The Joy Of Partnering

Jukka is giving us some practical tools to approach partnering through sensing
Jukka Haapalainen and Sirpa Suutari-Jääskö

by Jukka Haapalainen

It is always captivating to witness the joy of partnering on the floor and we would like to encourage all dancers to find inspiration in using these cornerstones of dancing to develop their skill. 

Ballroom and Latin American dancing are unique through partners sharing enjoyment of movement and bodyweight  together, sensing the rhythm and feel of music through fantastic fundamental patterns of movements that have been formulated over the history and form the base for dancing as a couple.

Here are some practical ways of approach

  • Look at your partner and accept their mood, find breathing together and approach with sympathy and openness. Take a close hold and dance a few bars of basic movement or a pattern, sensing the common pulse of rhythm with your partner, sensing the touch and what the hold feels like. Try altering the level of hold, proximity and firmness, not only placing the arms but allowing your weight to merge with that of your partner and really experience togetherness. Step away and play with rhythm, try free styling through variation but conveying your mood of movement and observing that of your partner in keeping with the rhythm in question. Accept nuance and respond without expectation.
  • Try dancing into and achieving another hold, perhaps a shadow, open hold or two hand hold, right to right or left to left hand hold  this time.
  • Activate your back to become part of the hold, receiving and sending signals that are clear and brave. 
  • Try to find a way of dancing in and out of different holds without breaking the flow of rhythm and common pulse. To achieve a hold,to dance in that hold  and achieving another hold seamlessly using common rhythm and weight is one of the most enjoyable aspects of dancing together in a couple . 
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