Dance 2024: Online & DVD

Introduction to Social Dancing

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Shawn Trautman Instruction | 0 comments

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Social dancing is the bomb-diggity.  Social dancing, in and of itself, though, encompasses a wide variety of couples dances, as well as various styles of dancing.

So what all is it?

In general terms, social dancing includes everything from the salsa to the two-step to the cha-cha and all the classics in between, such as the foxtrot, swing, hustle, nightclub 2 and the waltz.

Basically, social couples dances include all dances that are performed with a partner, in contrast to dances such as line dancing, which does not require a partner (line dancing is still social dancing though).

Another unique attribute of the social dance family is along the same vein as the first, but takes it a step further. Social dances are not just performed with a partner; the successful execution of the dance depends on the interpersonal communication between the partners during the dance, which is commonly referred to as the lead-and-follow aspect of the dance.

Other dance forms, such as ballet, modern, and jazz, can be performed as partner dances, but they are also perfectly acceptable and equally beautiful when performed solo. The artist’s intrapersonal communication and interpretation of the music are the defining attributes of these dances.

In contrast, a solo foxtrot is merely a dancer progressing around a dance floor in a box-step pattern without a partner to initiate or complete the led patterns associated with the dance, leaving a relatively meaningless series of rhythmic steps taking the solo dancer around a circle. Hence the term social dancing because it is based on a temporary social relationship formed between two partners strictly for the purpose of completing the dance at hand.

If you do not currently have a dance partner, do not be dismayed; a high percentage of beginning social dancers start out in the same situation. The beauty of lead-and-follow social dancing is that the basics of each dance can be learned individually for application in a mixed social setting. Once you are properly armed with the basics of a particular dance, you should be ready to dance with a corre-sponding leader or follower who also knows the standardized basic steps of the same dance.

Many people learn to dance for the sole purpose of meeting people of the opposite sex. History has proven this to be a successful and palatable strategy because those individuals who can dance have a perceived “edge” on the competition due to their newly acquired musical sense and comfort on the dance floor, as well as a real advantage created by the confidence instilled by simply knowing how to dance and subsequently behave in a potentially awkward social occasion.


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