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Trust and confidence in partner dance

The dance partnership doesn't work without a level of trust between partners. A trust that there are certain guidelines that we're all going to adhere to, and when we do, the dance runs smoothly.


To let go and follow without thinking, followers trust their leaders to guide them clearly and directionally. They trust that their body won't be placed into a compromising position, that they will not run into things and that movements will be smooth and easy to react to so they won't get caught off guard. All this enables a follow to dance with freedom of expression.


Leaders trust that followers movements will correspond to the leads given and they will follow in the same style throughout the whole dance. Leads trust that followers are open to letting themselves be moved easily and trust that the follow is open to dancing with them. This enables the leader to enjoy freedom to flow from one move to the next without thinking.


On the whole dance floor, tango or ballroom dancers trust that everyone will dance in the same direction, swing and Latin dancers trust that there will not be any out of control arms or legs to hit you in the face or step on your feet, the list goes on. I'm sure you can think of many things you trust will just 'go right' on a crowded dance floor.


Do unexpected things happen on the dance floor? Yes, but if you dance in a way that expects that they will, then you don't have the chance to dance to your fullest. And I think enquiring into where and when you hold yourself back helps you expand and grow as a dancer.


Enquiring into yourself and asking, 'Do I trust my dance partner?' or 'Is there something hindering me from flowing more in my dancing?' Noticing where you may want to place the blame on your partner/s for your lack of trust or flow and perhaps enquiring instead, 'What would allow me to bring more trust and flow into my own dancing?'


Oftentimes it's not external factors that hinder our trust and flow, it's internal stories and inhibitions that run the show. Take some time to enquire and you may find the answers are not related to dancing at all, but are related to relationships, our relationship to others in life and our own relationship to showing up in life.


Any answers that arise are just pieces of information to be observed, whether you do or don't like what you discover. Armed with that information, you can then make a choice as to how you'd like to move forward, perhaps by asking 'How would I like to feel, and what can I do to make that happen?'


It's important to remember that trust and confidence can take time to build and there's nothing wrong with not feeling confident and trusting at any stage, whether you're a beginner or have been dancing for ages. Wherever you are, it's a starting point to building trust. What's more, building confidence in your dance partnerships is one that has benefits both on and off the dance floor.


Dance partnerships are a microcosm of life relationships. Through partner dance you discover more about your whole self, because how you show up in one relationship is often how you show up in many of your relationships that come into your life. It shows how you interact with others in the broader context of life. So if you can approach your dance partnerships in a way that enquires into your personal level of trust and openness it starts to open you to more possibilities in dance and in life.

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