Ballroom Dance > Myth#4: To be a better dancer, you need a partner to practice with.

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by madmaximus, Nov 6, 2007.


You need a practice partner to become a better dancer.

  1. BUSTED. No, you don't need a practice partner to become better.

    7 vote(s)
  2. PLAUSIBLE. Maybe you can practice solo too--and get better.

    16 vote(s)
  3. CONFUSED: I-don't-know-don't-care-just-being-la-de-dah

    1 vote(s)
  4. CONFIRMED: Yes, absolutely. Forget practicing solo. You need a practice partner to become better.

    7 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    It's a given that you need a partner to do ballroom dancing.
    But what about the notion that you need someone to practice with to become better?

    Can practicing alone be sufficient enough to become a better dancer?
    If you think it's a mix, then what percentage of solo practice vs. partnered practice is most effective?

  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    You can work on certain skills to the extent that you fully understand what you are trying to achieve in them (and you partnership will likely benefit from this work) but you can't really improve at ballroom dancing as a whole without constant reference to actually doing it in a partnership situation.

    And realistically speaking, a fair amount of that needs to be in a peer partnership situation. Or at least, if you are only dancing down or only dancing up, you will primarily be building the skills to do that, and neglecting the skills needed to dance in a peer partnership.

    I will add that this is consistently true for standard. There's an impression that latin has a greater initial emphasis on the kinds of things that can be treated as safe solo-drill goals, but I'll leave it to a specialist to confirm or dispute that.
  3. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Some things can always be practiced/learnt solo, but some things cannot be done without a partner...
  4. Me

    Me New Member

    "BUSTED. No, you don't need a practice partner to become better. " Takes my vote.

    I wish I had a daily partner but what am I going to do, sit on the couch and eat potato chips? After I got over myself and started practicing regularly on my own, my dancing improved tremendously.

    You also have to take into account that sometimes another person simply gets in the way. It sounds rude but neither dancer is perfect, and partnership time is time shared improving each others' technique, and partners don't always need to work the same elements. (Though it never hurts to review and... well, sometimes when we think we've mastered something, we quickly learn we haven't when 'reviewing'!)

    Time alone, to work on yourself, is very necessary and underrated in my book.
  5. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    As worded in the poll, this is busted, since you do not need a partner to become a better dancer. As Sag says, there are many skills that do not require a partner for development. Indeed, there are various skills that working with a partner may hamper until one reaches certain thresholds. None of which is to say that there aren't also elements wherein a partner is helpful if not outright necessary. Speaking only for myself, for instance, I just cannot force myself to practice as hard between partnerships, even on those elements that I can develop on my own.
  6. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    you can get better by practicing solo, but there are certain things that are just not doable without a partner, so yes, to a certain degree, you would need a partner to improve.
  7. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Its hard (impossible?) to learn how to follow without a lead. So, while you can improve with solo practice I think its incremental in comparision to dacing with a partner - at least in standard.
  8. White Chacha

    White Chacha Active Member

    I think you must do both solo and partnered practice. It's not clear that's one of the poll choices. A good friend of mine says that the problem with a lot of solo practice is that you can convince yourself you can actually dance. ;-)
  9. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    "You need a partner to practice with to become better at dancing with a partner." -- TRUE

    "You don't need a partner to practice with to become a better dancer." -- TRUE
  10. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    For a follower, there's the opposite risk. If you "only" follow, with a good enough leader you can fake it enough to fool yourself that you really know what you are doing. That's a useful skill for Friday night, but not so good for comp dancing.
  11. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I think both improve both really. I feel I have become a better dancer by practicing with a partner and I think I can be a better partner by practicing alone. Still, to be a better dancer in a partnership nothing beats practicing partner dancing

    Maybe the answer is practice alone, with a parther, in a group, in a line dance, in the elevator, walking in the street, at your desk and when fallling asleep. And yes, you will get better. :)
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    i was just formulating the same thought! i agree. :)
  13. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    a coach i know said that he asked one of his mentors how she became so good, and she reported, "i learned how to dance by myself, and i learned how to balance on one foot".

    both of those you do by yourself... and i know that improving these things improves a dancer because i work on those things, i don't practice with anyone unless i pay my instructor for his time, and i have improved.

    but i know i need a partner to improve in my partnering skills...
  14. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I've been told (by my pro, and others I dance with), that my dancing improved tremendously when I started coming in every day and practicing by myself (prior to that, I was only dancing with partners, but was also only dancing a couple times a week, as could only afford one private a week, and then would come in for any groups or parties at the studio). Personally, I can't see it as much as they do, though I know there are particular things that definitely improved very cleraly from my solo practice, as was mentioned here. Things like Cuban motion, my body positioning (upper and loerw body) on crossover breaks, etc. Also, solo practie, specifically solo practice in one of corners of studio so I had the mirrors to work with, has helped me pick out mistakes I was making. I couldn't always figure out how to fix them while practicing by myself, but that's where taking notes comes in, as I could make note of what I saw, and then ask about it in my next lesson.
  15. DennisBeach

    DennisBeach New Member

    I think having a partner is a plus, but I think you can improve certain things on your own and thus can improve without a practise partner. Even though I dance and practise with my wife, I also practise some things on my own and find that helpful. I find that if I practise new things on my own, our practise together is much more productive.
  16. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    But practicing alone can also be counter-productive. If you did not grasp the instructions perfectly you can make partner dancing worse - which is one reason I think nothing can really replaces practice with a partner.
  17. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    The comment as posited is not as clear as it needs to be. Not all dancing involves more than one person. It should be, "You need a practice partner to become a better partner dancer."
  18. meow

    meow New Member

    My kitten dances Latin. He has a partner and most of the time does partner practice but if she is busy he is always able to work on something on his own. Practicing, or working on your dancing is never a waste of time, whether with a partner or not.
  19. Reyesuela

    Reyesuela New Member



    Ideal to ONLY practice alone?



    I'm fairly unusual in being a strong proponent of social dancing among competitor-level dancers, too, though.
  20. newdancer113

    newdancer113 New Member

    For most of us it's a moot point...if you don't have a partner you don't have the option of practicing with a partner.

    However, it seem to me that things like footwork for the most part can be practiced easily on your own. I don't see how you could practice lead or follow without a partner, though.

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