How to dance without a partner

Can you learn to partner dance without a partner?

A question that we are seeing frequently since the start of the Covid-19 crisis is whether or not someone without a partner can and/or should take lessons to learn the partner dances. It’s a reasonable question. The answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why.

Partner dancing consists of two people moving together in sync to music. My teaching mentor, Andy Wong of Grand Ballroom fame, used to talk about the impact it might make on someone to see ballroom dancing for the first time. Two bodies, moving in beautiful harmony to music that is playing. They might wonder how that is possible. Who is directing it? How does one body know what the other wants? How do they know which direction to go, or how fast, or when to change direction? How do they know when to speed up or slow down? It might look like complete magic to someone seeing this for the first time!

In order to accomplish this, both partners need to know some basics of dancing. Each person needs to know how to hold their posture and frame. They each need to know the step patterns. Which foot do you use, and when. Do you move with the heel or the toe? When do you turn? How much do you turn? Questions like these are not really based on what the partner is doing, because both parties need to know enough about these things to be able to move with someone else.

In that sense, each person is learning the basic elements entirely for their own understanding of movement. In fact, I like to tell my female partners that following is not a passive action. Instead, as the follow, they need to be completely independent and dancing for themselves. All the lead does is initiate direction and flow of movement. An active follow who is dancing for herself is a joy to dance with, as she moves fluidly and has an awareness of her own role in the partnership.

This means that both partners need to learn the basics on their own terms. This process doesn’t actually require a partnership. It can even be argued that when two people are learning these basic aspects of dance that dancing together can be more challenging than learning individually first, because one partner can interfere with what the other is trying to do. If one partner is using the wrong foot, or turning the wrong way, or is out of balance, the other partner is influenced. This can result in confusion, frustration and challenges in the learning process.

This means that both partners need to learn the basics on their own terms. This process doesn’t actually require a partnership.

When I became a dance professional, I had to learn the lady’s steps and spent a great deal of time focused on what the lady had to do for every figure in every dance. There were not many group classes where gentlemen were willing to have me dance as their partner, so I spent most of this time learning the lady’s steps on my own. It was valuable time. During my professional examinations, I was marked higher in the practical portion on the lady’s steps than I was on the man’s! By learning the step patterns entirely on my own, I was really able to focus on the details, rather than being distracted by what a partner might be doing.

So the answer to the question is “yes, you not only can learn to partner dance without a partner, but you might learn even better!”

Of course, what you can’t learn by yourself is how it feels to dance with a partner. Things like how it feels to lead your partner, or to be led. When to initiate the lead, or when and how to respond to make the movement smooth for both parties. These aspects of partner dancing are important, but they will come long after you’ve learned the basic foundations. Once you know the different figures, how to hold your posture and your frame, how to move from foot to foot and more, you can layer on top of that the aspects of moving with a partner. My view is that you might move more freely and more beautifully if you already know how to move, than if you are trying to learn how to move while also dealing with a partner who is learning at the same time.

If you don’t have a partner, but are yearning to dance, just do it. You’ll discover a marvelous world of active enjoyment as you learn a skill that will last the rest of your life.

As a dancer, you’ll be more free in how you move in any activity, whether locked into your home because of forced isolation or because you have a chance to sweep a random stranger off their feet.



6 steps to learning ballroom dancing without a partner—really – Get Rhythm

Posted on by James Joseph

Shadow Dancing – Photo by Garry Wilmore

Some elements of dance, like lead and follow, require a partner when you practice. But some things you can do on your own. For me, it was not until I started training by myself—how to hear the beat, phrasing, musicality, music identification, dance identification, step patterns, syncopations, choreography, improvisation—that I was able to move from the beginner to the intermediate level. And away we go:

  1. Hear the beat. Anytime you listen to music—working out, commuting, goofing off, whatever—practice counting sets of 8, which define the beat of the music. (Also check out this post of mine, “7 ways to practice ballroom dancing using an iPod, etc.”) You occasionally need someone to test you, such as a music-maven friend; or you can even try asking your teacher after class. Have them listen to you count sets of 8 and give you feedback. Once you can hear the sets of 8, also known as mini-phrases, listen for the major phrases, the bigger structure in the music (see Intro to Phrasing here).
  2. Mark rhythms. Stand, play music with a slow tempo and mark rhythms by doing weight changes in place. Mark the two basic dance rhythms you’ll use for survival, single rhythm, which is one weight change for every two beats of music (STEP HOLD), and double rhythm, which is two weight changes for every two beats of music (STEP STEP). A dance rhythm, which is always two beats of music (except waltz, which is three beats), is a unit of rhythm; dance rhythms are strung together to create a rhythm pattern. Start on a count 1 of the music and practice these eight-beat rhythm patterns (words in capital letters are the verbal call, which is what you say out loud as you do a pattern): single—single—single—single (STEP HOLD—STEP HOLD—STEP HOLD—STEP HOLD), which is stepping on every other beat of music; double—double—double—double (STEP STEP—STEP STEP—STEP STEP—STEP STEP), which is stepping on every beat of music. Then mix singles and doubles to create the mother of all rhythm patterns (used in salsa, rumba, foxtrot and survival dancing): double—single—double—single (STEP STEP—STEP HOLD—STEP STEP—STEP HOLD)
  3. Mark rhythm patterns from class. Still standing in place, practice marking the rhythm of the footwork you learned in class. For example, if you’re learning salsa, play some salsa music and practice the eight-beat basic rhythm pattern for salsa, double—single—double—single (that’s the third pattern from Step #2 above). Burn the rhythm patterns from class into your brain through endless repetition. Work with a variety of tempos (to practice salsa start with some cha cha music, which has a slower tempo).
  4. Improvise rhythms. Still standing in place, play music and create your own rhythm patterns by mixing single and double rhythms. Improvise. Try, for example, using more double rhythm as the music or vocals speed up; and using more single rhythm as the music or vocals slow down. I don’t mean that the tempo speeds up, I mean that some thematic element in the music speeds up, like the melody or vocals or even just an instrument you want to follow. Blank rhythm is very handy too when the music slows down—it’s a HOLD HOLD, which is no weight changes for every two beats of music. It’s used in dips and I often use it to do a simple dramatic pause to finish a phrase of music. The ability to improvise will help your slow dancing and survival dancing, like when you have to dance to unfamiliar music.
  5. Do step patterns. Now, taking teeny tiny steps—dance is never a contest for distance—mark the step patterns you learned in class (the terminology might be a little confusing: rhythm pattern is just weight changes, step pattern adds direction of movement. For example, the 8-beat salsa step pattern would be (for the leader): FORWARD BACK—TOGETHER HOLD—BACK FORWARD—TOGETHER HOLD (that’s only six weight changes—remember, no weight change on the HOLD). Also, try improvising footwork: still taking teeny tiny steps, move forward, back, side-to-side, rotate left and rotate right. Do whatever seems to fit the music. Get whimsical. Just relax, don’t think and fool around. Become the music.
  6. Shadow dance. Throw up your arms as if you had a partner and were in the standard ballroom embrace, called the closed position. Play a variety of music, both in tempo and in genres. Practice your step patterns as well as improvise stuff and see what works to what kind of music. Visualize a partner in your arms and practice choreography—string moves together to create a routine. Phrase the choreography to the music. Try to capture the mood of the music. Now you’re shadow dancing! Learn this well.

Yeah, sure, you obviously need a partner to learn to dance. But you also need lots of floor time and practicing on your own—especially shadow dancing—counts. Repetition will set you free.

What things do you do to practice on your own? How’s it working out?

Categorieslearn to danceTagsballroom dance classes, ballroom dance practice, ballroom dancing, dance instruction, hear the beat, how to dance, learn to dance, rhythm, shadow dancing


Finding a ballroom dance partner: the right choice. It is a pity that for ten girls, according to statistics, there are nine guys. Sadly, nothing has changed over the years. Girls have always been more into dancing than boys. The choreographers put the bill on modern and popular television programs that popularized the dance. But, nevertheless, such propaganda is not enough, cha-cha-cha, is considered for guys, not such a prestigious occupation as football or boxing. nine0003

Girls often dance alone on the parquet, but single dances will not bring good results and winning medals. Girls are looking for young guys for joint activities, although sometimes there is such a situation that a worthy partner, on the contrary, cannot find a suitable partner for himself. But this is most likely an exception to the general rule.

Finding a ballroom dance partner: the right choice. What is the most important thing in dance? When a girl first comes to a dance class, she worries that everything will work out for her. But, almost everyone who wants to learn the art of dance, which can not be said about the art of choreography with a partner. The main thing is that not every man is able to act as a partner. There are a number of criteria that a future partner must meet. nine0003

He must ideally fit his partner in height, otherwise it will be awkward to perform choreographic elements. It is especially bad if the partner is shorter than their dance couple - this is considered a completely unacceptable option in the dance world. Years in this case are of incredible importance, if the partner is much older than his partner, he, accordingly, will not be able to spend all the necessary time at rehearsals, and may fail directly during the competition. Among other things, the guy must lead, or rather, be responsible for the dance elements of the couple during the production. The partner for ballroom dancing should be suitable for height, age and character. A guy should be able to start a hall, other girls will like it, but at the same time remain faithful to his chosen one. nine0003

He must feel the music, not be afraid to experiment and be self-confident, and sometimes self-confident. What other qualities should a partner have? From the foregoing, we can conclude that the right dance partner must meet many criteria. Although finding such a person is not an easy task, there are still several ways to do it.

Ways to find "your" dance partner. 1 way: love. In dance, it is important to love and feel your partner, so the ideal option would be if a couple for the dance is a couple for life. nine0003

Based on the statistics, 90 percent of the points champions are husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend. An outsider can never reveal those facets of a woman that no one knows about. Dance is a story that a partner must tell the viewer in a few minutes. A lady should help him in this, but not vice versa. In dance, it is important to love and feel your partner. Such family duets have a number of advantages: The dance will give the partner the opportunity to be around more. A guy can legally be in close contact with a dancing couple. nine0003

Now imagine for a moment that you have to wiggle your hips and hug a guy you don't like. Unpleasant, right? Even if you are an excellent actress, the dance will betray this falsehood. Therefore, explain to your husband, boyfriend, that dancing is a passion that can return or awaken new feelings, and feel free to go with him to the first workout. Method 2: help friends. If the beloved was not around, then the dancer needs to stock up on nerves of steel and determination. Do not forget about choreographic etiquette. nine0003

Ballroom dancing without a partner

Your friend can become a partner in ballroom dancing. Ask all your own friends, maybe one of them, or their relatives, dreamed of dancing. Important: do not behave assertively, tact is important in such a delicate matter.

Do not talk about your dancing achievements and say that you will teach everything yourself, remember: a man must be a man, and you do not need a mattress as a partner. 3 way: teacher's help. As a rule, girls learn the art of dancing from choreographers. The latter are interested so that the fruit of their labors can perform worthily. nine0003

Here is feedback, the choreographer is interested in his students to dance at competitions and achieve success, as this will be direct advertising for him of his work. Therefore, as soon as the choreographer sees that you are ready to adequately compete with other couples, he himself, without your help, will find the best and most suitable partner for you. Your choreographer can help you find a ballroom dance partner. 4 way: Internet resources. We live in a modern world where the Internet has replaced paper newspapers. nine0003

But if a woman over 40 is looking for a partner, it is best to look for a candidate in local newspapers. As a rule, every printed publication has such a column. If a young girl is looking for a partner, it is better to look for him on the pages of online publications. It is enough to enter into any search engine: "I am looking for a partner for dancing."

True, if you start receiving letters of response to your request, read them carefully. It often happens that guys are looking for girls not for dancing, but for other, less serious entertainment. You can find a ballroom dance partner on the Internet. In addition to narrowly dancing, special Internet pages, there are also dancers' forums, where people unite in teams, within which you can start a search and involve thousands of friends in it. In addition, with this you can make a game within the dance club. For example: "The best dance partner for champion Julia." nine0003

This would also be a great idea for a local TV show. In this case, the entire city will be involved in the search for a candidate. For dance professionals, there are also international forums that bring together the best dancers in the world. You can also look for a dance partner there, if you are not confused by the language barrier and moving to another country.

5 way: dance hall. You can try to find a partner in the dance hall. Maybe some dance couple is on the verge of breaking up, and the partner wants to find a new couple to practice. So why not give it a try? Maybe everything will turn out perfect for you? However, we advise you not to beat off partners from other girls. nine0003

A dance partner can be found in the dance hall. If you still do not want to cause the breakup of a dance couple, you can go in search of a partner in another dance studio. After all, there are probably many more good dance studios in the city. 6 way: advanced training. Each dancer must improve his skills, for this master classes are organized.

And where else can you find a partner? Moreover, at such events you can personally see how this or that person dances, because you need to choose only the best. 7 way: grow together. The most reliable and at the same time the most unreliable way is to start a dancing career together. So, and often happens, mothers find partners for their children and two little guys go to a dance studio. What is the insecurity here? Partners will grow and develop together, but there is a risk of growth dynamics and mental development. nine0003

As we know: no children are the same, and what if in 10 years a girl sees that her partner, with whom she danced all her life, pulls her not up, but down. In addition, boys with the achievement of adolescence begin to skip classes, and thereby let down not only themselves and their partner. The most reliable way is to start a dance career together.

The main rule for finding a partner. Now the main rule will sound: do not look for a partner, become a dancer yourself, for whom they will hunt. Finding a partner takes a lot of effort and energy, and in the end, even if you find the right person, you may simply not have the strength to dance. You can dry up, become like an empty vessel. Why not just hone your skills constantly, grow professionally. nine0003

Ballroom dancing

In today's world, there are so many opportunities for realization: Competitions. Show. Individual sessions. Master classes Lectures on the YouTube channel. Why not master all dance styles by working alone. As soon as you yourself become an integral part, and not a half in search of your soul mate, partners and choreographers will immediately begin to contact you. And already here you yourself will begin to choose a suitable candidate for yourself.

Summing up, it is worth noting that dance is worth living and devoting to it all your life. Only such dedication to the cause will bring results. The choice of a partner should be approached creatively, and not get hung up on his search. As you know, your person will not get away from you anywhere and the cards will turn out so that you will meet anyway. Therefore, slow down and slowly but surely go towards your goal. nine0003

After all, while you are surfing the Internet in search of a partner, he may just start his training in your gym.

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Ballroom dancing without a partner

In a famous song, according to statistics, there are 9 guys for 10 girls. In ballroom dancing, the situation is even more complicated: in each Fiesta set of 10 children, there are 8 girls and 2 boys. This is understandable: parents believe that ballroom dancing is not a male occupation, and boys prefer to play football or play computer games with friends than dance with a girl. Spoiler: until they come to a couple of practices. nine0089

What should a girl do without a partner? Step-by-step instruction.

Step 1: Determine the goals in ballroom dancing

Try to decide on the goal of training. This should not be a spontaneous decision. At the Fiesta Children's Dance Academy, we give dancers two years to understand: does the girl want to train professionally? Are you ready to spend your free time in the gym? Can parents invest time, effort and finances in the dance development of a child? nine0003

The first two years of training, children get acquainted with ballroom dancing: they learn step patterns and get acquainted with the basic dances ⏤ waltz, cha-cha-cha and jive. The dancer gets an idea of ​​what ballroom dancing is, how to perform it and how to present yourself.

After two years of training, our trainers ask about the goals of all students and parents. We divided the answers into 3 categories:

⏤ Yes, we want to be professional. We are serious.

If you answered the same, go to step 2

⏤ We haven't decided yet, haven't thought about it. My daughter and I just love ballroom dancing.

If the question caught you by surprise, we recommend that you also go to step 2 and pair up. If in a year your daughter wants to practice professionally, you will not lose time: the girl already knows what competitions are and knows how to dance in pairs.

⏤ No, they brought their daughter to the dance for general development.

Parents often choose dancing instead of sports or gymnastics, as ballroom dancing develops children comprehensively. In a pair or solo, the girl will still develop. nine0003

Step 2: pair up with a girl

In the first year of training, the coaches pair all children. Since there are not enough boys for everyone, the girls dance in pairs with the girls.

Yes, ballroom dancing ⏤ pairs, where a girl and a boy, a girl and a boy dance. But this is a mandatory requirement for republican and international competitions. While the kids are learning the basic steps and shapes, don't waste time ⏤ train with the girl.

It is important for a dancer to learn to coordinate movements with a partner, not to step on his feet, to keep support. Dancing in pairs is more difficult than solo dancing. Think of a team sport like synchronized swimming. Separately, swimmers easily perform elements from the program. It takes years of training to achieve synchronization and simultaneousness in a team. Dads of girls who served in the army will confirm: it is easier to march alone than in the ranks. nine0003

Do not be afraid that your daughter will have to relearn if she danced for a partner in a couple. The dance figures of the girl and the boy are the same. The only difference is that the movements are mirrored, and the partner starts from the left foot, and the partner from the right.

In the first year of study at Fiesta, couples of girls come out onto the floor. To the coach's regret, such pairs often outperform "girl + boy" pairs, since girls are more responsible and more serious about competitions.

Step 3: looking for a ballroom dance partner

You are on the right track if you continue to dance in pairs, even with a girl. But remember that for professional sports it is important to dance with a partner. Do not wait for the boys to come to the group, look for a partner on your own.

It is important to understand: the sooner a girl pairs up with a boy, the faster her athletic growth will begin. Try not to delay the search: the longer the child is engaged, the more difficult it is to find a match for him according to the sports level. nine0089

Where can I find a ballroom dance partner?

Surf the net. For the query "I'm looking for a partner for ballroom dancing", search engines provide a lot of links to groups, publics and discussion networks.

Go to specialized stores. The most persistent manage to find partners in dancewear or footwear stores. It happens that a dancing boy is looking for a mate if it didn’t grow together with the previous partner: the girl outgrew the boy, moved to another city, or the children didn’t work out temperamentally. The news spreads among the customers of the store, where everyone knows each other, and the partner quickly finds herself. nine0003

Examine the phone book. From our experience, the most working scheme is when parents are looking for a partner among friends. It turns out that both the parents of three boys from the class and a colleague from work have long dreamed of sending their son to dance.

If the boy himself is not sure that he wants to dance, invite him to a couple of training sessions. The process is much more fun in practice than you describe it in words. Schools often offer trial classes. At the Fiesta Children's Dance Academy, we invite children to 2 trial free classes. nine0003

How does the coach match children?

Before pairing children, coaches consider the following criteria:

Height. The girl should not be taller than the boy. The coach also looks at the parents to understand the child's growth prospects.

Date of birth. There should not be a big difference in age between children, a maximum of a year. In ballroom dancing, children are divided into age categories. The age of the couple is determined by the eldest child. With a large age difference, it will be difficult for the youngest in a pair to compete with older dancers. nine0003

Temperament, movement type, performance technique. A pair of ⏤ is a team. The result depends on how harmoniously the guys dance. If the partner is impulsive, and the girl is calm and soft, a harmonious team will not work. The coach evaluates the performance technique and student performance in order to match children with approximately the same sports level.

What should I do if I haven't found a ballroom dance partner?

In 2021, the Fiesta Children's Dance Academy became a member of the WADF (World Artistic Dance Federation) ⏤ artistic dance federation. It includes ⏤ 865 dance schools and organizations from Europe, the CIS countries, Scandinavia, Asia and Africa and Latin America.

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