9 Joy Killing Behaviors That Can Doom A Dance Partnership




How far are you willing to go to be right?

Learning to dance as a couple can be one of the most rewarding activities you do with the special person in your life. Working as a unit, moving in harmony, and doing something just plain sexy together has many advantages over the average couple offerings – TV coma anyone?

But In a world where the ends justifies the means, what if the means bring your hobby to an end? 

9 Joy Killing Behaviors That Can Doom A Dance Partnership

1. Dance Experience Leverage

Sounds like:  “You should listen to me because I took a dance class in college.”

Potential Damage: Being reminded of someone’s dance experience doesn’t make it any easier to dance with that person.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

Solution:  Let your teacher do the teaching. Having some dance experience can be helpful to your own journey, but it could hinder your partner’s. 

2. Skipping Appointments

Sounds like: “We are so busy. We’ll see you the same time next week.”

Potential Damage: In many cases, this is the original problem that evolved into others listed in this article. 

Solution:  We know you’re busy. If you’ve got kids, we recommend checking out the Dance Lesson Escape Plan For Busy Parents.  If you work too much, we recommend 6 Things Dancers Do To Anger Corporate America. The staff at your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio are wonderful at setting a strategy for your lessons that will fit your life. 

3. Comparing Yourself To Your Partner

Sounds like: “Well, I’ll never be as good as her.” Or “He’s the dancer in the family.”

Potential Damage: If you believe this one, it could be devastating to your dance hobby.  This is one of the greatest dance myths out there, next to “two left feet” and “born with no rhythm”.  

Read More About Dance Myths, and why we use them

Solution:  Unless your partner is planning on dancing your part, you have nothing to worry about.  Leaders send the signals, followers read and respond to them. Two different sides, two different skills, two different job descriptions. 

4. Not So Silent Judgement

Sounds like: (at the studio) “I can’t believe you forgot that turn!”

Potential Damage: Verbal criticism adds pressure to the task that your dance partner was struggling with. So, in effect, it guarantees that it won’t get better immediately. 

Solution:  On the plus side, voicing concerns on your lesson gives your teacher a chance to fix them. We recommend that you utilize heaping amounts of Personal Accountability and Benefit of the Doubt – to keep things productive and civil.  

We recommend these 3 Business Books Every Ballroom Dancer Must Read as a great place to start. 

5. Silent Judgement

Sounds like: “No I’m fine, really” (later at home) “I can’t believe you forgot that turn.”

Potential Damage:  Silent criticism is the ninja assassin of dance enjoyment. As a couple, your dance partner comes home with you.  Negative dance critiques at home, breeds negative feelings towards the activity as a whole.  

Solution: Communication with supervision. Your teacher is a dance arbitrator.  It’s much easier to handle your case when they’ve heard it. 

6. Eject From The Dance Floor

Sounds like: “[Expletive deleted], I’m done… taking a break.”

Potential Damage:  Sometimes a dance hiccup can feel like a total meltdown.  Stopping in the middle of the dance floor to “converse” about how things should have gone rarely has a positive result.  

Solution:  Dancing less is never the solution to a dance problem. When in doubt, dance another basic pattern.  If that’s giving you trouble, flag down your teacher and they can help you out of the jam.  

7.  Unfair Comparisons

Sounds like: “We’re never going to look like that dance couple over there.”

Potential Damage: Unfair comparisons remove the lightbulbs of optimism. There’s something semi-permanent that happens when you make negative statements. 

Solution: In the article The 5 Dysfunctional Comparisons of a Dance Student, we made the point that it’s okay to be “inspired” by specific things about someone else’s dancing, but you should avoid overall direct comparisons. 

8. Little Fixes

Sounds like: “Put your hand here.” “Keep your elbows up.” etc.

Potential Damage: For new dancers, available brain real estate for dance related stuff is pretty scarce. Additional items on the to-do list only adds to the search.

Solution: Your teacher isn’t saying anything about the frame, or the eyes, or any other fix – and it’s not because they don’t notice it, but because it’s not critical to the current mission.  Follow your teacher’s lead.  If it’s really causing trouble, your teacher will take care of it.  If it’s really just bugging you, use a disclaimer and keep the focus on your part.

9. Practicing At Home

Sounds like: “Move the couch. It’s time to talk about that grapevine.”

Potential Damage: There are environments that are built for instruction, and then there’s your living room.  It’s not to say that you will kill each other if you practice at home, but the environment could make you vulnerable to some of the behaviors listed in this article.

Solution: Give yourself a time limit, and be willing to walk away if things get tricky.  Your teachers are always the best resource for instruction, so clue them in on what you’ve attempted at home.  Better yet, keep your lessons closer together, skip the living room, and go to a nice dinner or your company’s next office party.  We recommend checking out, “Win The Holiday Office Party Season With Ballroom Dance Lessons”.

Final Thought

It’s easy to forget this, but you’re in elite company.

There are countless Arthur Murray students who come in for dance lessons, but without their other half. These are people who have turned ballroom dancing into a hobby, but it’s with an asterisk. Why?  It was all done without the one partner they wanted most. So consider yourself lucky.  Sure, it can be challenging at times, test your patience, and reveal quirks you didn’t know existed, but don’t all of those things also strengthen your bond?

So enjoy the process. If there is one thing you should know it is this:

You don’t need to have perfect dancing to have the perfect dance partner.


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Win The Holiday Party Season With Ballroom Dance Lessons


You’ve got to start planning now. 

We’re not talking about the next black friday sale, or creative excuses to have as many four day weekends before the end of the year.  We’re talking business, serious business.  Professional business.  

Holiday Parties.  

With dance lessons your reputation can dramatically change for the better, but a couple of bad moves and you’re out of the game. 

Win The Holiday Party Season With Ballroom Dance Lessons

office-party-like-a-pro1Office Party Like A Pro

The Scene:  Live band, Black Tie, Spiked Egg Nog

The Players: Your Boss, His Boss, and Her Boss and family.. oh yeah, and co-workers

The Likely Danger:  Alcohol Induced obscenities directed to boss and his spouse, photocopies of rear end, or any attempt at breakdancing. 

The Ballroom Dancer’s Approach: 

  1. Skip the Egg Nog
  2. Dance social Foxtrot with select members of your co-workers. Play it really cool/low-key
  3. Use Swing midway through to liven things up.
  4. Recruit co-workers to the dance floor.
  5. Start a Conga line that includes at least one C-Level executive
  6. Transition into a Latin dance with Boss.
  7. Secure another dance in the future.
  8. Lightly pitch your new Product Launch idea over spiked Egg Nog.
  9. Accept the invitation of company limousine ride home.


house-party-like-a-pro1House Party Like A Pro

The Scene:  Bluetooth speaker, Holiday music, Spiked Egg Nog

The Players: Your family, including your aunt’s boyfriend/dispensable crew member that changes semi-annually

The Likely Danger:  Fall into a deep food coma slumber watching bad football while missing an opportunity to get the family dancing. 

The Ballroom Dancer’s Approach:

  1. Sync your preset ballroom playlist to the boombox via Bluetooth (smarty pants)
  2. Ask the person with the most life experience to dance first. Foxtrot is a great for large living rooms or back patios.  Rumba and Swing in the kitchen.
  3. Transition to contemporary music to recruit younger generation to dance as well.  Threaten with cancelled visits from Santa Claus if necessary.
  4. Thank each partner you dance with and secure future dances at the next Holiday gathering.
  5. Finish with Egg Nog, football, and a long winter’s nap.



After Party Like A Pro

The Scene:  Night Club, Live Band, Dress Casual, Mojitos

The Players: Close friends, co-workers, and a collection of party people

The Likely Danger:  Staying at home in food coma slumber, leaving the house just to stand in line to return holiday gifts in search of something else – only to find that you still aren’t satisfied. Drinking more spiked egg nog, passing out, repeating the entire process with shame and turkey gravy stained clothing until your boss calls to arrange a meeting with HR to discuss a racy Xerox photo shoot left on his desk after the office holiday party. 

The Ballroom Dancer’s Approach:

  1. Pick a local Bay Area Salsa club, Swing Club, Tango club, or all purpose Nightclub
  2. Pick a nice restaurant
  3. Invite someone special, or a group of friends, to join you for steps 1 & 2 after any of the aforementioned holiday parties.
  4. Bask in the glow of knowing that your dance lessons have saved you from the”Ghost of Bad Choices During the Holidays Past”.


Final Thought

Getting started with Arthur Murray may take a little courage, but what doesn’t kill you, and anything worth doing, blah, blah, blah.  Actually, for most non-dancing humans – you just need the right reason:


You’ve got an office party, you want to make an impression = Ballroom dance lessons are an unlikely investment in your career.

Stress Relief.

Sitting around and listening to family complain over the holidays can be stressful = Ballroom dance lessons gives you a skill that can get everyone moving.  When they’re moving they are happy and get tired faster.


We sometimes stay resigned to working late, or binge-watching depressing TV shows because that seems like our only option = Ballroom dance lessons gives you more social opportunities.

Now you’ve got an event (or three), you’ve got a great reason, and now you just need to take the next step and book a lesson!



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“Don’t Be That Guy: A Guide to Maneuvering a Crowded Dance Floor”


Don’t Be That Guy: A Guide to Maneuvering a Crowded Dance Floor

“Ouch!” the woman yelps as something sharp scrapes down her ankle.

“Ouff.” the man grunts as an elbow glances him in the shoulder.

These macabre sounds might conjure up images of a battle or brawl, but to veteran dancers, this sounds like some dances on a crowded floor – if those dancers are unprepared.

No one wants to be the person who gets stepped on – or what might feel worse – the person who steps on another. So in preparation for, say, a Medal Ball dance floor, let’s learn a few key skills to help you traverse the social floor as if it were any other studio party where you are king.

Skill 1: Take smaller steps!

Do you know the general rule for speed of music? The faster the song, the smaller the steps.

The same principle applies to how much space you have on a dance floor: small space means small steps.

With a couple hundred people all grooving to the same songs, it’s important to gage your step size to how much space you have at the moment. If you’re elbow to elbow, keep your steps underneath the body – especially those back rocks! Slide your heel on the floor when stepping back. If you bump into someone’s show, no big deal. If you take a honking step back into another person’s toe…less fun.

Skill 2: Keep a strong frame!

I don’t mean big.

Don’t be that guy elbowing everyone in the head because you’re imagining yourself at Blackpool.

I mean toned and actively listening to your partner.

This isn’t just for leaders, but followers too! If follows aren’t sensitive and light with their arms and movement, even the best leader will have difficulty leading them through a mine-field of dancers. So be firm, responsive and clear with your movement and frame to have the best dance possible with each partner.

Skill 3: Modify your styling!

If don’t have the room to travel, you don’t need to take strong heel leads in a foxtrot or waltz. Go crazy and slide your feet. It will feel better and look better with steps only six inches long.

If you don’t have the space on the floor, you don’t need to do the biggest arm styling possible – because your thumb will go into someone’s eyeball. Keep your hands to yourself.

Skill 4: Embrace the environment!

For most of you, this is the reason you walked into Arthur Murray – social dancing. And we’ve provided you with such a great venue and atmosphere of fun and enjoyment. So, have fun and enjoy it!

Don’t worry about the perfect technique and styling you’ve practiced. Don’t worry about remembering every step you know. Have a nice conversation with your partner and don’t mortally wound anyone. It’s so simple.

And if you do step on someone, it happens. Just apologize and move on.

And if you do get stepped on, it happens. Just graciously accept the apology and move on.

This is a time to relax and enjoy all your hard work. You’re not getting a critique or performing at the studio party. This is the time to put everything you’ve learned to the most fun test we offer – a party.

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The Beginners Guide To Ballroom Dance Lessons




You’ve spent more time not taking dance lessons.
Knowing that, the divide between the non-dance world, and the dance party version of it can seem as wide as the Grand Canyon.  With a little help from this guide, we can close that gap.

The Beginners Guide To Ballroom Dance Lessons

Step 1: Forget Everything You’ve Heard

The excuses [we’ve listed some here] that hold most people back can be discarded and forgotten forever.

The Truth Behind Two Left Feet

  • Two Left Feet is an assessment that non-dancers make that implies a permanent malfunction
  • The expression is actually a feeling.
  • It is the feeling of having taken very few, or no dance classes at all

Bottom Line:  Learning to dance is a process. The Two Left Feet label halts that process from taking shape due to its “permanent malfunction” quality.

Another Angle:  Kids who are learning to ride a bike are at the beginning of a process, but no one labels permanently. They are just encouraged to give the process time and repetition.  Same with dancing.

[We felt so strongly about Two Left Feet that we wrote a poem about it]

Step 2:  Harness Your Motivation

Maybe you are in crisis mode:

  • Office party is around the corner, live band, lots of dancing, plenty of people to impress
  • Wedding reception for a family member is coming up.  “What do I do on the money dance?”
  • Dreading the thought of standing at the buffet all week on your Caribbean cruise while people enjoy Latin dancing.

Perhaps you want to re-invent yourself:

  • Learning to dance is a goal that’s long overdue
  • Newly single and want a skill upgrade
  • Realize that you’ve been stuck in a cell in the shape of your cubicle
  • Want to improve your health, or lose weight

There are plenty of people that have thought about learning how to dance, including you.  What’s going to get you through the door will be your motivation.

Note:  You don’t need to have fantastic dance goals to take ballroom lessons.

Step 3:  Make Contact On Your Terms

Call, E-mail, walk in, or comment on an Instagram post – however you’d like to start the dialogue is fine (a letter may be a bit time consuming).  The nice thing is that the person corresponding with you will be, drumroll please, a person.  An actual dance professional that will:

  • Help you integrate your first dance appointment into your crazy schedule
  • Assist you with any questions
  • Will be there to greet you when you arrive

Note:  Your fire for taking ballroom lessons can get doused if you put too much time between your first contact and your first dance appointment.  We recommend 2-4 days if possible.

Step 4:  The Essentials

There are a few things that you’ll need to have for your first ballroom lesson

  • Directions to the studio
  • Shoes that will not slip off of your feet
  • Maintain full radio silence regarding your dance lessons with any pessimistic people in your life for at least a week

[Read this for more tips on those fun pessimists: Keep Your Dance Lessons A Secret From These 5 People]
Note:  You do not need dance experience, dance shoes, or a dance partner to take a dance class.

Step 5:  The Information

No amount of research, not even a ballroom blog article (wink, wink), can deliver the experience of taking a dance lesson. Even the greatest, most vivid, explanations pale in comparison to the first hand impressions you receive from the instruction, the environment, and the way it all makes you feel.

Bottom Line:  Everything dance related makes more sense when you’re on the dance floor.

Final Thought

There’s nothing permanent holding you back from becoming a ballroom dancer.  Sure, there are people that see ballroom dancing lessons as an activity as comfortable as public speaking while skydiving, but not you.


The worst thing that can happen is you’ll book a class, learn how to dance, and permanently lose the ability to use excuses like “Two Left Feet” for the rest of your dance party life.

Isn’t that a leap worth taking?



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