Ballroom Dance > Ideal Height Difference in Standard

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by 10Dancer, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. 10Dancer

    10Dancer New Member

    I've heard so many different opinions on this. What is the ideal height difference between Standard partners? Some say 2 inches, some say 6, without shoes. I know that there are competitive couples with both small and large differnces in height but I'm trying to figure out what is ideal.
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think 2 to 6 inches about brackets the range that works well. 4, or perhaps 3 may be ideal.
  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth New Member

    Its not just a matter of absolute height. Leg length is important. I find it less than comfortable to dance with a number of men who are taller than me in absolute terms because their legs are shorter than mine.

    Ideally I like a partner who's hip is level with mine when I'm in heels. This usually transtlates to a guy who's four or more inches taller than me. Outside of the ideal range, taller men are more comforatble in general than shorter men.

    Dancing with men who are shorter than me can be a dangerous proposition for the guy in question. :oops:
  4. 10Dancer

    10Dancer New Member

    Thanks for the replies. I hadn't really thought of it in terms of leg length but that makes complete sense. Now if only I were a few inches taller finding a partner might not be such a challenge...
  5. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I find it not perfectly comfortable to dance with someone who is only 2 inches taller. It might be because I'm short, so I'm very used to larger height difference. I mean, it works with short guys, but it just feels too light.
  6. robin

    robin New Member

    I think it just depends on the individuals. Look at the world champions: Chris and Hazel are virtually the same height in shoes, she might actually be fractionally taller than him. The number 2 (Tim & Jo) have quite a substantial height difference...

    I've certainly seen everything from a foot difference to a slightly taller woman working well...
  7. marykomatsu

    marykomatsu New Member

    Don't give up 10dancer! Kiyoshi (my partner and husband) is just a fraction taller than I w/o shoes and I am taller with shoes. It can be done, with determination. Our leg length is identical, a positive trait referenced by another poster, and this does seem to make things more comfortable.

    My coach tells me that Massimo and Alessia are just about the exact same height, like Chris and Hazel. I am told, though it is beyond my own knowledge, that Chris uses Hazel's size to his advantage as she is the grounded force in the partnership allowing him to use his energy very, very strongly. And then there are the Irvines, where she was taller than he.

    Many combos are possible so don't limit yourself to a finite number of inches. Good luck!
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I have no choice. I'm short and so the majority of people I dance with are tall, taller and taller then me...and heavy, heavier and even heavier than me. Dancing with those with smaller height differences does make it easier for the more challenged dancers like myself. :oops: I never thought about leg length...something to ponder about. Instead of leg length I would think foot stride. How comfortable the follow is adjusting to someone who just cannot take as large steps as her, and so on and so forth. I guess if you were forced to take smaler strides then you wish it to match your partner the dance might not be as enjoyable....
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Leg length match does help. I have very long legs, proportinally, and have been able to dance comfortably with some REALLY TALL guys, even though I'm fairly short.
  10. tuxedosam

    tuxedosam New Member

    Ideal height difference in Standard?

    My standard partner seems to be huntching a lot. He thinks it is due to our height difference. He is 6'3 and with shoes, on I am about 5'8.5. Is he too tall for me? Will it be safe for me to get 3' tall heeled court shoes? With the heel tip on, it may bring me to 3 1/4 inch taller. Will that be useful? What's the ideal partner height for me? 5'11/6'? Thanks.
  11. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I'm 5'4" and used to compete with a guy who is 6'1". I've partnered with with two different guys who are 6'2". None of these guys hunched down to reach me, and with the current 6'2" I'm only wearing 2" heels because my bad ankle can't take anything higher.

    So your partner might need to learn more about improving his posture and adjusting his frame to meet you. And you might need to learn more about stacking your posture for maximum height, and also maintaining a stretch upward through your spine.
  12. fluffy

    fluffy New Member

    It's not a small height difference but be no means insurmountable: Howson & Bolton have a larger height difference, as do Marat & ALina, Russians who regularly make amateur finals. There is also a good Italian couple in the semis with a big height difference. I attended a lecture by Howson & Bolton where the addressed their height difference: the guy needs to dance his height but perhaps adjust his hold from the elbow downwards, and not rise too high. The girl may need to adjust her hold keeping the shoulder down and not lower too much (or the guy will get stuck!)

    I've danced with someone 6'3": I'm 5'6" wos, and that was fine. My current partner is 5'10" and feels a little short at times. I was told about a 4" difference in shoes is about right, although obviously there is leeway either side.
  13. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Also, a lot depends on body proportion, and just plain whether or not you fit well together. A tall man with proportionally short legs could probably dance with a much shorter girl.
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    You can fix the height difference in the hold to a degree by being willing to "slip" further down his arms before finding your place - don't put your hand too high up his right arm, and especially don't let it get to the outside.

    There will still likely be a difference in leg length, and that is what really matters (though being able to see over his shoulder is usefull too). For the leg length difference, higher heels might give him a little more space for lowering, but are likely to reduce your travel at least at first, and he may notice that difference more.

    It will be important to really perfect the leg vs. weight timing technique of inline movements, and to learn the precise directions for those steps that aren't quite forward and inline, but go just enough to the side to not be blocked by the partner.
  15. flexi

    flexi Member

    Seems best if the girls hip divits are about the same level as the man's when she wearing her shoes.. making her leg lenght about the same as the man's..

    the height can be very different for people with long or short torsos compared to long or short legs...
  16. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I am 5'4" and both my teacher and my husband are 6'2". Moreover, my teacher's partner (with whom my husband takes his private lessons) is also 5'4". It seems to work out fine, although my husband does have a tendency to lean forward.
  17. skipper

    skipper New Member

    I always think the "center" match is the best. Yet adjusting dance position can make it work with anyone.
    Just talk to your favorite coach and ask. My teacher had me in one kind of position with someone smaller/slighter than the person I dance with now.
  18. dancepro

    dancepro Member

    I don't think that the most important thing is the hight difference. In all my years of coaching, I have ever only seen one couple were it was impossible for them to dance together because of the height difference. There has been great partnership where the lady has been taller then the man (Bill & Bobbie Irvine and Richard & Janet Gleave) Then other partnerships where the man was quit a bit taller then the lady (Peter Eggleton & Brenda, Michael and Vicky Barr) and of cause partnership where they were about the same height. The basic standing position (neutral position) has to be different depending on the height difference. You can work with even very big extremes but it takes work. My partner and I had a height difference of 7.5 inches and we dealt with that difference quit well. There are trick you can do to make yourself look bigger or smaller depending on what you need to make the partnership look harmonious. So don't give up before you have worked on the standing position (neutral position) with your teacher and/or coach.
    So what is the ideal? I don't want to say that there is an ideal. There has been many couples that have won big competitions with height differences disregarding what people thought the ideal would be. To me the important thing is to make it work disregarding what people might think is an ideal. I would say to become a top dancer it is more about being unique looking in a pleasing and harmonious manner. Sorry, that might not be the answer you were looking for.

  19. QPO

    QPO New Member

    I like the look of a couple where there is not too much difference, but I have danced with both taller and shorter people and I don't have a problem with either. You just need to be centered and matched in energy. I think it would always look good regardless of height
  20. Two cents from a non-expert:

    I like the previous comment about matching leg length. I'm moderately tall (not a giant, about 6'1") and I like to take a good long stride in waltz and foxtrot. Not many women can match my stride. I don't mind backing off a bit but it's a joy to get a long legged partner and cut loose.

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