There is a woman among our dance students who started dancing shortly after her husband’s sudden death. Seeking to assuage her grief, she stepped foot in our studio and has never looked back.
Now, she competes in dance competitions, partnered with her dedicated dance instructor, and has built a community of friends among the dance students who come here, reviving herself since that crushing loss.
This woman cleared the biggest hurdle we see that prevents people from learning to dance, when they really really want to. And that is, they have no apparent partner.
Even people who are happily paired up may want to dance while their spouse or partner does not. No problem, we say, but still they have trouble stepping foot inside the studio without the comfort of a companion.
It’s a funny thing because in most relationships, we cannot find everything we need for a satisfying life. That’s why we have friends, lovers, tennis partners, work colleagues, and more – because one person cannot fulfill all of our dreams and desires.
So, too, with dancing. Given the recent dance craze fueled by Dancing With the Stars and other popular prime time dance shows, people are interested, eager and open to dance – they just don’t realize that they can do it without a partner.
And in fact, shows like DWTS are great examples of showing up without a partner. On TV, the celebrity shows up solo and is paired with a dance instructor – and all is well.
I get requests through Facebook, “Oh I’d love to learn how to dance, but I don’t have a partner.” Frankly, you learn faster when your teacher is your partner because they’re the expert. They know how to lead, and it becomes easy to follow.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to find partners to enjoy dance with, and even if that’s not the person you’re spending your life with, it can be the new community of friends you find in dance class.
Seventy-five percent of our students come to us without a partner. Many are single, widows, widowers or never-marrieds, but many are happily paired and simply have an interest their partner doesn’t share.
You don’t begrudge your spouse his golf time, or her devotion to spinning or yoga, do you? So what’s the difference with dance?
The dance studio is a safe environment to explore the desire to move on the parquet. Forget Richard Gere in Shall We Dance – professional dance instructors don’t lure students away from their marriages. Marriages don’t end because one spouse dances and the other doesn’t.
In fact, research shows that the key to a happy marriage is the independence both spouses feel freely to explore their own interests.
It’s more important to fall in love with yourself and love your life. That’s the most attractive trait you can have.