Upon reflection and after many years with Arthur Murray (and having been blessed to receive amazing coachings from so many it would almost be impossible to list all the influences) it has become my opinion that we cultivate 3 distinct partnerships in our style of dance:
(in no particular order)
1. (Perhaps the most obvious one) Our actual person partner. We develop our knowledge and experience of Leadership and Following, or “connection” in general.
2. The music and our ear for finding (and maintaining) our physical timing to the music is also a relationship that has various stages. Our primary mission as newer dancers is to be “on time.” As we grow in maturity as dancers, we come to understand timing as a range as opposed to an absolute. This is what eventually allows for a more dynamic look and feeling as we dance, creating stretch and snap with contrasting approaches to the beat. There are many layers in between “on time” and something we call “musicality,” so do not be discouraged as this is an area of comprehension that deserves study and attention and comes in many layers and you may encounter varying opinions on the way.
3. The floor…or another way of saying this is the relationship we each have through our feet with the floor due to gravity. When we study footwork, and floor pressure, we begin to see and feel a difference in our own body. How balanced we feel will of course impact our partner, and our ability to control our tempo to stay in time with the music. We’ve all seen (and been) dancers of varying levels…some dances even call for a different quality of weightedness into the floor, through different parts of our feet. Some of us have seen people who appear to be ice skating, slipping along the surface of the floor boards, and other people who play the floor as if it is a drum with their legs and feet, and yet others who seem to attack the wood with every step.
If we develop our partnerships with the floor, the music and connections with our various people-partners we can certainly find a treasure trove of return on the time invested. Some of the benefits are glaringly obvious, while others may surprise us along the way.
Let’s all enjoy the journey! =)