When you’re watching someone on the dance floor what are your thoughts? Assuming they’re not falling over or making huge over the top movement that you can’t fail to see. Mostly you watch people dance because they’ve got a spark, something that makes you notice them. It could be what they’re wearing. It could be they’re in the right place for your eye line. But mostly they look good on the dance floor and an eye is drawn to them.
While social dancing isn’t about performing, feeling like you look good on the floor, will help your confidence and freedom when dancing. If you assume people are watching and laughing or talking about your dancing, it’ll make many people shy away from being ‘free’ in their dancing.
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How can you look good on the dance floor too?
Look like you’re enjoying yourself
A smile goes a long way – for your partner you’re dancing with as well as for watching people. People want to dance with others who enjoy their dancing and don’t look miserable. The latter is off-putting when you’re dancing with someone.
Focus on your partner
When we start dancing, you can often feel self-conscious. Yes, we’re social dancing, everyone on the floor together and not up on stage dancing to an audience. But people do sit around and watch others on the dance floor. So if you’re a self-conscious person try to focus on your partner and the connection you have rather than worrying about dancing in public.
Listen to the music and play
So many people do modern jive and just dance the same moves to all music played. But there’s so much more to dance. If you’re dancing to a bluesy track and doing lots of spins and detailed frantic arm moves, then you’re going to look a bit silly plus your partner might feel uncomfortable dancing moves that really don’t suit.
Listen to the music, hear the beat and rhythms. Listen for the breaks. Check for tempo changes and builds in the music. All of these things and more, can be played with and explored. Certain moves work really well with different styles of music. Watching really good dancing you see musicality and how the moves work with the music.
At a basic level, make the most of the breaks in music. Leaders, give the follower time to pause, followers, when given some time and space learn to use of it.
So much about dance is about confidence. You might not be the best dancer, you might go wrong. But blag it. Not only will it give you more confidence, you’ll probably enjoy the dance more. And most of the time, an audience will be non the wiser.
Pick an area of strength and work on it
If you have good dance technique, or great spins and turns, or great arms and styling, make the most of those parts in your dancing. As a leader you have much more control of the moves, and have to adapt to a partner’s ability as well as leading moves you enjoy.
- Make sure your spins are good
- Make a styling point your own (without doing it ALL the time)
- Have great balance and the ability to follow anyone
- Have clean footwork
If you know you have an area you are confident about and know you can make look good and fall back on, you can relax more about the rest of your dancing.
Dress well and wear suitable dance shoes*
If all else fails, dress to suit your dancing. Don’t be the person turning up in the tiniest mini dress and highest non-dance shoes (without straps) that you can hardly stand in. People will probably watch you, but not for your dancing.
The great thing about modern jive is that you don’t need to go all out in your outfits. Some do, but for class and for a general freestyle, be comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you’re used to heels, wear them, if you’re not, then wear flats. If you sweat a lot, wear layers, black or dark colours, and change when needed. If you love to wear dresses, wear them.
As long as your clothes don’t get you tangled up on the dancefloor, they can certainly turn some heads and potentially improve your posture, confidence and enjoyment of the dance. All of which help you look better when dancing.
What makes you feel good on the dancefloor? Do you prefer to stay in your own world when dancing, or like to be seen?