Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


According to the dictionary, the word "Feeling" is used to describe the physical sensation of touch through either experience or perception. The word is also used to describe experiences, other than the physical sensation of touch, such as "a feeling of well being". In psychology, the word is usually used to describe the experience of emotion. Some theories of interpersonal relationships include shared feelings. Feelings are also known as a state of consciousness, such as that resulting from emotions, sentiments or desires. This simple word has a complex set of meanings. So what exactly are we talking about when we say, "Ballroom Feelings"?

Ballroom dancers "feel" the music (the beat, fast, slow, loud, soft, smooth, staccato, etc.), "feel" the action of the movement (power, gliding, straight, vertical, rotating, etc.), "feel" the floor (sticky, slippery, rough, smooth, etc.), "Feel" their partner (tall, short, connected, powerful, soft, etc.). The physical connection (from the frame and the legs) creates "feelings", the visual connections create "feelings" and the Logical/Invisible connections create "feelings". The "feeling" I am talking about in this article is the feeling of "Oneness", being one with each other.

Normally, feelings are thought of as the feelings of a single person. In this case, the feelings are those of the partnership. To me, the feeling of "Oneness" is truly becoming, a single "Two-Headed Four-Legged Animal" with your partner. It is a feeling of being a single entity on the dance floor. The dance is performed as a single fluid, logical and physical being. You can't tell where one partner begins and the other partner ends (it is all the same). It is as if there is only one body and one mind. "ONENESS"is a combined feeling of the two partners. It is a single feeling of the partnership. It is a feeling that you cannot get by yourself alone. How is it possible to create this "feeling" of "Oneness"?

Ballroom Feelings are as much a state of mind as they are a physical and logical connection. Ballroom Feelings are developed through the shared communication between the partners (within the "Two-Headed Four-Legged Animal"). Each dancer must share and allow your partner to share the feeling of "Oneness". Ballroom feelings cannot be achieved unless both partners are participating in the partnership feeling. There is a physical center for each dancer and there is a physical center for the partnership (the "Two-Headed Four-Legged Animal"). The partnership center is the most common element between the two partners. There is only one body in the partnership.

You must train yourself to dance from the common center of the partnership not your own center. Each dancer must share and allow his/her partner to share the feelings of the partnership. The feeling by your partner is part of who you are (a two-headed four-legged animal). You need to be aware of your partners feeling and reflect back that feeling and treat the whole "feeling" as your own.

Some times the leader needs to move a very specific part of his partner's body to execute a unique dance element (a whisk for example). Just as you can move one of your own legs by itself, you can move one of your partner's legs by itself. I call this a "logical or invisible" connection. The feeling of "Oneness" makes this as easy as moving one of your own legs (it is one of your four legs).

Don't fall into the trap of trying to make your Ballroom dancing feel like what you just practiced by yourself. I used to practice elements and patterns endlessly by myself. Then I would try to get that same feeling of what I practiced when I danced with a partner. I was always frustrated because I could never achieve that same "feeling". It is OK and even necessary (especially for men) to practice by yourself to get the physical movement understood and in muscle memory. The "feeling" you have when you practice dancing by yourself is NOT the "feeling" of "Oneness" that you want for your partnership. Once you understand this, your "feeling" of "oneness" in the partnership will improve immensely.

Ultimately you dance by the feeling of the partnership not the feeling you have of yourself. You have to think and move outside of yourself and inside of the partnership. You think and move as a single entity (the two-headed four-legged animal).