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Your Guide to Tackling a Bad Dance Partner

Even though the person you go out for an evening with, whether friend or spouse, may not have the lightening footwork of Craig Revel Horwood,  there’s nothing worse than having a dance partner who flaps about like a lame elephant stepping on hot coals.

The good news is that with some basic knowledge, you can get your dance companion moving without embarrassment and without hurting their feelings.

Part 2 of this guide series will continue explaining the steps to do just that.  

Step 5 – Don’t Make Assumptions

If this is the first time you’ve tackled dancing with someone, their lack of skill might come down to a number of factors – they might be stumbling because they’re intimidated by your excellent dancing skills, they might not be familiar with the type of music at the venue or maybe they’ve never had experience giving it a go in the first place. It would be a mistake to make assumptions about their reticence, so over some drinks it’s a good idea to ask them about their dance experiences so you can gently probe whether they’re interested in learning how to improve.

The trick is to be patient, kind and facilitative – it might turn out that your partner is loathe to attempt a tricky salsa, but they’re perfectly fine swaying to some free-form music without any direction. The main thing is to go to events which have the type of music that you both enjoy moving to.

Step 6 – Flirting Goes a Long Way

If your dance partner is your romantic interest, a great way to get them to forget their fears and loosen up is to flirt. This tactic will also work well in helping you to direct their steps and moves. For example, if they’re making a botch-up of it, you could seductively and subtly guide them to the edge of the dance floor and give them a kiss to ease the awkwardness. The best way forward is to make it seem as if you don’t care about dance moves, you simply want to move together.

Step 7 – Ensure They Unwind

It’s crucial to any successful dancing that people don’t tense up, since this makes movement seem clunky and also causes bad dancers to be repetitive as well as lose their rhythm. In addition to flirting, be sure they have a drink or two before they hit the dance floor. Another good idea is to lead by example and show your partner a variety of simple moves that change direction and move different parts of the body. Encouragement is key – you might consider grabbing their waist or hips to help them swivel a little better while saying “Doesn’t it feel good when you do this?”

Step 8 – Patience and Politeness

Even if your dance partner seems to have octopus legs, bear in mind that there are many other things they excel in, and there are many things you can’t do well either. In other words, maintain a compassionate perspective and don’t sweat it. As mentioned above, the most crucial element of dancing is that everyone remains loose. Thus, the worst thing you can do is harp on about their lack of skill, since this will certainly make them refuse to try dancing ever again. Also thank them after a dance, as this will show them you appreciated the effort. It might also encourage them to be less self-conscious and try harder next time.

Step 9 – Keep It Fun

Second only to maintaining a relaxed body, it’s vital to make sure you and your partner enjoy yourselves. There’s no point to dancing if it’s not fun, so retain high spirits and never allow yourself to get annoyed.

Step 10 – Dance Classes Perhaps

If dancing is important to you and your partner is not completely averse to learning to do better on the dance floor, you might want to consider some dance classes. These can also be a fun pastime away from mundane life, not to mention some good exercise. In addition, a professional teacher will perhaps be able to explain and demonstrate the main points of dance more clearly than you can, and if your partner still hates dancing, it will be the instructor’s fault instead of yours!


The above guide gives you some helpful tips on how to handle a dance partner that seems to have two left feet. While you can’t expect someone who doesn’t have a natural flair for dancing to reach the levels of Craig Revel Horwood, with some kind guidance they can still learn to hold their own without feeling like a duck out of water. Read Part 1 of this guide series for further advice.

Author Bio: Rio Spelling – choreography and dance enthusiast



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