Dance and Romance: Dating a Dancer

If you're been patient and put your best self out there, sooner or later you'll run into another dancer (hopefully not literally), who's interested in more than your dance moves. This final video on dance and romance is about what to expect when you date a dancer.

Don't get me wrong, dancers are pretty awesome people to be around. But we also present some unique challenges that you would be wise to prepare for. Here's the basic points I'm covering above:

  1. Dancers are busiest when most people get off work, so plan your date nights ahead.
  2. Prepare to vigorously defend your favourite dance champions in lively debates!
  3. Dating someone is NOT an excuse to criticize their technique. And if you feel intimidated by their dancing, remind yourself that hey, they knew how you danced before they started dating you, right?
  4. Dancing is a sweaty smelly business. Sometimes, either of you will smell a bit funky - get used to it.
  5. We tend to be a bit on the poor side, so be prepared to share the cost of dating.
  6. For a dancer, a body massage is NOT foreplay - it's some much-needed R&R for tired muscles.
  7. Sometimes, you'll have to humour your partner with a night of dancing when you'd rather Netflix and Chill.
  8. If you guys get married, prepare for an EPIC wedding dance!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

Dance and Romance, Part Three: Are they Interested?

It's ironic really - on one hand, ballroom dancing is a great way to meet the love of your life, while on the other, the dance itself makes it hard to tell if someone is genuinely interested.

Can YOU tell the difference? I created a short quiz in the video below to find out. Also, I include a few pointers on how to progress from that initial interest to serious romantic chemistry.

CAVEAT:  These answers don't apply to every situation, and I am not a relationship guru. Experts agree however, that if someone is giving you these signals it's generally a very good sign.

What you'll learn from this video:

  1. Why dance chemistry doesn't necessarily equal romantic chemistry.
  2. Key body language secrets that reveal how your dance partner really feels.
  3. What a dancer is really saying when they finish a dance by hugging you or kissing your check.
  4. An easy way to tell if your crush is single or not.
  5. The decision you have to make, that can make or break a romance.
  6. An easy way to gradually 'turn up the heat', without putting yourself in an embarrassing position.
  7. Why our bunny rabbit is just so darn cute.

I hope you find all of the above useful (except the last one ;)) and I'll see you next week, when we wrap up with a look at how to manage a long-term relationship with a dancer.

Dance and Romance, Part Two: Making Connections

Ballroom dancing provides an amazing opportunity for people to meet, mingle and flirt with each other. But that doesn't mean you can just start tossing out one-liners in the middle of a dance.

Much as I know you want to skip to the steamy stuff, we first have to know how to make a great first impression with our future sweetheart:

To summarize, the main points to remember are:

  1. Join a group class! It's the easiest way to start meeting potential partners, especially since they're at your level and you'll be seeing them regularly.
  2. Nobody judges us harder than we judge ourselves. Knowing and accepting that helps take our mind off needing to prove ourselves, so we can just be natural.
  3. Save conversation for before or after the dance or group class. Dancing is why most people are there after all, and it's a MAJOR turnoff if you look like you just want to pick up.
  4. Ask questions, and listen to the answers - people love it when the spotlight is on them.
  5. It's not a date (necessarily) if you invite someone out for a coffee after a class or social - people can get comfortable with you pretty quickly after dancing a while, and an evening drink can be as much in friendship as anything else.
  6. Remember their name! I know it sucks, but there's some tips to help you - like repeating it, rhyming it with another word, or connecting it to imagery.
  7. Watch for positive or negative body language: open body posture facing towards you with direct eye contact is a good sign, while turned away or closed body position with wandering eyes are red flags.
  8. Don't put all your hopes on one person. The more connections you make, the less painful it is if one of them doesn't work out.

Of course, all the tips above are great if you just want to make friends as well (and isn't that just a bonus?) Next time, we'll explore how to tell if someone might be interested in more than friendship - and how to respond.

Dance and Romance, Part One: Mythbusting

flirting ballroom dance couple

Ballroom dancing can be an wonderful opportunity or a bitter disappointment for the single person - it all depends on their mindset.

Take a moment to ask yourself, 'do I have any negative beliefs about what ballroom dancers are like? Are there any assumptions I have about what happens at a sweaty dance hall?'

Fact is, the world of ballroom dancing is very different from the world we normally live in. And while I could just list each dance myth and explain why it's false, it's more fun to tell you a few stories to put it in perspective:

In case you didn't spot them, these are the main assumptions that non-dancers make about romance on the dance floor:

  1. If you ballroom dance, it's probably an excuse to hit on someone.
  2. If others dress provocatively, they're looking to hook up.
  3. If your b/f or g/f starts dancing with another person, they're thinking about cheating on you.

I'm not saying there aren't people who would take advantage of other dancers. And there's certainly nothing wrong with looking for a one-night stand. But the reality is, most people dance simply because they LIKE to.

You see, there are different social norms at play on the ballroom dance floor. Dancing closely with someone for example, even if they came with a romantic partner, is just part of enjoying a dance together. Once it's done, it's you're off to find someone else.

And yes, some people might dress 'slutty', but it's far more likely they're just confident and like the attention, NOT that they're looking to take someone home for the night.

All that said, ballroom dancing is still one of the best ways to meet and start romantic entanglements. Next time, we'll continue by looking at the difference between someone showing true interest, and just having fun.

Benefits of Dance, Part Four: Practical Benefits

What if I told you that ballroom dancing could help you make a better impression at a job interview? Or a better basketball or hockey player?  Would you think I'm crazy?

The reality is ballroom dancing can do all these things, and so much more:

As I explain in this video, the benefits of ballroom dancing are not confined to the dance floor. It's all about the magic of cross-training.

Although cross-training refers to improving an athlete's performance, I would offer this expanded definition:

Cross-training (noun) - To engage in an activity other than the one's main activity, in order to increase overall performance in that activity.

In other words, ballroom dance will strengthen fundamental skills, like endurance, balance, dexterity, faster reflexes, memory, lateral thinking... The list goes on and on. These improved skills then help you in virtually every facet of your life.

Here's just a few examples I didn't cover in the video:

  1. Better co-ordination: Helps to reduce injury in jobs that involve heavy lifting or other physical activity.
  2. Faster reflexes: More likely to react in time if the car in front of you stops suddenly.
  3. Improved sense of rhythm: Allows you to better appreciate the nuances of good music.
  4. Greater flexibility: Able to remain limber and lean much later in life than a non-dancer.
  5. More in touch with emotions: Take more pleasure out of good moments... And spot earlier when something feels wrong.

The longer you've been dancing and actively learning, the more of these benefits you start noticing. So, how has dancing improved your life today?

Benefits of Dance, Part One: Physical
Benefits of Dance, Part Two: Mental
Benefits of Dance, Part Three: Personal Development

Couple ballroom dancing

Benefits of Dance, Part Three – Personal Development

Me talking about the emotional and spiritual benefits of dance

It feels good to dance! But it's one thing to know it, another to know WHY we love dancing so much. Knowing where our enjoyment of ballroom dancing comes from helps to motivate us through the hard times, and enhance the good times.

In this penultimate episode on the benefits of dancing, I'll be covering:

  1. How ballroom dancing helps you know people from every walk of life.
  2. Why the connection you get with your ballroom dance partner can be one of the deepest connections there is.
  3. Why ballroom dancing helps bring out your natural authenticity.
  4. The surprising reason why social ballroom dancing can be a great team-building exercise.
  5. Why your confidence benefits from learning a skill like dancing.
  6. A simple way to use dance to destress from work.
  7. How dancing can be good for your health - but not in the way you think.
  8. The way in which ballroom dancing allows you to express your best self, on AND off the dance floor.

About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 16 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. He currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada. Click here to see when he’s teaching.

Benefits of Dance Part Two: Mental

In part two in our benefits of ballroom dance series, we explore some of the ways dance can improve the speed and flexibility of our mental capacity.

We also take a closer look at studies that talk about how dancing reduces your risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or Dementia. What we find isn't what you would expect!

Sorry for the lighting problems on this one folks!

Benefits of Dance Part One: Physical

Welcome to our series on the benefits of dance! Dancing is quite unique, in that it really is a full-body strengthening activity. In this video, I discuss some of most important ways dance does a body good.

A 5-Day Dance Camp Taught Me Perseverance, Part Three

dance camp

Finally, we come to the end of my 5-Day Dance Camp adventure! For those of you who haven’t read the previous articles, you can find them here and here.

Day Four:

I wake up feeling energized after my morale-boosting discovery from the day before. Walking back on the floor and greeting fellow dancers like old friends, I spot Matt Auclair and a high level student dancing - of all things - a dub-stepped West Coast Swing, and making it look good.

It amazes me how every time I begin to develop a sense of pride in what I’ve accomplished, the universe puts someone in front of me who’s learned the techniques I’ve been sweating over, but half a lifetime ago. I refocus on my spinning practice.

dance camp

The aches in my body have virtually faded into the background, like a sleeping dragon threatening to wake at a moments notice. Fortunately, musicality class is next, so the adrenaline stays up. Unfortunately, Debbie Figueroa tells us it will be blues-themed. Crap.

It’s not that I don’t like blues, just that I’ve always found it hard to dance to it. Or so I think, until ‘Layla’ comes on, a song I know like the back of my hand. I quickly decide blues is actually the most awesome music to dance to, as long as you know it well. By the time we’re done, I’m borrowing my fiancé’s brace to soothe my complaining ankle.

At times, I step back and simply marvel at how happy I am to be here. I laugh at Matt’s jokes, listen to Debbie’s tidbits of wisdom, and dance like crazy when Cameo tells us to. My mind is too tired to add anything that would destroy these beautiful moments.

dance camp

Day Five:

Everyone’s a bit quieter, perhaps conserving energy for the long drive home that night. There’s an unspoken ‘goodbye’ with each partner switch. Bittersweet emotions float through the room.

Around the middle of the day, my energy levels crash, hard. Numerous times I have to bite back defensive retorts to well-meant suggestions. I struggle to find my centre. This isn’t what I want my last memories at camp to be.

dance camp

After dinner, I take an emergency nap in the lounge. Nearby, the instructors eat at the table. As they talk, something occurs to me: They’re just as tired as we are, in fact probably more so. If they can rally themselves to keep giving their best, surely I can too.

I know my reserves are holding when Matt actually finds something to compliment in my musicality. ‘I’ve been yelling at this guy all weekend about getting too excited with his styling’ he announced to the class. ‘But you know what? This level of energy actually works here.’

As the evening wraps up, I hear one of the instructors talking to a couple of newcomers. ‘I want you to know that a lot of beginners feel intimidated here, and I’m glad you stuck it out’, they say, before adding; ‘don’t worry - there’s plenty of things I suck at too.’

In a flash, I realize I’ve said much the same to my own students. Even this high-level instructor, winner of countless awards, recognized they weren’t the best at everything - what made them champions is that they persevered, pushing through their limits instead of being stopped by them.

dance camp

‘The challenges really don’t go away’ I reflect, as we stagger into the car and drive out of Ancaster. ‘But our ability to deal with them gets stronger, and that determines how far we go.’

And so, to those readers who’ve faced some hardships, in dancing and in life, but made the choice to keep going anyway, I applaud you: You share something in common with the greatest champion dancers in the world.

dance camp

About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 16 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. He currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada. Click here to see when he's teaching.

A 5-Day Dance Camp Taught Me Perseverance, Part Two

dance camp

If you have been following from last time, I was relating my experiences at the West Coast Swing Dance Camp in Ancaster, Ontario - 5 gruelling days that taught me a lot about what drives us, whether we’ve been dancing for 10 months or 10 years.

The first two days of camp were challenging, but I knew from past experience that the worst - and best - were still yet to come.

Day Three:

I’m getting better at just ignoring my complaining feet now, but my exhausted mind is another story. I switch from pants to shorts, hoping the cooler temperatures will help keep me awake.

dance camp

At the next coached practice, Matt stops me yet again over my styling. ‘You have to tone it down, especially in your upper body’ he says. I’m trying, but my weary body can’t seem to find the balance between too much styling and too little.

I keep reminding myself this is part of the process, thinking of how last year I was so frustrated I wanted to quit on the spot, and how glad I was when I stuck it out instead. The breakthrough is coming… Just a little longer…

It comes during a styling class with Cameo Cross, in which only the leaders can hear the music played through their earplugs, while the follower’s try to emulate the style of the song based on what their leader does. Barely 10 seconds into the first song, Cameo tears into me.

dance camp

‘You aren’t paying any attention to what she’s doing’, she points out. ‘You’re just focusing on your own moves.’

I blinked. ‘What?’

‘You have to watch your partner more, let them experiment with what they think is happening, and then compliment them with your own movement. If you just try to show them, the connection becomes dead at the wrist.’

Gradually the implications of what she is telling me sinks in - I was so used to ballroom dancing, where the leader initiates most of the movement, I’d forgotten that my partner has equal input.

dance camp

The next coached practice is a revelation: Not only can I create great moments with my partner, many of the best styling moments have nothing to do with me! I simply respond to what my partners do, rather than ‘forcing’ my own moves. Many of them congratulate me on passing a major checkpoint in my dancing.

Like most of us, I’d passed through a rough patch in my dancing, but had made it to a new level through the power of perseverance. I don’t have any special talents in this regard; I simply kept pushing until something gave. And so can you.

Next time, I wrap up with my final and most important discoveries about how important perseverance is, and how it’s something we all share regardless of our ability level.

dance camp

About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 16 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. He currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada. Click here to see when he's teaching.