"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #86, Thursday, Jan 24 2002

Dancing Tid-bits
Partner Size

Letter: Dear Max, Many thanks for the fascinating Newsletters which are compulsive reading and packed with useful tips and information. I access these through many dance websites. I hope you can help.

After a few years of social dancing I am just starting out on the competitive circuit with a good friend -- and I'm afraid that the age-old question has reared its ugly head. "Does size really matter?" I'm about 6' tall and weigh 185 lbs..My partner is 5' 1" and weighs 115 lbs. We enjoy dancing together immensely. I've the opportunity to dance with another lady who is about 5' 8" and obviously much better suited in height but with whom there is no 'chemistry'.

So to cut to the chase:

(i) Do you think the size gap will work - or will we just always look ridiculous on the competition floor?

(ii) And is it more important to have fun and to enjoy the dancing than to dance with someone who you may not enjoy but who is of 'proper' height? Your comments would be much valued and appreciated. CJ

Reply: Dear CJ, Oh, Yes! The "partner size." CJ! Even though my students do not compete at Blackpool level, I certainly have an opinion on this subject. The following issues are to be considered.

Are you headed to be a Champion Do you dance for Fun and Joy or Competing is that important Are you planning Dancing as your career and way to make a living. Are you a good business man Do you have good public relations and are you soft in dealing with people How arrogant and conceited are you.

The last few items I asked just in case you want to own a studio which is one of the hardest things in my opinion. So briefly these are my thoughts:-

1. If you feel that dancing is your life and you can already see yourself as a champion dancer and you would like to make this as a way to make a living, then I think it becomes important that you establish your identity as someone who is a master of the art. So, you have to compete and win big. Apparently what the adjudicators tell me is that their job is to see "Who is looking good?" and that couple is the winner. So, wide discrepancies in partner size are going to be definitely a factor. That does not mean that both partners have to be tall but they must be proportionate. I am 5' 7'' weighing at 145 lbs.and feel that ideal size for my partner would be 2 to 4 inches less and I feel very comfortable dancing with a petite lady weighing at 125 to 130 lb at 5' 4". The reality is so, that it is not always possible to put the physique and chemistry together...so life goes on.

2. However if you are dancing for joy, then it becomes a juggling act. It is important to have chemistry together and of course the quality of dancing can not be ignored. Here it becomes a personal choice. No matter how your chemistries are together, but if quality is at disparity a true dancer will not find too much joy in dancing and will be a little frustrated like most married couples who just learn to accommodate? I think I said enough and better shut up..O' one more thing, it is not always necessary to have a partner. I feel in initial stages, if you dance with different people, it helps to develop lead and follow..Best wishes and happy dancing...Max

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits