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.

Dealing with Jealousy when Dating a Dancer

dating a dancer

Dating a dancer can carry plenty of misunderstandings. Without an understanding of the social norms of the ballroom dance world, it’s hardly surprising that, when you see your beau enfolded in the arms of another, smiling as they move together, your first impulse is to grab your partner’s arm pull them off the floor.

Part of dating a dancer means accepting that ballroom dancing follows different rules from your standard bump n’ grind club. So how do you know what’s acceptable and what isn’t?

A summary of ballroom social norms

At your average ballroom or Latin club, it’s very common to dance with multiple partners (although some couples do dance ‘exclusively’). Sometimes they will dance quite closely to each other, either because a particular dance style calls for it, or they are (or want to appear to be) using more advanced technique. You might even see them exchange numbers afterwards!  And yet, none of this means they are ‘interested’ in each other. When dating a dancer, adhere to the lyrics of ‘save the last dance for me’.

Why are you jealous?

For a non-dancer dating a dancer, it’s easy to get a feeling that something isn’t right when watching your partner dancing with others. And yet, those feelings can often be distorted, causing you to take rash actions, like shouting at your partner in public.

dating a dancer

To test your feelings, take this 3-step approach:

  1. Ask: Are there any facts that support the way I feel? For example, are they flirting with their dance partner off the dance floor? Do they have a history of flirting with strangers, and dismissing your complaints about it?
  2. Ask: Could there be any other reason why my partner and this person seem to be acting so close? Examples include: he’s a long-lost friend, a teacher she used to take lessons with, or she’s just a social person who likes to meet new friends and dance partners!
  3. Be honest with yourself about any insecurities you may have about your dancing partner. For example, do you have a history of people telling you that you are overreacting, and that this is just part of dating a dancer?
dating a dancer
Did you just smile at him?? You hussy!

When is it going too far?

Ultimately, you may have to have ‘the awkward conversation’ with your partner. I strongly recommend you avoid accusations or ultimatums, but just tell them how you feel. This gives your partner a chance to tell you their side of the story, which may well save your relationship. And if you still feel what they are doing isn’t right, and they aren’t willing to change, say goodbye: No one is worth compromising your values for.

dating a dancer

About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada. Click here to see Ian’s current teaching schedule.

4 Things to Know Before You Date a Dancer

Date a Dancer

Announce that you’ve started to date a dancer, and you’re likely to get high-fives from your locker room friends or juicy detail-requests from your shopping entourage. And, my own biases aside, what’s not to like? Ballroom dancers are often in great shape, know how to move their bodies in all kinds of sexy ways, and have a wonderful artistic streak, not to mention great fashion sense. But it’s not all romantic days and steamy nights.

Don’t get me wrong, when you date a dancer, it can be awesome fun (again, completely self-serving here). But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry some unique challenges, especially when you are just getting to know each other.

Date a Dancer

Get used to working around their schedule.

Most professional dancers are busiest in the evening, when everyone else comes to a studio to take lessons, or to a theatre to watch them strut their stuff. Even social dancers will be reluctant to cancel their club nights to hang out with their non-dancing partner. When you date a dancer, it means weekends and lunch dates might be the only time you get to see much of each other. They aren’t avoiding you - they’re just really really busy.

Share the cost of dating more.

A tough reality when you date a dancer is that, despite the glamorous outfits, most dancers aren’t exactly rolling in cash. Assuming they’ll actually let you - maybe even if they won’t - offer to pay for things like meals and theatre tickets. Or, be like my fiancée and sneakily pay for things without telling your partner (because he feels manly paying for everything even if he can’t afford it :))

date a dancer

Curb your jealousy.

If you date a dancer, understand they will be dancing, sometimes quite closely, with other people. That’s part of their job, or at least what makes the dance fun. Despite appearances, it does not mean your relationship is in trouble. In fact, it might be a good sign - they trust you enough to dance full-out without worrying about you getting upset! Prove yourself worthy of that trust, because confidence is sexy.

date a dancer

Be prepared to dance a bit yourself!

When you decide to date a dancer, consider trying a few dance steps yourself. Ballroom dancers love having a romantic partner they can also dance with sometimes. And by the way, they don’t expect you to be as good as them - just make an honest effort to learn, and be prepared to laugh at your (inevitable) mistakes.

Sources:
18 Things You Should Know Before Dating a Dancer
Love and Swing (2): Dancing and Non-dancing Significant Others

About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada. Click here to see Ian’s current teaching schedule.

Using the Languages of Love in Ballroom Dancing

languages of love

As we talked about last week, how we communicate with our partner during a dance lesson can have a major impact on how strongly you feel towards each other. We do this using the 5 languages of love, which are:

  1. Quality time
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Acts of service
  4. Physical touch
  5. Receiving gifts

Today we’ll flesh out each of these love languages with some specific ballroom dance examples.

Quality Time: Express your hidden side

One of the reasons so many people - especially men - are shy about trying ballroom dance is it requires them to stumble through a new skill in front of someone they care about. Since we always want to present our best side to our partner, trying something we don’t know well is just a recipe for disaster, right?

Actually, a great way for couples to grow closer is by learning to express their more ‘fallible’ or ‘human’ side. Because as much as we try and hide it, it’s a relief to just ‘be yourself’, and gives our partner permission to do the same. Use this language of love more if your partner wants to know and feel safe with you.

languages of love
When is that sun going to set?!

Words of Affirmation: There’s always something…

It’s important to pay attention and compliment your partner on the one thing they’re doing well - even if they did ten other things wrong! Compliments help shift their perspective from ruminating over what isn’t working, to noticing the progress they’ve made. A few things you can look for are a strong lead/follow, good posture, looking above the collarbone, moving you through the chest instead of kicking your feet, and staying on time with the music. Use this language of love more if your partner likes hearing you verbally tell them how well they’ve done.

languages of love

Acts of Service: Put each other first

Leaders and followers create a harmonious relationship by honouring each others limits and capabilities. A few examples of this:

  1. Leading earlier or later, depending on how quickly your partner responds.
  2. Dancing to your leader’s timing, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s on time with the music.
  3. Keeping your movements smooth and comfortable for your partner.
  4. If necessary, applying gentle pressure or slowing down to avoid a collision.

This tells your partner you trust and protect them, making them feel safe and cared for. Use this language more if your partner values actions over words.

Physical Touch: Get together and feel alright

All ballroom dancing involves touch of course, but some ask for more than others! If your partner is nervous about dancing intimately with you, consider starting with a dance that keeps you more apart, like a rumba, cha cha, waltz, or foxtrot (bronze level). For those who like getting closer however, salsa, bachata, and kizomba are all good choices.
slow dance

Receiving Gifts: What’s your fancy?

There’s plenty of dance accessories, events, and opportunities you can pick out for your beau. Here’s a few examples:

  1. New and stylish shoes
  2. Gift certificates for a dance costume store
  3. A workshop with the two of you learning from a visiting pro
  4. Entry to a dance hall (often includes a dance lesson to start)
  5. Ballroom themed shirts, hats, notebooks, etc. (check Etsy)

Use this language of love more if your partner likes thoughtful and physical representations of your affection.

languages of love

languages of loveNot sure which love language your partner prefers? Get them to take the quiz here!

 

Sources:
Dancing Can Nurture Relationships
How Ballroom Dancing Can Improve Your Relationship
Making Magic: The Elusive Art of Connection

How Dance Lessons Build Strong Relationships

strong relationships

There’s a lot of articles about how dancing is a great way to build romance. Some even describe it as ‘couple’s therapy’. And yet, the more I teach, the more I realize that a dance is only as good as what a couple brings to it: Ballroom dancing won’t save a failed marriage, or magically create a spark where there is none. What it can do is take a relationship where there is at least some commitment to each other, and make it stronger. But to build strong relationships through dance, what must we know about our partner, and ourselves?

The Language of Love

Ask any therapist out there what the secret to a successful relationship is, and they will answer ‘communication’. But what kinds of communication must we use to build strong relationships with others?

strong relationshipsIt turns out there are five different forms of communication, somewhat cheesily referred to as ‘languages of love’, that we use to relate to and affirm each other. Although everyone responds to some languages better than others, dancing is one of the rare activities that can speak all the languages at once:

Love language  Expressed through dance
Quality time Spending time connecting with your partner, getting in touch with their body, translates into great ‘us time.’
Words of affirmation At any point in the partnership, there are numerous opportunities to applaud your partner’s efforts and progress.
Acts of service Dancing and learning together is a give and take process, as you both learn and help each other improve.
Physical touch This one’s a no-brainer, as all ballroom dances require touch - indeed all strong relationships in dance rely on it!
Receiving gifts There are plenty of dance-related gifts you can get for your partner, from paying their way to a club or performance, to new shoes, outfits, or additional lessons.

strong relationships

This however, does not make ballroom dancing a cure-all. A wise dancer will listen carefully to the language their partner prefers, and make sure they respond in kind during the learning process. Next week, we will look more closely at how you can express the languages of love through ballroom dance, so you can enjoy strong relationships not just with your life partner, but any friends you make along the way.

Sources:
Dancing Can Nurture Relationships