I’m surprised by the number of people I know who have been taking dance lessons for over a year but have never been out social dancing. Social dancing is great! By “social dancing” I mean partner dancing that is informal and relaxed, there is no instructor critiquing your technique, and you aren’t being judged like in a competition. You might have brought a dance partner or friends with you, but more than likely you’ll also end up dancing with some people you don’t know too.
Sometimes social dancing nights are hosted at restaurants, in parks, or in dance studios. It’s most common to find places offering salsa dancing, swing dancing, or (at least in Texas) country western dancing. But some ballroom dance studios may also dance socials weekly or monthly that are open to the public and play a variety of ballroom songs (waltz, tango, rumba, etc). If you live in Dallas-Fort Worth, check out this post for recommendations of where to go out dancing.
So why go out social dancing?
- It’s usually pretty affordable, often just $15-$20 for a few hours of dancing. Sometimes they even offer a free group lesson before the dance social starts.
- It’s a great way to meet new people. You are brought together by a common interest, so you already have something you can talk about (where do you take lessons dance? How long have you been dancing?). You might end up making a new friend, learning about an upcoming dance competition, or even finding a new dance partner.
- It’s free from pressure for perfection. Social dancing should be fun! If you’ve been working hard in your private lessons, sometimes you get stressed out and only see the things you aren’t doing right. Social dancing is a great way to shake that off and find the joy in dancing again.
- It makes you a better follower/lead to dance with new people. Men, it’s one thing to lead a whisk in waltz with your female pro, but a totally new level of success if you successfully lead an amateur lady you’ve never danced with before. Ladies, sometimes we try to guess what our partner is about to do, or we know from choreography what should come next, but social dancing forces you to be present in the moment and truly listen for the cues from the lead.
So why don’t more people go social dancing? I’d guess that they either don’t want to go alone, they are doubting that they are good enough to dance with anyone other than their pro, or they simply don’t know about all the social dancing opportunities around them. Let this be your encouragement to be brave! I PROMISE you there will be other beginners there.
What about you, have you gone social dancing before? If not, what’s holding you back?