Foxtrot Waltz Tango Swing Rumba Cha Cha Salsa Wedding


How to buy ballroom dance shoes.

Q. I've just started taking Ballroom Dance lessons. Can you give me some advice on buying dance shoes?

A. With the variety of styles, specializations and colors available, choosing your first pair of ballroom dance shoes can be a difficult decision. As a beginning dancer, however, there is no reason why you would need more than one pair. Unless you have specific needs you should be looking for something that is comfortable, suits a variety of styles and looks great on your foot.


Style: We recommend a peek-a-boo toe for beginning ladies because it suits both the Ballroom and Latin dances really well. A peek-a-boo shoe is much more flexible than a Ballroom pump so you will still be able to arch your foot, point your toes and 'grip' the floor. At the same time a peek-a-boo shoe offers more support than a Latin sandal, and definitely keeps your toes more protected. You may also find a T-strap is helpful as it adds a little more support and stability for your foot.

Heel: It is not a good idea to get heels that are too high, especially when you first learn to dance. Everyone wants to look good and feel great when they're dancing, and choosing a heel height that you can't handle will make you look bad and feel worse. A 2 - 2.5 inch heel is pretty standard. If you have difficulties with balance, or aren't used to wearing heels you might consider a wider heel, or even a flat shoe to start with. Remember that it is very difficult to focus on learning dance steps if you are wobbling around like a newborn giraffe.

Color: Black is a nice color for a pair of starter shoes because it looks more like a regular shoe, goes with most clothing and can easily go from "dinner" to "dancing". Another color that is very popular with dancers is nude. Nude shoes do not stand out as much, which is nice because mistakes are not as noticeable and your legs will look longer. They also go well with both summer dresses and winter clothing. You can get both leather and satin shoes in nude and if your particular style or skin color isn't available, you can usually find the style you want in white satin and dye it nude. The shopkeeper can do it for you or you can do it yourself.


Your first pair of ballroom dance shoes is a no-brainer. You want a comfortable leather ballroom shoe that fits well and has good support. If you want to stand out a little more you will probably be able to find something with some interesting styling (different weaves, cuts, textures). However, you should probably avoid patent shoes as they are most appropriate in very formal situations.

You should also steer clear of Latin shoes unless you only plan to learn Latin dances (Latin shoes have a higher 'Cuban heel' which makes taking heel leads very uncomfortable). Even if you never plan to learn to Waltz or Foxtrot we suggest that you learn you first dance steps (and many more after that) in a normal leather ballroom shoe.

You will likely only find black shoes, which will probably suit you just fine.

There are a lot of good reasons to buy ballroom dance shoes even though they can be pretty expensive (they are quite specialized and usually imported from Europe). Furthermore we feel it is worth the money to get a good quality shoe with the proper support rather than going with a cheaper pair. At the very least try on a few different pairs to get a sense for what feels good on your foot.

Happy Dancing,


Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

How to buy ballroom dance shoes.
posted by Dancing For Dessert on 1/27/2006 08:26:00 PM

Dancing with the Stars - Week 4 Breakdown

Week 4

Get set for Round 4 of Dancing with the Stars. Last week saw Giselle get eliminated. It really is a shame because the quality of Giselle's dancing pretty well guaranteed that we'd be seeing her in the later rounds. It would seem though that the voting aspect of Dancing with the Stars has managed to save some of the less deserving contestants for yet another week.

As the competition moves further along, many of the celebrities have really stepped up their game so unfortunately I too must up my game and get a little more detailed in my critiques.

The Dances

Fox Trot This is perhaps one of, if not the hardest dance in the ballroom division. It requires a degree of control that challenges even the most seasoned dancer. Look for a jazzy, finger-snapping, toe-tapping ambience combined with a smooth elegant presentation.

Paso Doble This dance is one of the few that is considered to be the man's dance. The Paso Doble focuses on the relationship between the Matador (the man) and his Cape (the woman). Look for a strong agressive stance from the man as he skillfully uses his cape to avoid the bull. This is one of only two latin dances that travel around the dance floor.

The Dancers

George & Edyta -- Paso Doble George really brought out the personality of the matador -- wonderful personality and once again very elegant. Once again attention to George's shortcomings were skillfully deflected as this couple opted for many open-position type of movements. George is a powerful actor and this skill allowed him to show the strong male character -- a very good performance, though once again more style than substance. Judges scores were reasonable.

Tia & Maksim -- Fox Trot Unfortunately Tia experienced some major slip-ups in the beginning which really threw off the rest of the dance. As skilled as Tia is normally with the performance aspect, she fell a little short this week as the overall performance was quite flat -- certainly not enough to overshadow the hiccups in the choreography. It would seem though that the judges have a different opinion and were quite generous with their scores

Master P & Ashley -- Paso Doble Well I have to admit that P is definitely showing improvement in effort and result as the weeks go by. Unfortunately the level of dancing is still far behind where it should be. If ever there was an underdog this guy is it, and people usually love cheering for the underdog. This is the only theory I can postulate as to why this guy is still here! Bruno is especially hilarious in his critique, going so far as to tell the audience to shut up -- twice. Definitely P's best performance by far, but still needs to do a lot of catching up. The judge's scores were quite low, but harshly accurate.

Stacy & Tony -- Fox Trot Stacy is absolutely radiant on the dance floor -- what an elegant dancer! Awesome lines as usual -- another first-rate performance. Next I'd like to see Stacy reach and stretch each movement a little more -- especially the chasses. This will serve to keep her timing from looking a little rushed and add more texture to her dancing by allowing her to be more explosive when necessary. Remember -- Quick isn't fast, it's half a Slow. The judges give her the highest mark of the night thus far -- and deservedly so.

Drew & Cheryl -- Paso Doble This one was another good performance from Drew, though I felt it was a little stiff at times. One might argue that this is part of the character of the dance, but then that's the challenge in dance -- making it look strong while still keeping it soft and supple. Drew's poise is slightly off due to his head dropping (or his shoulders coming up). Very energetic and exciting dance -- the Thriller piece really went over well! I wouldn't have placed him above Stacy, but then I'm not judging, am I! The judges loved it and scored him quite generously.

Jerry & Anna -- Fox Trot You can really tell that this guy wants to win bad! A spectacular effort by jerry Rice this week. This dance is not easy but he pulled it off well! What a gentleman! He looks a little uncomfortable in closed position -- likely he's afraid of stepping on his partner. Don't worry Jerry -- Anna knows how to get out of your way! Posture was good for the most part, though I would like to see him drive his movements more through his hips rather than leaving them behind. The judge's scores were quite well-deserved!

Lisa & Louis -- Paso Doble This dance for me was really Lisa's best performance for the entire competition thus far! The faster dances seem to suit her well! What an excellent blend of energy, technique, partnership and performance! I still wish she would close her legs in some of her lines, but everything else has really come along! I stand here in awe at the improvement that this lady has seen! This performance actually ties her for second place!

Well this concludes Round 4 of Dancing with the Stars. Master P is last once again though I would have placed George over Tia. I have to really shout out to Ashley for getting him through all that you have! Keep it up girl! Next week the format changes again as our contestants will be performing two dances each. Should make for an inneresting show!!

As usual I welcome your comments! See'ya next week!

~Brian Antonio

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 4 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 1/27/2006 01:17:00 AM

Dancing with the Stars - Week 3 Breakdown

Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of Dancing with the Stars. Conspicuous by their absence is Kenny Mayne, who was ekiminated after Week 1, and Tatum O'Neill, who was eliminated after Week 2. Now honestly I enjoyed Kenny's dedication and I would have preferred to see him continue. Tatum however did not show well last week, losing her cool in front of millions of viewers. Nobody likes a cry-baby so it comes as no surprise that she received the fewest votes.

The Dances

This week it seems they've changed the formula a little bit by allowing the dancers to choose from one of two dances:

Tango This dance, originally from Argentina, was all the rage in France before eventually finding it's way to american ballrooms. Watch for fiery agression and passion, as well as sharp, crisp, staccato movements. The Tango is truly the Dance of Lust!

Jive The Jive is a buoyant, upbeat, peppy kind of dance -- the evolution of rock and roll. Look for quick feet and a fun, playful atmosphere.

The Dancers

Jerry & Anna -- Jive Very strong opening to the show this week. Jerry Rice has really turned it up a notch! His athleticism and quick feet really show well in this dance. Lots of fun to watch, and awesome musicality. The danger with the jive is that it makes you want to dance "down", so watch that posture, Jerry! Judges' scores are accurate, though they were a little harsh with their criticism.

Giselle & Jonathan -- Tango This woman really is a contender tonight!! Her Tango is crisp, sharp, elegant and dramatic!! Watch the left hand fingers, Giselle. What a fantastic dress!! This is gonna be a tough act to beat this evening!! Apparently Carrie Ann and Bruno weren't impressed at all, even giving them a warning for using a lift. I have no idea which dance they were watching -- the ending was incredible and appropriate -- hardly a lift at all! Unfortunately this routine was scored a little lower than it should have been.

Drew & Cheryl -- Jive Boy Band is really impressing me -- what an incredible performer!! Once again he's decided to bring it this week! Very impressive footwork and even more impressive toe-heel swivels -- a difficult move to do at his level. As happens in the jive, there were a few slip-ups, but he danced through them and ended strongly!! Great connections and awesome chemistry. Brother Nick was impressed, as were the judges -- again!!

George & Edyta -- Tango This guy is Super Elegant! It would have been nice to see George hold his dance frame a little higher. I noticed one slip-up, but he recovered nicely. George's performing experience really stands out, especially in the solo parts. Although he can't match the level of athleticism shown by the other competitors, he really adds a touch of sophistication to his routines. Another heartfelt performance, though unfortunately, the dancing is going to have improve substantially if he hopes to make it to the later rounds.

Lisa & Louis -- Jive I really felt that this routine was only average -- not at all at the level that she's showed herself capable of in past weeks. Head could have been held higher through the dance, but then that's the universal flaw with this dance. The legs were a little open on the swivels -- not at all what we want to see from a lady. Again, an average performance in my opinion, though it seems the judges disagree.

Stacy & Tony -- Tango This is usually a very difficult dance for a ballet dancer to transition into, and I am quite impressed at how technically sound this performance is. Once again Stacy and Tony have opted for a more classic approach, which works extremely well for them this week. Emotion was a little even (flat), and there was a slight hiccup going into the promenade kicks, yet she pulled this one off incredibly well -- the dance of the evening once again!! Scores are a perfect reflection of Stacy's dancing this evening.

Master P & Ashley -- Jive I have to say that Ashley is really going out of her way with this guy -- I just love the matching hats!! I'm pleased to see that Master P has upped the level of effort this week -- the man actually got his groove on! Unfortunately he is still the least improved of all the contestants. There were several obvious slip-ups which really shouldn't have happened. I love how he used his hat in his routine -- Ashley is doing a great job with this difficult student, working the chorography around the man's personality. The Judges were brutally honest with him, and I can't say that I disagree.

Tia & Maksim -- Tango Tia danced what I like to call a "Hollywood Tango" with the Schwartz a few years ago in the movie True Lies -- I think she's gonna be surprised at how different it really is. Her routine has an argentinian flavour to it which really goes well with her. Awesome lines -- the throwaway oversway in particular, which is a very difficult manoevre. As has been happening consistenly with her, she is dancing adequately, but really failing to captivate. I'd like to see her commit her hips to each movement. Universal flaw alert -- she's dropping her head in promenade position. A tiny slip-up on the fallaway reverse, but good recovery -- another average performance, but apparently the judges disagree, awarding Tia the third highest score of the evening.

Everybody has grown so much in experience and confidence, and a lot of them really brought it this week. As a result I find myself critiquing harder. Funny how the 1st place dancer from week 1, Drew, and the 1st place dancer from week 2, Stacy, are now tied for first place for week 3! I hated to see Giselle down in the bottom two, as I felt she should really have come ahead of Tia.

Well that's it for Week 3 -- as usual I welcome your comments and feedback! Until next week!

~Brian Antonio

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 3 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 1/19/2006 10:19:00 PM

Dancing with the Stars - Week 2 Breakdown

Week 2

Well here we are with Round 2 of Dancing with the Stars. This week the men will be dancing the Quickstep and the women will be dancing the Rumba. Again, I do what I must, though I'll try not to be too mean!

The Dances

Quickstep What an incredibly difficult venture for the men. I have to admit that between the Cha Cha last week and the Quickstep this week, the men really have had the short end of the stick! The quickstep is quite the zippy and peppy dance, incorporating the flight elements of the Waltz and Fox Trot with the Jazz & Razmataz of the Charleston.

Rumba On the other side of the coin, the ladies seem to have the easiest dances! The Rumba is a sultry and sensual dance -- the dance of love. Watch for a strong leg and hip action as well as an atmosphere of passion and heat!

The Dancers

Lisa & Louis Very impressive showing for Lisa -- very sexy and sensual, everything that a Rumba should be! A little shaky in her balance at points, I still felt that she was holding back in some of her movements. Great chemistry though -- I really felt this one. Predictably though, as the first dancer the judges scored her lower than she deserved.

Drew & Cheryl Pretty impressive again this week for Drew. A very difficult dance for a beginner and he pulled it off well. A few mis-steps as can be expected in a dance of this difficulty, but this young man is really tearing up the floor. Drew Lachey is quickly becoming a heavy favourite to win this contest!

Tia & Maksim A series of Cucarachas opens this routine -- movements that perfectly captures the essense of the Rumba. Tia displayed a great use of legs in her latin movement, as well as an excellent use of arms to produce strong lines... overall a good effort. While quite technically sound though, the chemistry that we are looking for in Rumba wasn't quite there -- she even looked quite angry at points. To add insult to injury, the judges weren't too happy with her Heel Leads -- a cardinal sin in the Rumba.

George & Edyta A great opening -- athletics not withstanding, this dance should really give George a chance to show off his elegance. He really played to his strengths as an actor and did a great job in spite of his physical limitations. His solo piece was exceptional, reeking of elegance as predicted. Not enough actual "Quickstep" for Len's taste, but very very entertaining!!

Tatum & Nick This dance is definitely not Tatum's best performance. Several timing errors, mis-cues and mis-steps, she looked very uncomfortable -- very stiff and cold. Lots of smoke and mirriors as she dances from line to line. In true Hollywood Drama Queen fashion, Tatum was visibly upset after the dance, and rightfully so -- being "nervous" is no excuse.

Jerry & Anna Very good with the technical elements of the Quickstep but it was lacking the energy that is characteristic of this dance. A few mis-steps, as can be expected with this dance, but a very strong and exciting ending.

Stacy & Tony What an impressive dancer this girl is. It's to be expected with her many years of training of course. An impressive showing once again this week for Stacy, as she and Tony opt to dance the more classical movements rather than hiding behind all the smoke & mirrors. Seems the judges are in agreement, as Stacy's rumba earned her 2 10's and an overal 1st place!

Master P & Ashley I just have to say that this guy's running shoes are seriously hampering his movement. Granted he's actually moving this week -- clearly he's trying harder, though as a musician his timing is seriously lacking. I really feel for Ashley -- I have had my share of difficult, bull-headed students over the years and I certainly don't envy Ashley with this one.

Giselle & Jonathan Strong, sharp dancer, but this one lacked the fluidity that is necessary for the leg and hip movement of Rumba. This is a woman that appears not to be too comfortable with her sensuality. The potential is there though.

I love how the crowd really gets into it, cheering for the judges' positive feedback and booing for all the criticism. Did you agree or disagree with the judges? What did you think of what I thought? Comment on this blog and let me know! A la prochaine!

~Brian A.

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 2 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 1/12/2006 09:47:00 PM

Dancing with the Stars - Week 1 Breakdown

Week 1

First things first -- I know that all these couples worked very hard and I'm always happy to see people try out dancing for the first time and hopefully learn to love it. That being said, criticism and scrutiny is a large part of competition so I do what I must -- but I'll try not to be too mean.


Scoring any dance contest always has a large degree of subjectivity and relativity. That being said, the first couple is frequently disadvantaged because the judges will often score low in an attempt to leave room for better dancers. Of course, in this contest the judges' vote only counts for half the overall score.

The Fan Vote counts for the other half -- viewers are invited to call in and vote for their favourite dancers. This aspect makes for more of a popularity contest rather than a dance contest.

The Judges

Len -- Funny how Len is the only ballroom dancer among the judges. It would seem that Len favours a traditional, classic approach to ballroom dancing, as he has often criticized dancers for spending too much time dancing away from each other.

Carrie Ann -- I like how she balances every criticism with something positive.

Bruno -- This guy is such a Drama Queen. Apparantly he also judges the UK version of Dancing with the Stars.

The Dances

To make things fair, all the dancers will be judged doing similar dances. This week the men have been asked to dance the Cha Cha while the women will be showing us the Waltz.

The Cha Cha is perhaps the most versatile of all dances because it can be danced to many different styles of music -- Latin, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Country, Rock, House, Techno, Top-40's, etc ... there really is something here for everybody. Having said that, the dance is based on an element known as a "Triple-Step" -- an element that most beginner dancers will find themselves struggling with for some time. Look for sharp, crisp movements and a relaxed body action (HIPS!) in this dance.

Contrary to popular belief, not every slow song is a Waltz. Waltz music exhibits a very unique and recognizable characteristic. While most people have heard the expression "5, 6, 7, 8", the Waltz cannot in fact be counted this way. This is because the Waltz does not have 8 beats. Waitaminute, you say -- what sort of alien music does not have 8 beats? Well to clarify, most Waltzes are counted in 3's -- "1,2,3,1,2,3". Look for soft lyrical movements and a romantic atmostphere in this dance.

The Dancers

The first couple to dance was George and Edyta. George Hamilton has always played very suave and debonair roles and I think that if he makes it past this round he is going to be this season's John Hurley. Unfortunately I felt that while he has a great floor presence, his dancing is going to need much improvement if we are to see him in the later rounds. But hey -- it's happened before, it can happen again!

Second couple to dance was Lisa and Louis (van Amsterdam). I'm always surprised to see how great latin dancers look doing Smooth Dancing -- likely because they're more used to dancing away from their partner. Good job Louis, and good job Lisa. Fan votes not withstanding, I think we'll be seeing this couple in the later rounds.

Third couple to dance was Sports guy Kenny with Andrea. I gotta say that what he lacked in technique and experience he more than made up for with heart and gumption! I loved watching his guts and determination though on technique and presentation I hold very little hope for this couple.

Fourth Couple to dance was Stacy and Tony. Any wrestling fan knows of Stacy's extensive dance background and it certainly showed here. I think Stacy is a huge favourite to win the whole thing because of her huge WWE fan base. That's a lot of votes!

Fifth couple to dance was Boy Band Brother Drew and Cheryl. By far one of the more exciting performances of the evening. Brother Lachey was sharp and crisp. Two things that I would like to see him work on to get to the next level is a) committing his full weight to his steps and b) extending his arms through the use of his back.

Sixth couple to dance was Tia and Maksim. Another adequate performance from a beginner lady dancer, though I wasn't overly wowed.

Seventh couple to dance was rap dude Master P and Ashley doing the Gangsta Cha Cha -- Holla! Why was this guy dancing with running shoes and a blinged-out Master P baseball hat? Now Ashley is a lovely dancer -- she wouldn't be there if she wasn't, but unfortunately, I felt that she outdanced her student to an embarassing degree. In her defence the man didn't even try. This only served to remind the audience that they were completely mismatched in every possible way. Fan votes not withstanding again, watch for this couple to be eliminated tomorrow night.

Eighth couple to dance was Giselle & Jonathan. Apparently her father was a dancer, which I thought was inneresting. I thought she did a great job with this one!!

Ninth couple to dance was Anna & Jerry. Now I was quite impressed with this performance -- it's always tough for athletes like him, being used to moving very large muscle groups, to change gears and learn to move very small muscle groups as required in competitive dancing. That said, he did a great job -- good rhythm and great feeling!

Final couple to dance was Tatum & Nick. I wasn't really wowed by the performance, but it was what it was -- a very classic interpretation using many time-honoured elements and not diluted with a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Agree or Disagree? Feel free to comment on this post -- I enjoy receiving feedback, so long as it doesn't conflict with my opinion or challenge my authority!

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 1 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 1/07/2006 10:05:00 PM

Why should I buy ballroom dance shoes?

Q. What's the difference between regular shoes and Ballroom Dancing shoes?

A. Like regular shoes, ballroom dance shoes come in a wide variety of variety of styles, sizes and colors. There are a few qualities, however, that are unique to dance shoes, and which make them ideal for getting around the dance floor. Some of these differences include the shoe's sole, materials, fit and style.

-Sole: The single biggest difference between ballroom dance shoes and normal shoes is that dance shoes have suede soles. Obviously Ballroom and Latin shoes are made to be worn indoors, usually on a wood floor; therefore they don't need the durability of a leather or rubber sole. The advantage of suede is that it is smooth enough to slide easily on the dance floor, but tacky enough not to be slippery. Also, suede soles are malleable, so you can actually feel the floor under your feet. As you get better with your dance steps, your connection with the floor becomes more and more important, and a suede sole gives you the connection you need to make the dance floor your friend.

-Materials: Dance shoes are made of various materials: leather, satin and patent are the most common.

-The leather used in ballroom dancing shoes is usually very soft so leather shoes are stretchy, comfortable and light. They will also last a long time, but will need some polishing and maintenance to keep them looking sharp.

-Satin shoes do not have the some stretch as leather and they tend to wear out faster. However, Satin is the most popular material for women's dance shoes because it is easily dyed. Most competitive women dancers prefer to dye their shoes a nude color that closely matches their skin, so that their leg lines are not interrupted by the shoe.

-Men's Patent shoes look very sharp for ballroom and are the appropriate shoe to wear with a tail-suit. Patent shoes do tend to crack or rip as they age however. Also, you will need a lubricant to keep the shoes slipping past each other and not squeaking or sticking when they touch. Patent shoes will stretch over time, but not as much as leather. They also stretch more as they warm up, and shrink again as they cool.

- Fit: In general, ballroom dance shoes should fit tighter than regular shoes, especially when they're new. Dance shoes are made of very soft materials so over time they will stretch and mould to your foot. When you buy them, therefore, they should definitely be snug on your foot and not fall off or have the regular 1.5 cm space in the front like regular shoes. Basically dance shoes should "Fit like a glove".

-Style: Ballroom and Latin dancing is exciting, flashy and fun, and the shoes (especially women's shoes) tend to reflect that. You will often find that women's shoes are patterned with rhinestones to give them a little bit of extra dazzle. Glitter and bright colors can also be used to brighten up some shoes, although as we have already said, women's shoes are most often colored nude to give the impression of a longer leg line. Men's ballroom dance shoes are almost always plain and black, but it wouldn't be unheard of to see a man wearing bright red or blue shoes in a Latin competition - especially if he was wearing bright red or blue pants!

Before you head to the store to buy your shoes (or your red pants) make sure your read our next article on how to buy ballroom dance shoes.

Happy Dancing,


Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Why should I buy ballroom dance shoes?
posted by Dancing For Dessert on 1/05/2006 10:57:00 AM

How close should I stand to my partner when we're dancing?

Q. How close should I stand to my partner when we're dancing?

A. As with most questions about ballroom dancing, there is not really a 'right' answer to this one. It depends on a number of factors including how comfortable you are with your partner, which dance you're doing and what level of dancer you are. We have broken this question down into 3 categories: Social dancing, Latin dancing and Ballroom dancing.

1. Social Dancing

In a social dancing situation it is always the lady who decides how close to stand to the man, no matter what dance you're doing. Obviously the lady needs to stand close enough to be held comfortably. However, it is not the man's job to put her there. There is nothing more uncomfortable for a lady dancer than being pressed up against someone she'd rather not be pressed up against! For most people this is just common courtesy. But it is a frequent problem that men believe (whether through ignorance or convenience!) that the only 'correct' way to dance is in full contact.

2. Latin Dancing

Assuming that you feel comfortable with your partner, your distance will depend a lot on which dance (and which dance steps) you're doing. In the Latin dances you should usually stand a short distance apart, (maybe a foot) so that your arms connect comfortably in something like a circle. You should feel a comfortable connection with your partner, but you should also feel that your bodies can move independently. This makes it possible to move your knees, hips and body easily, without disturbing your partner.

That said, there is certainly nothing wrong with getting close. Latin dancing can be very sexy if you forget about personal space and just focus on personal. In fact, there are a lot of advanced moves that have to be done very close. Just make sure that your partner appreciates the idea as much as you do!

3. Ballroom Dancing

For the Ballroom dances things can also vary quite a bit. For beginning dancers we usually recommend that you stand slightly apart so that you get comfortable with the basic steps before you get too close. Again, in social situations or on a crowded dance floor, this might be the best idea no matter what. You will always look great if you're looking at each other when you're dancing (as long as you are happy to be there), and this is only comfortably possible if you're standing slightly apart. For this reason we usually recommend that Wedding couples stand slightly apart for their first dance if they want to use actual dance steps. If a wedding couple only wants to sway together, then they could move side to side in more of an embrace if they prefer.

The more advanced you become in ballroom dancing, however, the closer you will stand together. In fact almost all advanced ballroom dancers dance with their bodies in contact. (you should still be completely on your own balance) The reason for this is that you can travel and turn more easily when you are closer to the centre of the partnership. The closer you get to your common center, the more your two bodies function as a single unit. It really should be as if two people are moving as one. (This is easy to say, but dance position is one of the most difficult things to manage in a partnership and the best dancers spend years learning how best to stand and move together).

Happy Dancing,


Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

How close should I stand to my partner when we're dancing?
posted by Dancing For Dessert on 1/03/2006 06:50:00 PM

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