How to dance with someone taller than you

Managing Height Differences While Dancing


Managing Height Differences While Dancing

- - Jorge

One of my friends is a modern progressive follower with old-school romantic preferences: leads to be taller, dark and handsome. Now, for leads, if you are indeed taller, dark and handsome, you’ll likely have success both in romance and on the dance floor. As for me, I have two out of three! We can’t control our height (we actually can, more on this later). So dancers have to accept height differences, their limitations, and chose to partner dance with shorter and taller people anyway.

Don’t be afraid of heights

I believe taller people, particularly followers, have a harder time finding dance partners. Leads have to take initiative and ask a follow to dance. If that follower is taller than them, it’s possible that they’ll become intimidated and their fear of rejection on the dance floor increases, so it’s easier to look for a different partner rather than face that fear. In my experience, taller follows as are just as nice as everyone else and would be delighted if more leads asked them to dance.

Different Height Differences

Let’s use three different sizes for people: Short, Medium and Tall. The possible combinations are:

Short Short
Short Medium
Short Tall
Medium Short
Medium Medium
Medium Tall
Tall Short
Tall Medium
Tall Tall
You’re the same height as your partner!
You are taller than your partner
You are shorter than your partner
The height difference between you and your partner is significant and the TALLER of you will likely need to heavily compensate for the other.

Preparing for the dance

One option to manage height differences, especially if you have a preferred dance partner (or a date), is to prepare ahead of time with appropriate dance wear. Are you taller than your partner? Consider leaving your heels home and use flats instead. Your feet will probably thank you at the end of the night, as well. If you are shorter than your partner, consider heeled dance shoes, whether they be country boots or Latin heeled shoes. For leads as well… show your partner you can both lead them and do your own turns. Remember the friend I mentioned earlier who likes taller, dark, handsome leads? She’s tall, AND loves to wear high heels. Don’t ever feel like you need to sacrifice something to enjoy a dance, as long as you and your partner compromise, you’ll be fine.

Avoid awkwardness

I was at a social salsa dance last weekend, dancing and talking with a girl. She pointed out one of the other male leads and mentioned that she didn’t feel particularly comfortable with him. After she described some other red flags like him trying to teach her a move on the dance floor, she also mentioned “and he just kept staring at my chest… I mean, maybe it’s because he’s short, but still.” It was a valid point. While sometimes it’s hard to keep eye contact when someone’s chest is in your peripheral vision, it is possible and you should make an effort. Just don’t make it creepy! I’m not the tallest guy, but I was dancing ballroom a few years ago with a much shorter girl one time. All she did was look up at me, whether I was talking to her or not, directly into my eyes. Comfortable and friendly at first, then odd, then awkward and then uncomfortable. Watch out for dancing quirks, or ask your friends if you have any.


When I teach dancing and make students rotate partners, every now and then there will be a pairing with large height differences. The main ways I’ve asked dance students to compensate for this are:

If there’s a significant height difference between you:

  • Realize that there are some moves you’re not going to be able to do.
    Tabletops where your upper body length are longer than your partner’s arm reach are going to hurt one of you.
  • If you are leading, check your partner’s limbs length.
    Underarm turns at their head level, not yours. Match the stride of your steps to your partner’s.
  • Don’t be afraid to compensate
    Follow the tips for taller and shorter people below.
  • If you’re having issues learning in a class because of height differences, ask your teacher
    A great dance teacher should be able to tell you how to modify a move to make it easier on both of you.

If you are taller than your partner:

  • Try to be grounded during non-turning parts of the dance
    Relax your knees, maybe bend them a bit. Watch out for short skirts or tight clothing.
  • Are you turning? Lower your reach
    Bring your hand closer towards your head or temple. If still too tall, bend your knees, then turn around on your trip back up
  • Talk to your partner
    That prevents the awkwardness of them having to stare at your body parts.
  • Do not overcompensate
    Dancing on bent knees the whole night will keep you tired and sore. Be strategic!

If you are shorter than your partner:

  • Keep good dance posture
    A good dance posture will make you look and feel better, with and added bonus of boosting your height by one or more inches when done right.
  • Tell your partner of any issues
    If something doesn’t feel right, tell your partner. They might just need a quick adjustment, like giving you more space.
  • Look up and to the sides, not to their chest
    Looking at your partner and making eye contact is useful, but don’t over do it. Look to their arms or hands if you’re in a closed position, or to the side past their shoulders. Use floor craft to make sure the both of you on’t run into other couples.
  • Stay safe
    Watch out for elbows if your partner has longer arms than you.


Where some see limitations, be the one to look for opportunity. I learned this move where I would do a hand throw behind the back, catch it on the other side with the same hand, and then rotate my whole body underneath it and around it (limbo-style!) to appear on the other side.I was excited and tried it with several women, but my lower back was not happy. When I tried it with taller women, it worked amazingly well! I got comments like “Wow!” and “Where did he go?” I’ll file that under success.

Shorter people can also get air! Try jumping during your next turn for an extra oomph. Enjoy it while it lasts!


Like many human interactions, over-worrying can become a self-fulfilled prophecy. Your height differences issues will project onto your partner, making them reciprocate the feeling, culminating in a lousy dance experience.

Tell yourself it will be fine. Even small changes and adjustments in position will work. If you’re unsure if a move will work or not, tell your partner “hey, I want to try this move out, but it might be tricky. Want to give it a try?”

Size Matters: Dance Partners Taller/Shorter Than You

Barbara Tucker

Throughout my active ballroom dancing career, I stood at 5’10”.  For that reason, I was considered to be a tall woman.  As a ballroom dance professional, I’ve danced with many shorter fellas.  Of course, I’ve also danced with much taller men.  Because size matters if there’s a significant difference in partner’s heights, here are some tips to make things work.

If size matters, what are some of the issues?

Let’s begin with underarm turns.

The woman turns under her arm, not the leader’s arm. In fact, the leader does his underarm turns the same way, by going under his own arm.

Free spins can substitute for underarm turns. A free spin is first led by a short windup in the opposite direction of the turn. Then, the partners compress into each others hand followed by a release to a spin with no hand hold.

Body contact is not always possible.

When ballroom dance partners are not a good fit as far as their height is concerned, adjustments have to be made. For one thing, it’s not possible to have good body contact in the Smooth dances when one partner has long legs while the other has short. If that’s the case, the bodies will not line up to allow for a comfortable dance position. This makes a strong case for relaxing the frame.

Another thing to consider is a shorter dancer won’t be able to take the longer strides a taller partner might enjoy. Once again, compromise is the name of the game.

For a Good Fit, Relax the Frame

Ballroom dancers must keep a good frame. The frame is how the arms are held while dancing. A good, solid frame from the leader lets the follower know where to move. His partner’s strong frame offers the resistance needed for following. This is how the couple moves as one.

So, we’ve gotta have a good frame. However, the difference in heights makes it impossible to hold it straight. The taller person will keep a strong frame, but he or she will have to lower it to be comfortable with their partner. In other words, the elbows will point a little towards the floor.

Notice the couple on the left.
He’s much taller, so he relaxes his frame for his partner’s comfort.

To Heel or Not to Heel – Shoes Matter

If you’re a lady on the taller side who loves to dance, you might want to consider wearing a shorter heel or flats when you go out.  It’s just a suggestion.  

Take it from me, it’s sometimes hard for a tall lady to get all the dances she’d like.  If wearing a shorter heel or flats helps, why not?  

Here’s a cute shoe with a low heel.

On the other hand, if the lady is a bit shorter, it would be smart for her to wear a good-sized heel so she’ll be a good fit for a taller partner. Again, level the playing field, so to speak.

Anything else?

Yes. One way to get around the size matters thing is to consider dancing Rhythm or Club dances with a taller/shorter partner. Cha Cha, Swing, Salsa, and Bachata are some examples of great dances. And, in these dances, size doesn’t matter. They’re more relaxed. Once you figure out the turns and spins, they’re fun and easy.

Here’s an example of a relaxed Swing where the man has about a foot on the lady.

Don’t avoid the dance floor. Big girls, little guys or big men, little ladies all deserve to have a good time on the dance floor. Just do it!

One last thing, this is a cool post about acquiring a “tall personality“.


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Published by Barbara Tucker

I'm a ballroom dance professional with over 40 years experience as an instructor, supervisor, manager, studio owner, dance director, and now, dance blogger. My aim is to guide curious people into the cradle of partner dancing, both social and competitive. Looking for a life-changing experience? Come on in! View all posts by Barbara Tucker

How to start dancing right now — choreographers tell


“It's easier to find yourself in dancing”.
How to take the first step towards the fact that you like

Four professional dancer
about where to find freedom and how to stop comparing yourself with the other

Text: Aina Preston


Michelle Beatz

Tagir Gindullin


Music is a universal instrument that moves the world, it is literally inscribed in our DNA. With its help, we can inspire and shape the pop culture of the present and future here and now. Music is inextricably linked with dance. Dancers feel the rhythm and are able to harmoniously complement the musical composition with movements. It is dance that gives them a powerful emotional release and helps them relax. And to feel this, it is worth taking one small risk - allowing yourself to dissolve into the music and turn off your head. How to take the first step and not be afraid to try what you are drawn to? We deal with Tommy Jeans, PRODANCES and our heroes, who found a common language with their fears and learned to express emotions through music and movements.



Choice between directions

I consider myself a versatile artist, doing several types of dance, but most of all I am known for the Vogue culture. This is not just a dance style, but a whole culture about protecting the rights of sexual minorities. This culture is very daring: here and now you can look whatever you like - fully comply with fantasies, externally and internally, carry yourself proudly, inventing new images. Vogue is a great occasion to dress up, surprise, delight. Exactly 10 years I have been developing in this direction, and it does not bother me, I constantly learn new things.

Synergy of dance and music

Good composition inspires dance. First came the music, then came the dance. But it also happens that a dance is born in silence, without sounds: when you have the right mood and a visualization of movements is born in your head. But this comes with experience. Of course, dance and music are closely related.

An alternative to dancing

Now, in parallel with dancing, I am developing as a director, producer and co-organizer of dance events, doing photography and video. Therefore, it seems that if it were not for the dance, then my activity would be connected with the organization of cultural events. I like to create, develop and bring something new, inspire myself and others, reveal people, come up with new ideas. I also love to cook, so I could be a great cook.

How the image begins

I focus on my mood, how I look: I can be in different weights, with different colors and lengths of hair. Trends play an important role here. Of course, first of all, I start from my expectations and how I want to look. I try not to repeat myself, to be different. I ask myself what kind of makeup I want: bright, aggressive, calm, romantic, defiant. Do I want to be sexy or conservative. This is how I collect the image. I take things from my own wardrobe or turn to stylists, ateliers, sometimes I can rent something from showrooms. Creating an image is always very interesting, it helps to show creativity.

Uniqueness - awareness

Comparison does not give us anything, it takes energy and strength that can be spent on developing and multiplying potential. The uniqueness must really be realized, each person defines himself. Sometimes you need to think about what you want. As soon as you realize your own value, then claims to yourself will disappear. You can’t compare your beginning of the path with someone else’s middle.

Finding yourself

It is not worth holding on to people and things, no matter how selfish it may sound. Then you will understand what you like, and what is imposed by society. When looking for your own business, it is important to start from inner feelings, focus on those very “butterflies in the stomach”.

Philosophy of dance

Dance is body language. I dreamed of being a presenter, but oratory is difficult for me, it’s easier for me not to speak, but to dance. When I hear music, I breathe, the body emits vibrations, vibrations are reflected in the plasticity of forms, in movements, emotions. Dancing helps to develop personality. It's a unique way of expressing yourself. Sometimes words are not needed to understand us.



Sports and creativity

My dancing journey began 10-12 years ago. I quit playing professional football, where I got seriously injured, burned out emotionally and physically, and could not walk normally. A friend called me to support him at a dance performance, where I saw how people can control and feel their body, I missed this in football. I think dance and football are similar: football also has a pace, a rhythm, it's a dance with a ball. But the structure is different, football is a sport, and dance is creativity.

The right music

I'm looking for music on streaming services. Usually I think about which track is more suitable for a performance, I put on performers who meet the requirements, and I look for a suitable track. Everything is pretty simple.


Usually at such moments I get distracted: I review some large-scale shows, performances of stars, listen to music. There is another way - to abstract. If everything is tired, you need to give yourself time to relax, switch to another activity. You can cook food, watch a movie. Taking a break from what you do all the time can provide inspiration and motivation.

Dance clothes

Clothes are one of the main attributes of dance. It gives character to movements, creates mood. I love to dance in jeans, voluminous t-shirts. It is very important for dancers that we ourselves like how we look, this sets the tone for the performance.

Comparing is okay

When you're at the start, it's okay to compare yourself to others. Helps you understand what you are missing. But then it is better to focus on your own feelings. Everyone has their own style, physiology and musicality, you just need to work on technique. When people follow someone, try to copy, it only leads them astray.

Tune TO

Friendship with Tommy Jeans

The first project with Tommy Jeans was something very unusual for me. I got to know the brand better, learned a lot of new things, despite the fact that I have been wearing their clothes for a long time. The collaboration was a pleasant surprise. The emotions are very cool, I hope that in the future we will be friends and work with Tommy Jeans.




The main thing is to continue

I have been dancing for 16 years and I never once thought of quitting. In 2012, I broke my arm, and after the operation there was practically no rehabilitation period - two weeks later I was already in the gym. For some time he danced only on his feet, with his hand bandaged, and two months later he already participated in the championship. With apprehension, of course, but he participated. The main thing here is to continue.

Hobby can become a profession

I have been dancing since I was 10 years old, but in childhood I did not realize what and why I was doing, did not set big goals. Some results began to appear in the first years of training. At the age of 14, I went to live in Moscow, without parents, then the realization came that dancing could become my life's work. This transition of a hobby into a profession happened very smoothly and organically, but it could not be otherwise.

Music is paramount

When it comes to performing, music is very important. If the audience likes the composition, then my solo will definitely be remembered. It is also important for me how my body and soul respond to the track. At competitions, the DJ is responsible for the music, the dancers do not know what they will perform under. This is freestyle, improvisation, connection with the composition. If you fall into a musical "pit" during a battle - this is the most difficult moment, you need the right settings. In general, music is paramount. If the dance has a great soundtrack, then there are more chances to show your maximum.

Clothing as a guide

I wear what I feel comfortable and easy to move in. I perform mainly in sports things. In breakdancing, style is very important. I always separate things: for everyday life, training, competitions, festivals. Each separate occasion requires a corresponding image.

Metamorphoses in a career

At the very beginning of the journey, it was not difficult at all: there were no obligations, deadlines, projects. I remember that in my childhood a bank was built next to my house and tiles were laid - I was happy just because I could spin on this tile. Now it is more difficult - more responsibility. You begin to treat your body differently, study yourself, fill bumps. For example, there is such an element of air twist (power rotational movement in breakdance), all my life I did it intuitively, and only after 10 years I realized that there is a technique that you just need to master.

The excitement hasn't gone away

I've competed in championships in over 30 countries, performed on big stages, acted in TV projects, but the excitement hasn't gone away. At small events, it is a little less, but at the World Cup, where legends look at you, this feeling pervades the body. I use it to my advantage - as soon as I take a step, I release adrenaline and accelerate.

Everyone is unique

We are all special, no two people are the same. Uniqueness is not something to strive for, it is already in everyone. You need to be able to feel yourself and your needs, to do what you really like. Working on oneself and realizing one's potential is what makes a person himself.

Eva Uvarova

Eva Uvarova

restrictions and freedom

since childhood I have been engaged in gymnastics (until the video with my VOG was scattered on the Internet) and today I understand - both sports and dancing require a full return. In addition, they become part of your life, which brings you a storm of emotions. The main difference is that in sports you are limited, you adhere to discipline, and in dancing you are free, open to new things. It is easier to find yourself in dancing.

Dancing is an opportunity

A professional dance career has opened up many opportunities. Thanks to dancing, I met interesting people - sport would hardly have given me such a chance. The people who appeared in my life incredibly support and inspire me, it helps to develop. I was able to visit different countries, see what other dancers are capable of. I also starred in music videos, collaborated with major brands, for example, in October I participated in the Tommy Jeans x PRODANCE project for the first time. Then I was able to show my dance to a large audience and proved to myself that I can achieve a lot. I have long liked the Tommy Jeans brand, and the opportunity to work together made me very happy.

Style is a mix

Honestly, I can't describe my dancing style in one word. I tried many directions, most of all contemporary or modern dance resonates with me. The plasticity and technique of this style are very close to me, I like the sensations during movements. To summarize, my dance style is a mix of different directions, improvisation, taking into account different dance experiences.

Motivation and willpower

Willpower helps to achieve goals. I make decisions and start working and giving my best. If you really do what you love, then no additional motivation is needed. What you love doesn't require much effort.

Clothes are a reflection of yourself

Clothes help complete the dance. If I go to hip-hop, then I choose voluminous things. I associate this style with freedom, so clothes should not hinder movement. If I go vogue, I choose tight-fitting clothes that emphasize the curves of the body and help me feel more confident.

Music guides

Place of music in dance

Normally dancers choose music first. With the help of the body, we try to convey the lyrics of the song, the mood. I first look for a track, and then I select a choreography that describes the melody, words and feelings.


Comparison is a fine line

By comparing, we evaluate ourselves, and this affects our confidence, general condition and desire to move on. Comparison sometimes helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, but most people tend to look for flaws in themselves, so more often it is quite destructive and interferes with the implementation of plans. There is a fine line here: if a person is able to objectively evaluate his own and other people's abilities, then the comparison is acceptable, but if not, it is better not to even start.

Become part of the community

Tommy Jeans Global Brand Initiative supports talented people who are disrupting the existing order for positive change.

Right now @tommyjeans is becoming a content platform where everyone can get creative and take the first step towards their dreams.

For example, take part in a competition and get the opportunity to win an online course, during which you will be supported by choreographers in a private chat. There will also be prizes from Tommy Jeans and PRODANCES.


Post your story on Instagram about why you want to dance. It can be a short video with a story, a dance, or a photo with text. The main condition is to mark three accounts: @tommyjeans,,

On March 23, we will choose the 50 most inspiring stories, and their authors will receive prizes and the opportunity to completely change their lives.

Learn more about Tommy Jeans X PRODANCE

Tommy Jeans supports those who want to express themselves in a new way, discover new talents and emphasize their own uniqueness. Look for the brand's classics and the new spring collection in branded stores in Moscow:

Metropolis shopping center
2nd floor

European shopping center
3rd floor, atrium Berlin

Aviapark shopping center
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Dancing in a dream: interpretation from dream books


Dancers: Pixabay

What does it mean to dance in a dream? Such a dream usually tells about pleasant things. What he saw testifies to the imminent prospects, the fulfillment of the cherished, the well-being and strengthening of the social significance of the individual. Is it really? Let's figure out why we dream of dancing.

Why dream of dancing according to Freud's dream book?

A world-famous psychologist claims that a dream about a dance is a good sign if you enjoy what is happening. The dream speaks of problems that burdened, but will soon pass. A dream indicates that a person is experiencing a psychological discharge.

A dream in which you want to dance very much, speaks of too much sexual potential, which cannot be realized in reality.

If you are not dancing in a dream, but you are watching nearby, but you get visual pleasure from what is happening, then the subconscious is hinting: you are dreaming of trying something condemned by the public as immoral. We are talking about same-sex love, which you subconsciously consider attractive.

Why dream of dancing in a dream according to Miller's dream book?

What does it mean to dance in a dream? Miller's dream interpretation is interpreted as follows:

  1. Moving to music is a good sign. The dream hints that the problems that are troubling at the moment will soon cease to bother. Why dream of dancing alone? Leave everything to chance, once again do not overstrain, the result will be positive.
  2. What else will the dream book tell about? Dancing in pairs - the help that is so needed will come from a life partner.
  3. Dance also speaks of success in personal life. Subconsciously prepare for the wedding. It is important to consider the details of the dream. A dance with a chosen one or a chosen one speaks of auspiciousness.

For careerists, dancing in a dream speaks of future success, professional growth and promotion at work. If you are dancing at a holiday, then expect a quick profit.

Why dream of dancing in a dream according to an esoteric dream book?

What will the esoteric dream book tell about? Dancing in a dream has several explanations:

  • Stormy and cheerful dances - expect problems with the musculoskeletal system (dislocation, fracture, sciatica, and so on).
  • Slow pair dance - a long quarrel, divorce and problems in the love field.
  • Watching dancers is an unpleasant discussion in which you sort things out.

What else will the dream book tell? Dancing on stage - the subconscious hints at impending depression and illness due to envy of the well-being of other people.

Why dream of dancing according to Vanga's dream book?

Vanga spoke about dancing in a bad way. She believed that the desire to move to the music foreshadows:

  1. Imminent disease of the musculoskeletal system. Wanted to dance in a dream? The dream interpretation warns: go to a specialist and check the condition of the body.
  2. If you dreamed of ballroom dancing, others envy you. Expect unpleasant gossip and rumors.
  3. Funny dances in your house speak of quarrels in the family and with neighbors. Be attentive to others, beware of small conflicts, as they will develop into major problems.

Why dream of dancing according to Grishina's "Noble Dream Book"?

A girl dancing at sunset: Pixabay

Nina Grishina wrote about dreaming dances in her dream book as follows:

  • Simple dance - you are disturbed by thoughts of love intimacy with a specific person. Another such dream speaks of psychological elasticity, which will soon help.
  • Go dancing - a confident attitude will lead to success.
  • If you participate in a round dance, you have become the goal of discussion, a gamble or an entertaining dialogue is ahead.
  • Get carried away by a dizzying dance - you have embarked on the wrong path to achieve your goal, intentionally do not think about the bad.
  • There is no way to stop during the dance - a feeling of impending danger that cannot be avoided overtook.
  • A sprained leg will tell about harm to the body and danger due to active actions accompanied by music.
  • Legs do not obey, they seem to have grown to the floor - you feel wrong, think about your inert and slow state, which will not lead to anything good.
  • The girl dreamed that her partner was spinning her around him - a signal of forgetfulness and absent-mindedness.
  • Dancing with a partner or partner - a person you lust for, are afraid of or are not completely sure of him.
  • If you witnessed the dance of a group of people, passions flare up around you.
  • What else will the dream book tell about? To dance a waltz - enter into a difficult relationship with a specific person.

    Why dream of dancing according to an Islamic dream book?

    In Muslim culture, dancing in a dream is an unfavorable sign. Such a dream speaks of a waste of time. Review your pastime, perhaps you need to change something in order to become more productive and efficient.

    If nothing is changed, then the applied forces are in vain. More dances will indicate the problems that the dreamer himself will create. Be careful what you do so you don't get into trouble.

    In a dream, someone from the family is dancing - quarrel with this person. For a patient, such a dream speaks of a deterioration in his condition, but for a prisoner, a dream is a good sign, since he will soon be released.

    Why dream of dancing according to a folk dream book?

    Why dream of dancing in a dream? The meaning of a dream depends on various factors. It is important to consider the partner, dance style and setting. General interpretations are as follows:

    What does the partner testify to?

    Dancing in a dream with a man - you will get married soon. Mutual understanding and harmony will reign in the family. Such a dream has another interpretation: family life with this person will become the subject of envy. Try not to show off your relationship.

    Participating in a dance with several people circling? Expect a major scandal. Take a close look at your surroundings, quarrel with one of your relatives or friends.

    Don't worry if you dance alone in your dream. This is a good sign that indicates financial gain, merit and success. Another good thing is dancing with a child. There will be more positive things in your life. Such a dream tells a woman: expect replenishment in the family.

    What will the dance style tell about?

    In a dream, dancing a waltz is family happiness. The problems of a loved one will improve, and harmony will reign in the family.

    Learn more