This blog offers insight into a frequent misconception that is often discussed in dance circles.
TRUE or FALSE: A person’s dancing will improve if they dance with accomplished dancers only?
In fact, every dancer differs in terms of connection, frame, timing, projection and their skill in leading or following, even professional dancers and dance instructors. If a dance student chooses to dance only with their dance instructor or advanced dancers, they will not develop into a versatile, adaptable dancer and will find dancing with others less enjoyable over time.
Accomplished dancers are easier to dance with because they lead or follow well and compensate for late leads or timing issues with their partners. In a dance partnership, the better dancer compensates for the less accomplished dancer making them look better but it doesn’t improve their dancing.
A true test for follows is not to dance with an advanced dancer whose lead is very precise but to follow a less precise lead, which requires a greater vigilance, using all of one’s senses to follow like kinesthetic and visual cues. For leads, dancing with a less accomplished follow will require them to be more precise in their leading.
The best methodology for becoming a better dancer through practicing is to dance with a broad spectrum of dancers from newcomers to advanced dancers. Dancing with an accomplished dancer provides us with a better understanding of proper connection through precision in lead/follow technique. Dancing with less accomplished dancers challenges us to lead or follow better since they will rely on our skills to help them dance. This is also a way to contribute to the dance community since we all started as newcomers at one time!
In my 35 years as a dance educator, I’ve observed that the best social dancers always dance with everyone. Also, dance students who dance with everyone get better faster. They also become more adaptable dancers and are more comfortable dancing with many different types of dancers in diverse dance populations. The beneficial side effect of this behavior is a more joyful dance experience and a friendlier dance community.