The beat of the music, that's what is at the heart of the partner dance. Both partners are separate dancers dancing to the one beat together. When you're both dancing to the same beat it's what keeps you together in your partnership because the beat is constant, never changing throughout the music. It is you home-base, if you like. As a lead and a follow in a partner dance you both have different roles but the beat is the common language. Without it, connection to each other and moving to the music becomes difficult. That's why I advocate that for partner dance, before you do anything else, take your time to get in touch with the beat of the music and your connection in your dance will increase.
Beat is repetitive – it is the pulse of the music. It repeats itself over and over through the music, and it's something you can feel in your body. When you can feel it in your body, then you can create a connected dance with not only the music, but your partner as well.
To get in touch with it, with some music on, take a breath and feel with your body. Find some motion that feels good to you and that you can repeat over and over again. That is the key to feeling the beat in your body, finding a good feeling repetitive motion. Tap the beat with your hand on your leg, or stepping to the beat is an good way to let your body feel the pulse and to find the repetitive pulse of the beat. Beat is repetitive, never changing, so let your movement be a repetitive motion.
The basics of a partner dance requires you both to be stepping on the same beat, that is how you move together effortlessly. Once you have found this common ground, the beat is like your backing track for you to create an amazing dance upon, but always have that steady repetitive pulse to call home together.