We would all love to be the type of dancer that everyone wants to dance with. To have our dancing admired. And to be seen to enjoy our dancing whoever we’re dancing with. It doesn’t always happen like that, and when you look around a dance floor there’ll be certain characters you spot.
Here’s my list of 11 types of dancers (not exhaustive) you can find at ceroc / modern jive.
1. The noisy dancer
While many of us like to sing along when we dance, mostly it’s only with partners we know well. But some dancers don’t just sing along, they make noises to the rhythm or tune, the drum beats. Whatever they are hearing, they make noises.
It can be unnerving to a partner, it can be amusing. I’d rather hear singing (if they’re in tune), but once you’re used to it’s just something to be expected of those dancers and it isn’t really too much of a bad habit.
2. The smoothie
All dancers have their personal space and for some it’ll be bigger than others. Some of my friends really aren’t keen on dancing up close and personal with anyone, while others are happy to be in a close clinch for a whole night of blues. But there are some dancers (generally applying to leaders, but it could apply to followers as well) who get a little close and slinky with women, without being aware of their comfort factor.
The smoothie is on the better end of the scale – just being a bit slick and practised, enjoying dancing close to all the women, their whole dance style is based on getting women in close.
Depending on the dance partner and their comfort levels, too close and too tactile, and the smoothie could become a sleaze.
3. The sweater
Ok, we all sweat when dancing, and it does get hot in particular with the severe lack of air conditioning in many venues. And some more than others. But dancing without taking a break, wiping face/hands/hair/body as relevant, not changing when your clothes are more wet than not, it’s not the most pleasant.
4. The personal rhythm maker
When you learn modern jive it’s all about the beat, stepping back and forward on the beat. It helps you keep in time, it helps your partner know when you’re moving them, and it makes it easier to time spins and moves. Obviously the more advanced a dancer you get, the more you play with the music, the more complex the music you dance to and therefore you start to see more dancing across the beat.
But there are a lot (and more so than there used to be when I danced before) of mid level dancers – whether newer or experienced – who just don’t dance on the beat. And as a follower it doesn’t feel like they’re dancing musically, it’s just off the beat. To their own beat. Or just stepping as they want. It’s not just me who’s noticed, I’ve had quite a few people mention it to me.
Without a really clear lead, and a good musical connection, it’s really hard to follow these people unless you ignore the music and then just follow them. Which I dislike because it feels like its wrong. It also looks wrong when watching these rhythm makers dance.
As for those who just rush moves – it’s bad leading because they’re not allowing their partners time to finish the moves off.
5. The ignorer
We’ve all danced with these. The ones who you ask to dance, look you up and down before accepting, and then don’t look at you for the whole dance. They can even be the one to ask you but you still might find there’s no eye contact.
Obviously the ignorer may just be shy, but it doesn’t come across well, and it makes the partner feel like you don’t want to be there. The occasional smile and eye connection goes a long way to improving a dance.
6. The yanker
This character is obvious. They’re uncomfortable to dance with and probably the most likely to be avoided by prospective partners for fear of being injured following their previous experience of dancing with them. I include within this group, those who use their thumbs to hold a hand, those who’re too strong when putting hands on hips or shoulders before leading spins, and those who are just too tight, violent and strong when leading (or fighting as a follow). These are the people who leave bruises in their wake.
7. The apologiser
There’s usually nothing wrong with this dancer at all, but they’re just predisposed to apologise after anything that may come across as having gone wrong. Even when it’s been rescued or wasn’t wrong in the first place.
8. The picky one
The picky one can be an ignorer too, using the look you up and down before dancing. But during the dance, they may point out when things have gone wrong, try and teach you a move that didn’t work (even if you prevented it because you didn’t want to do the potentially dangerous move), and you feel like they’re criticising the dance. They’re rarely the best dancer in the room, but they’d like to think they are.
9. The funster
The funster is the dancer everyone loves to dance with because they’re full of life, dance their hearts out and bounce around the dance floor like Tigger (not always literally bouncing, but just enthusiastic). Whatever type of music you dance with them to, it’s an enjoyable dance, although upbeat numbers are the preference. If you don’t join in and match their spirit you’ll not have half as much fun.
10. The grateful one
When you’re on the end of a grateful dancer, it really makes you feel loved. They’re pleased to be dancing with you. You may have asked them to dance when they’ve not had many dances. And you make them feel and look great when dancing. And you don’t ‘notice’ when anything goes wrong. Quite often they don’t have anything to feel inferior about, but dancing with a grateful dancer can make you both feel good.
11 The dream partner
This dancer is likely to be different for everyone. Many a time I’ve mentioned a great dancer I’ve loved dancing with but a friend hasn’t enjoyed so much. The dream partner can also change over time as situations change, or as you improve.
For me the dream partner is someone I never have a bad dance with, even if the music is a bad or difficult track. They have a good frame, and lead me around effortlessly. They mix up the moves, but it still feels comfortable and not rushed even to fast music. They (usually) dance on the slot, and will play with the music and allow me to do so. There’s some eye contact, but we can both just feel the music. If things go wrong we have a laugh about it, but just enjoy the dance and let the dancing take over.
We can’t all have dream dance partners all the time, but sometimes you don’t want the extremes. Having a range of different personalities on the dance floor is great because different partners suit different music. I might have a dream dance every time to one music genre with one partner, but to a different type of music we might not work as well.
That’s the great thing about social dancing. It’s for everyone to enjoy, and everyone to make the most of.
Are there any types of dancers that you’d add to the list? What makes your dream dance partner? Let me know in the comments below.