Dancing together may have been a small miracle. So when did the miracle start to fade?
As a dancer, it's easy to make some progress, and, at the same time, lose some perspective on how special it is to have someone who will dance with you.
The following agreements are designed to help recapture some of the excitement of dancing together, create a strategy to improve how you move together, and improve the dynamics of your partnership.
10 Agreements to Improve as a Dance Couple
It wasn't long ago that Ballroom and Latin dancing was a hobby, in large part, for women. There were dance students with husbands that wouldn't be caught dead on a dance floor. This was in the time before shows like Dancing with the Stars which helped change the stigma many men associated with dance lessons as a female-dominant activity.
Over the last 12 years, men have been returning to the dance floor. It has been one of the most important shifts in the Arthur Murray organization, and that is why it is crucial that we strengthen the dance partner relationship.
10 Dance Agreements For Couples
Agreement 1: Travel
Plan some type of dance vacation together within the next 12 months.
This can be something as lavish as the Ciao Amore Dance-O-Rama® in Venice, Italy or a "Stay-cation" at our Two Day District Showcase. Either way you go, a Dance Vacation not only improves your dancing, but strengthens your Dance Partnership as you build Dance confidence as a unit.
Agreement #2: Create your Dual Advantage.
As a dance couple, make a commitment to work with both a male and female instructor to improve your ability to lead and follow each other.
As a couple, your most important audience happens to be on the other end of your dance frame. The primary objective for your Arthur Murray instructors is to ensure that you Lead and Follow each other the best way possible. Whether it is for amateurs or professionals, these two roles are always under construction. The most efficient method to limiting any awkward transitions, or frustration in the learning process is to take a Divide and Conquer approach.
How It Works
Both Leader and Follower work individually on their own roles with teachers. This can be done at the same time to make scheduling easier. The couple then works together to implement their individual training to enhance their abilities as a unit.
A dance instructor can see plenty, but teaching an amateur couple doesn't allow them to feel what may be missing. Developing a clear lead, and a sensitive follow is the number one skill to reduce Dance Partner frustration - and this method is the number one solution to achieving that.
Agreement #3: Never Refuse a Dance Invitation
Do not make any excuse, turn down any offer, or shy away from any invitation to dance... even if there's no invitation.
How it Works
It's easy to enjoy something, take lessons to get better at it, and still lack the confidence to use it in public. This resolution is about taking that final leap to throwing caution to the wind and embracing any chance to dance.
This is completely normal. There are accomplished singers who still fear Karaoke, golfers that are still nervous teeing off in front of others, and dance students who may still sit on the sidelines when the dance floor is empty.
Consider this, single dance students have one huge additional challenge in dance venues - finding a partner. For you, it's not an issue. There is strength in numbers, and taking the leap out onto a dance floor could be the beginning of seeing your dance classes in a whole new light.
Agreement #4: New Dances Won't Kill You
Okay, maybe this sounds a bit dramatic, but commit yourself to trying a few dances that you've never done. The fact is, you won't die in the process, and you may actually enjoy it.
How It Works
As your dance experience grows, so do your tastes. Think of it like your palette - not many kids grow up craving Sushi, Indian Food, and Mac N' Cheese. As a new dancer, your dance options may center around practical choices, but as your knowledge, and comfort zone, expand - it's good to branch out.
Dances to Try (That won't Kill You)
Many of the dances you can add are seamless transitions from dances you know and love.
|Dance You Know
|New Dance To Learn
|Rumba - the classic Latin Slow Dance
|Bachata - the incredibly popular Nightclub Slow Dance
|East Coast Swing - the all purpose wedding reception dance
|West Coast Swing - a different, slow style, of Swing with more sex appeal.
|Tango - the powerful and dramatic dance that can clear the floor and help you make a bold statement.
|Argentine Tango - a sexy, and intimate, version of the Tango focused on more intricate movements and closer proximity.
Agreement #5: Accept Praise Gracefully
Make a commitment to accept praise and encouragement from your teachers without skepticism. They gain nothing with false praise anyway.
As a couple, your dance skills are the result of the Arthur Murray teaching system, and a group of teachers to customize the message in a way that matches your learning style. You are the product that represents both Arthur Murray, and your instructors. This may sound heavy, but the point is - Your teacher gains nothing by heaping out sugary false praise.
Why It is Normal
Since no one was born a dancer (seriously, we've checked), it's no coincidence that most people feel a little out of place on a dance floor. This can lead to the inner skeptic that is squatting rent free on your mental real estate to start speaking up.
When a compliment comes in, without a decent amount of proof, it's easy to cast it aside and throw it in the "You're paid to tell me that" bin.
The Arthur Murray staff understand this, but as humans, they are still working on perfecting it. The solution comes down to doling out compliments and evidence in equal parts. That way, the instant emotional response of "Great job!" is matched by the logical reason why.
Agreement #6: Resist Criticism
As a dance couple, especially if it's not at your dance studio, allow the teacher to do the teaching.
One thing that can drive a wedge through a dance partnership is complaining. This can be disguised as teaching, or direct and intentional.
Why this is Normal
We covered this in greater detail in our article, "9 Joy Killing Behaviors that can Doom a Dance Partnership", but the root of the majority of dance problems is wanting to improve. Unfortunately, the method to doing that can be flawed, and lead to hurt feelings, a lack of enjoyment, or worse.
Allowing your teacher to make recommendations, eliminating any negative chatter, and focusing your efforts on your own side of the dance frame work for both amateurs, and professionals. Having a dance partner is special, and we never want to lose sight of that on our road to improvement.
Agreement #7: Use Dancing as Therapy
It can't cure everything, but dancing together can sure help when times get tough.
We can't control what life throws at us, but we can control how we respond to it. Doing something together that is fun, physical, and interactive can help dancing become an all-purpose tool for working through the toughest things you may be experiencing.
Dancing takes consistent effort between your mind and body. This allows you to tune out any concerns, problems, or, seemingly, impossible challenges. We all know how important it is to take a deep breath to avoid over-reacting to things. A dance lesson is like a 45 minute deep breath that allows you the opportunity to put your body and brain into a better place to tackle the biggest issues together.
Agreement #8: Share It With Friends
It's never been easier to share Arthur Murray with your friends and family. We aren't saying you need to share your dance partner, just your dance hobby.
How To Start
In 2015, we launched the Arthur Murray Ambassador Program. It is a Digital Referral system that gives you a link you can easily share on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. &From there, you can earn free lessons for every referral that takes a dance lesson.
Why Do It?
The other couples you know may still be trapped in "Pasta & Breadsticks Date Night" purgatory. You have a decided advantage in your date night activities, and letting them in on the secret only ensures that your friends will be happier. Not to mention, you will no longer feel guilty hosting a dance party at your home, or dancing in front of your friends.
Agreement #9: Breakthroughs
Dance breakthroughs happen more frequently when you strategize with your teacher on the best times to take extra lessons.
Why Do It?
Dancing is a muscle memory endeavor. The sooner that you have it, the sooner it will feel natural. There are strategic times in your dance program where you can seriously benefit from a mini dance lesson marathon. Not to mention, it's healthier than binge watching multiple seasons of a TV Show, and won't take as long.
The Curve of Learning is a great tool for understanding how you are progressing in any dance, level, or technique in your Arthur Murray program. Sometimes, due to the content, it may take more time to upload the information than what you have allotted in the schedule (Think - downloading an HD video over, say, a single image file). With that in mind, trying out 90 Minute Appointments, or more, can lead to dramatic improvements in your muscle memory.
Agreement #10: Look Back and Laugh
Take a moment to laugh, and reflect, on your very first dance lesson together. How close were you to canceling it? What was it like walking in for the first time? What were you most worried about then, that you can laugh about now?
Why Do It?
There are so many things that could have prevented you and your partner from taking dance lessons together at Arthur Murray. If you want to eliminate “dance complaints”, think about those moments, those distractions, the events in your life that could have ended your dance journey before it ever started.
Laughing about an old problem says that you've grown from it. Taking a moment to reflect helps to zoom out of the dance problems of the present, and survey a broader landscape of the big picture benefits of dancing together in general.
Sure, resolutions are only super popular late December through the first week of January, but these are too important to overlook throughout the remainder of the year. Dancing together builds a level of teamwork and communication that non-dancers can rarely experience. Taking the time to nurture this version of your relationship will ensure that it is continuing to grow no matter what your dance level is.
Are you ready to give dancing a try? Whether you're wanting to learn with someone special or just for yourself, you can start with a free private lesson to see why Arthur Murray has been the leader in ballroom dance instruction since 1912 - way before DWTS ever came out. 😉