is safer, more respectful, more comfortable and more natural than any method that uses tension and pressure.

Furthermore, when physically connected, Partnership Dancing relies only on physical signals, not visual signals. Visual signals can cause confusion and lead to injury. By following only physical signals, the woman will do what the man expects her to do and dancing together will be easier.

Why do you have more freedom with Partnership Dancing?

Partnership Dancing uses no force and the minimum amount of signaling needed to communicate, which gives people the greatest physical freedom.

Partnership Dancing defines the rules for how to communicate so each partner knows what to do. Because each partner understands what is expected of them, each person has great lattitude in their own freedom to do whatever they like within the framework.

Why is communication more accurate, simpler and faster with Partnership Dancing?

Commonly, other people communicate by the man signaling the woman and the woman responding. You can think of this as a two-step process with the man signaling the woman, often by pushing or pulling on the woman, and then the woman reacting to what the man did.

Partnership Dancing joins the signal to the actual movement, so that the woman's natural movement is the signal. The woman does not have to think, she simply does. This is a one-step process of communicating, that happens automatically and subconsciously. Once the woman has received the signal, she follows the Three Laws of Partnership Dancing to do what the man asked her to do with precision. She knows exactly what he wants her to do, because the language of dancing with a partner is clearly defined. So the communication is accurate, as simple as can be and as fast as possible.

Why does Partnership Dancing work the same way with every person in every dance?

Since there is no use of pulling and pushing and since the rules are the same, everyone communicates in the same way. What they communicate may vary, but how they communicate should be the same.

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