How Ballroom Dancing Can Help Your Communication

communication and ballroom dancing"

“Communication is, above all, a skill — and very few people know how to communicate effectively, naturally. It takes thoughtfulness and a lot of practice.” – Carl Alasko, PhD

Author of Say This Not That: A Foolproof Guide to Effective Intrapersonal Communication.

In the age of information, we have become desensitized by our iPhones and emails. I think we can all agree that although we communicate constantly, the quality of our interactions has gone down the tubes. All that texting and snap chatting has left real live interaction very difficult and sometimes uncomfortable. Enter …dancing. Dancing incorporates so many levels of communication. Learning to dance not only requires that you learn where to put your feet, but that you learn to communicate effectively. A very wise mentor once told me “It’s not about what you say, it’s about what they hear.” This has been the single most important piece of advice of my adult life. It also rings true as we’re learning how to dance with a partner. Let’s get into a few of the ways Ballroom Dancing requires us to step up our communication skill level.

Verbal: Being able to articulate your needs to your partner is essential for learning to dance. Funny enough this skill is also hugely beneficial to a good marriage or friendship. When you’re dancing together you need to tell your partner if their weight is pulling you off balance, or if you need them to use the other foot. The more you dance, the easier these words will come to you. Expressing yourself verbally is a skill that will never go out of style.

Non-Verbal: Just the styles of dance themselves will help your non-verbal communication skills. Going from a dance like the Tango and the masculine and aggressive styling that’s required to a Rumba where the style is soft and romantic. Each dance has a character that requires a little bit of acting and therefore will increase your ability to communicate those feelings. Ballroom dancing also requires leading and following, where the man’s part is to give the woman cues to move where he’s asking without words. At the same time the woman’s part allows her to follow these cues to accept his lead. All other healthy relationships require leading and following or give and take on some level as well.

Body Language: Body movements, facial expressions, Microexpressions, hand gestures, and posture all make up the silent orchestra that can make a dance (or relationship) great. All body language can show confidence or lack thereof, anger, joy or any other emotions that you are capable of. Dancing helps us to understand our own body language very, very well. Putting out what we mean to, instead of what is interpreted by the other party is essential for good communication.

Posture: There is not a single person that I’ve seen look bad with good posture. Good posture looks good on everybody; it doesn’t go out of style! Ballroom dancing teaches good posture because it’s essential for good balance, and it also happens to make you look taller, more confident and more attractive! Who doesn’t want to look more attractive!?!

Listening: Arguably the most important, and by far the most over looked part of communication, is listening. You need to be able to hear your partner’s concerns and needs as well as be able to communicate your own. If you’re on a lesson you need to be able to listen and do what your coach is asking you to do. Need some help? Here are 10 steps to becoming a better listener. Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Often when people talk to each other, they don’t listen attentively. They are often distracted, half listening, half thinking about something else. Taking group classes is helpful to learn how to actively listen because often it’s one of the only sources of instruction.

Written: Writing!?! And Dancing!?! YES! Taking down notes, writing out your new foot patterns, writing down choreography or drawing maps of what direction each step moves in the room. Finding the words to write down the new spinny doo whop thingy you just learned is not only great for your dance vocabulary but a great record of what you did that day. It’s a learning tool to help remember and review less.

 

If you’ve been thinking of trying Ballroom Dance Lessons but don’t know how to begin. Let our friendly, trained staff answer any questions you might have. Contact us to find out about our current Introductory Specials. Or schedule your first appointment today.