Dancing with tall girls

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by motardmom, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. Jadirra

    Jadirra New Member

    Can the follow be a lot taller than the lead?

    Hello all! This is my first posting in this forum, so be kind if this has been asked before, heehee. I actually made this account to ask this one particular question (but I'm glad I found this forum, and I plan on sticking around!!). Here's my situation:

    I'm 5'11". My BF whom I love very much is 5'7". So, I'm half a head taller than him. I love dance, especially Argentine Tango. He's never danced before, and we want to take lessons together so that we can take it at his speed. I would like us to go as far as we can, i.e. performances and the like if we're good enough. But I obsess on the height difference! I never see females, even with their heels, taller than their leads. And I think of me in heels, and that will put me a full head taller than him...but low heels might look even sillier! I really believe that we can compensate and actually be very interesting to watch if I can come across as very elegant and he carries himself as a very strong lead.

    Ohh, and I feel like my only saving grace is my slenderness. Standing side by side, yes I'm a good deal taller, but I'm still "smaller" than him by 30 lbs, so at least I don't look like a beast standing next to him. Would my slender frame help with the visual "package" of us dancing together when I'm so much taller?

    Has anyone seen a dance couple where she's a lot taller, but it really works for them? Or does it always look awkward and silly?

    I plan to dance with him regardless, and I know we'll really enjoy ourselves, but this is something on my mind. Thanks!!
  2. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Welcome to DF.

    If you're planning on dancing with him regardless, then I see no point in worrying about how you look together. Enjoy it!
  3. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I dance with several ladies that are a few inches taller than me and I have never heard any negative comments. Everyone thinks we dance fine together. I know several nicely ranked dance couples where the guy is shorter.

    Remember, the guy's dance shoes have heel height as well. Basically, two different choices. Standard shoes have about a normal dress shoe height and Latin shoes have more height.

    Just have fun is my recommendation.
  4. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Here's a related thread.
    What to do with a tall(er) salsera ?

    I recently attended a competition where a short leader and a taller follower won most of the events. They had fantastic movement and a wonderful connection. I'm sure the two of you will do great! :)

    Welcome to DF!
  5. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    A few inches taller or a few inches shorter has never been a problem for me. Outside of that, I've had to make some adjustments to what I lead just as I do when a follower has a physical issue of some kind. e. g. one lady has partial use of her right hand. I think really good leads can lead anybody though.
  6. Jadirra

    Jadirra New Member

    Geez! A Mod resurrected a Thread from 2004 and buried my post in it? Wow, Really? LOL. I'm happy to have been made aware of that thread, but I really don't know why I had to be moved (and it took me forever to find my post!). Since this topic is coming up again a whole 4 years later, I don't think it's exactly redundant. Oh well!

    Edit: It's still a good thread anyway. I'm enjoying reading it. :)
  7. Rugby

    Rugby Member

    I'm 5' 8 " but in my heels I'm over 5' 11". My DP is taller than I am but I do social dance with many short men too. When I social dance I wear 2" heels instead so I am just over 5' 10 ". I never really thought of myself as tall but I guess its because you see your height from your eye level rather than top of head level.
    I won't dance contact in standard with guys that are too much shorter as I have long legs and they have a tendancy to ride on my leg. I don't like the feeling and I don't want to leave them where only the dogs will be able to hear their voice if you know what I mean. I keep my strides to the length of what the man leads but most of them want to see if they can "move out" with me. If I dance just a tad away from them it makes things easier all around.
    In latin there isn't too much of a problem. I'm careful to duck a bit in underarm turns but since I have long arms I can reach their way to help out.
  8. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I dance with women taller than me socially with some regularity (two in particualr, one pro, one student). Both follow jsut fine, with no issues. I occasionally go up on tiptoe a bit on undeararmt turns, etc, where I have to make room for them, but besides that, no real issues. Heh, only issues with dancing with said pro last weekend was that she was wearing some long necklace and it was a chacha, so every time I led her through a turn/spin, it whipped around and risked hitting one of us. :) So lead her through basics until she tucked it into b louse, an dthen we were fine. definitely don't stop just because of height. Enjoy sharing dance with your bf.
  9. Stagekat

    Stagekat Member

    As a tall girl... (5'10.5" and there's nothing "slight" about me...) I can count on one hand the number of leads I've danced with that are taller than myself... I don't have issue with leads that are shorter. I've learned in some cases to pivot just as fast on bended knee(s). Some of my favorite social leads are significantly shorter... and they can still get me around that dance floor. (I followed a smooth tango once with someone 5'1'' IN heels!... I never knew I could lower myself like that and still remain standing!)

    I actually have a greater issue now following someone taller than me... one of the pro's at my studio is 6'3'' I only dance with him at parties and usually smooth...boy are my arms tired from having to hold my frame so high!

    It's not about the height... it's the skill of the lead... I dance with anyone who asks and have fun with it. :p
  10. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Sorry that I forgot to include you Kat. Have enjoy many ECS's, among other dances, with Stagekat, and I'm NOTICABLY shorter than her. :)
  11. Stagekat

    Stagekat Member

    :p HA! I wasn't even thinking that you forgot about me, but thank you! ECS is definitely our best... I make no promises if you try to dance an honest On2 Mambo with me again though... I can NOT stay on2 (YET)!!!
  12. Stagekat

    Stagekat Member

    ...are you noticeably shorter than me etp?? Huh...funny... I hadn't noticed. :cool:;)
  13. Jadirra

    Jadirra New Member

    thanks everyone for your replies! What I'm hearing is that it's not a big deal for social dancing, and both partners learn to accomodate. I agree and typically expect my dance partners to be shorter than me when going to social dances, and I could care less. I'm 6'2" if I'm wearing 3" heels - in fact it's very novel feeling to dance with a man taller than that, but again, they're not my RL partner, so I don't care one way or the other.

    So I guess my real question is - would the height difference between my boyfriend and I straight up prevent us from succeeding in performances, exhibitions, and competitions? Would we get laughed at? Do you think there are instructors who would work with us on little tips and tricks that visually/psychologically minimize the difference through positioning and movement? I've been looking at Cuban heel shoes, 1.3" heel, and trying to decide if they would look appropriate for Tango and for a person of my height. If he feels comfortable wearing the 2" heel latin style men's shoe, the height difference will be minimized to just over 3 inches. Has anyone seen a couple compete where the female is taller? Thanks!
  14. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    One of best pro rhythm couples in the area the woman is taller than the man. Not by a huge amount, but definitely taller in heels (also bigger frame then him too, it's a rather unusual pairing to my eye). But it certainly doesn't hold them back at all, as they win every local comp (Think Windy City was last one I saw them at). I would look for a tall female pro and a short male pro to work with, at least for occasional coachings, as they're likely to be able to give you best help/tips, as you're asking for.
  15. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    No and yes! There are every possible combination of height, weight, race, inclination and everything else on comp floors. A similar height mismatched couple up here turned it to their advantage when the woman learned to create a major frame shape - they are now winning their division. Worry about your dance technique, musicality and expression - and the rest will take care of itself.
  16. waltzguy

    waltzguy Active Member

    I really don't mean to burst anyone's bubble. I'm sorry if I do.

    I honestly believe that proper height match is a key aspect of presentation in partner dancing. Take International Standard for example. The lady is expected to shape more than the man. That happens well when the lady is a little shorter, while the man remains relatively upright with some (but not much) shaping. If the woman is taller, the dynamics of that would not be as easy, and would perhaps throw off the balance of the couple.

    I would think that other styles are a bit more accomodating to an imbalance of heights, eg. WCS. I could be wrong about this since I'm no expert in WCS.

    If I'm a judge, and I see two couples that are exactly the same in all aspects, but height, then the couple that has the proper height match would win in my eyes. Just my perspective.
  17. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Oh, waltzguy, I definitely agree it makes it hrader (which sucks as a guy who's 5'5"), but doesn't make it impossible.

    Just to throw in something else, and this isn't competition, but class I was in tonight there was just me, and four women. ALL the women (one pro teaching and three students), were taller than me, but things sitll went well, including one compliment ono the lead from one woman who we've had some issues with connection in the past. So it's not easy, but it's not impossible either. Go for it, Jadirra. Besides, even if you're never a top rated couple on dancesportinfo.net, you can still have a heck of a good time.
  18. waltzguy

    waltzguy Active Member

    I like your attitude on it. :cheers:
    I am reminded that I tend to be pessimistic.
  19. WaltzElf

    WaltzElf New Member



    People (including myself and my partner) said she was too short for me when we started dancing. She needs to wear 3 inch heels to dance with me and does not even reach my shoulders without them.

    However, we've made it work and at competitions we win and we've constantly got people (including complete strangers) telling us how well matched we are on the floor.



    Now, I find it very difficult to believe that the reverse can't be true. Yes, it takes some work, yes it will look and feel "off" at first, but I believe a couple could make it work if they felt the need to.
  20. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Yeah, Jadirrah needs to get a new boyfriend.:)
    Really, if all things are equal, then height match could become a factor. But so could a lot of things out of our control. If this is the guy she wants to dance with, then in the wise words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work!"

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