Ballroom Dance – A Unique Alternative to Couples Therapy

Did you know that some couples choose ballroom dance as an alternative to couples therapy?

We’ve seen dance lessons improve relationships throughout our 15 years of experience in ballroom dance instruction. Here are four key ways ballroom dance can strengthen your relationship:

1. Connection Through Dance

Remember when you and your partner first started dating? Everything was exciting and new! If you’re years or decades into a relationship, routine can begin to take away the passion you initially felt. Learning something new, challenging, and fun together is just what your relationship needs to get the butterflies fluttering again.

Ballroom dancing encourages both partners to be present in the moment and to focus on each other. You and your partner will begin to be less in your heads and more in your bodies. You’ll soon notice the chore list, unfinished work tasks, and stresses of daily life start to fall away. You’re in each other’s arms, synchronizing movements and staring deeply into each other’s eyes, all of which release oxytocin and fosters deep connection.

Ballroom dancing is always fun, but it isn’t always easy! This is good news because taking on a shared challenge reinforces the bond you two share. Ballroom dance gives both of you something to work towards and celebrate mastering when you learn it.

A central aspect to quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity… Togetherness has to do with focused attention.

-Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

2. Communication

Good communication skills are imperative for any healthy relationship and are an important part of couples therapy. Ballroom dance helps partners to develop better verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Since this form of dance relies heavily on both partners being able to work together smoothly and gracefully, you will need to frequently express what is working and what is not when you’re learning a new routine.

This is where active listening starts to become sharpened for the couple. Being engaged with your partner while they are voicing details about their strengths and weaknesses in a particular routine is necessary to perfect the dance. Furthermore, when you have a dance routine down, you’ll automatically start to shift over to non-verbal communication while dancing. One partner will lead, and the other will follow and need to take their non-verbal cues. Reading each other’s body language and eye contact is important for collaboration both on and off the dance floor.

Have you ever met a couple that seems to communicate just by a quick glance? This type of communication is happening the whole time during partner dance! All of these newly refined and sharpened communication skills will follow you and your partner off of the dance floor. You’ll begin to notice that you and your partner work together on other daily challenges with more confidence and ease.

3. Expression of Love

Quality time is a common primary love language. There is a high probability that one or both of you value quality time and need it to feel happy and loved in your relationship. Many couples find it increasingly hard to spend proper quality time together where both partners can be fully present and engaged.

When was the last time you and your partner have given each other your undivided attention while doing something you both enjoy? Chances are it’s been a while. Ballroom dance is the perfect outlet to have scheduled quality time every week. In fact, ballroom dance is a great way to express any of the love languages.

During your dance session, you’ll need to be close and in each other arms, allowing for plenty of physical touch! You’ll also have ample opportunity to praise each other on a job well done to express words of affirmation. Each person receives and expresses love in various ways, and we promise that ballroom dance will provide you and your partner with plenty of opportunities to show each other your love and commitment.

4. Empathy & Patience

Having the ability to identify your partner’s needs with care and compassion is essential both on and off the dance floor. Just like with any other new hobby, people learn ballroom dance at different rates. What you seemed to pick up effortlessly about dance your partner may struggle with. This is the perfect place to practice your patience and understanding. Switching dance roles can also help with this.

When the partner who usually leads is told to follow, they quickly realize that their partner’s job is not as easy as it seems, and vice versa. Practicing walking in your partner’s shoes and being aware of the challenges they face enables couples to learn to better help each other. This teamwork may be learned on the dance floor, but it doesn’t stay there. You’ll begin to notice the role that your partner plays in the dance of life and have a lot more appreciation for it.

SPECIAL FEATURE! See what our couples have to say about their experience dancing both online and in-studio:

See our most commonly asked questions about couples dance lessons in our Frequently Asked Questions >