General Dance Discussion > When does Height make a difference?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Chris Eaton, Apr 16, 2013.


Does a difference in Height make ANY difference

  1. NO never

    0 vote(s)
  2. YES sometimes

  3. Only a VERY large difference

  4. Only if the Follow is Taller than the Lead

  5. Only for certain Dances

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    I have been reading a number of Threads where there has been discussion about what effect the difference in height between Lead and Follow does or does not make any difference.
    One thread discusses partnerships where the Follow is taller than the Lead, and there does seem to have been a large number of very successful combinations such as this, not least Fred and Ginger I believe.
    A few other posts inside of other Threads also seem to indicate that sometimes particular dances require a taller Lead. I believe it was a thread on the Argentine Tango where the post came up.

    But what lead go me starting this Thread is an incident that happened last lesson.
    My Dance Teacher noticed that I already knew some of the basic steps to the dance she was trying to teach the class. I admitted that I had taken lessons before in 2000, for approx 4 months, when I lived in Brunei (Borneo).
    She asked why I had stopped taking lessons and I replied that I found it very difficult because my teacher was much shorter than me. At first my (present) teacher said "It doesn't matter if the man is taller than the woman, in fact it is often an advantage".
    I nodded meekly and then replied, "Yes, ok, but I am 6' 1" and my Borneo teacher was just under 4' 6".
    Stunned, she said "As you are a Beginner, Fair Enough!"

    I felt a bit like I had been "Let off the Hook" from a long lecture on how the Man should be able to dance with any partner if he is a good dancer, but it did make me wonder, "IS there a max difference in height, either way, when it does make dancing difficult?"
    So, I am throwing it out there for your comments and experiences.
  2. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Just to clarify, are you asking about social dancing primarily? And which dances (e.g. waltz, foxtrot, rumba, etc)?

    I think a wide range of height combinations can work fine for social dancing, and it is one of the things dancers need to be able to adjust to if they are going to dance with a variety of partners. Since you are 6'1", most of the ladies will be your height or shorter, so you will have slightly fewer variables to contend with than shorter leaders do. :)
  3. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    Actually, I was throwing the question open to all types of Dancing. But I guess I was probably "thinking" about dances performed in "Close Hold" when I wrote it.
    But if anyone feels that Height is an issue for ANY type of Dance I would be interested in their points of view and their experiences.
    It is reading about other people's experiences that I find one of the most interesting aspects of reading the posts in Dance Forums.
  4. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I agree that both dance context and particular dance matter to this question, mainly because the closer you are to your partner, the more a height difference will influence your dancing. In latin or swing dancing, you'll generally have significant space between you, so adapting to height differences is not so hard. In waltz and other standard ballroom dances, you'll be closer to your partner, and at a high level or a competitive context, you'll have body contact. As the other threads you've been reading have said, it is possible to adjust to a lot of height differences, and as raindance said, being able to adjust is an important skill for social dancing. However, a very large height difference can be difficult, especially in standard.
    Chris Eaton likes this.
  5. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    Especially for a Beginner, I think.
  6. tancos

    tancos Active Member

    One of the dances I do frequently (Transylvanian Hungarian) involves the man and woman connected by a scarf and the woman turns under his arm. This means you have the woman's height, an additional 6-12 inches for her hand above her head, and another 4-6 inches of scarf. If she is much taller than the man it gets really awkward.
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    For social ballroom, I find short guys hard to dance with, especially things like VW (you'd be perfect at 6'1) but generally it doesn't matter. For dances where I'm seriously trying to do it correctly (ie competition) height and proportions both matter.
    chomsky likes this.
  8. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    Glad you mentioned proportions. I'm 5'2" but I can dance with a much taller man if the proportions are right, meaning he has a longer torso and short legs. If he has long legs, it becomes harder for me to follow.
    danceronice likes this.
  9. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    And I'm the opposite--shorter torso and long legs are fine, short legs and long torso and Smooth and Standard in particular become a mess.
  10. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    -a social dancer should learn to handle all extremes (of course).
    -some special dance techniques, f.i. out-of-axis movements, lifts, pivots, require a more appropriate (hight, weight) relation.
    -also aesthetic aspects play a role: In the international BR style frame the abdominal regions are toughing, whereas your upper bodies or your heads usually touch in the argentine style embrace. Very often dancers got several pairs of shoes along in order to get adjusted to varying partners.
    That wasn´t quite fair. In contrary to the case of social dancing you´ve got a right to choose the best hight relation when you pay a single teacher.
  11. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    aww bummer

    im too tall:eek::D 6'3"

    I find the height difference most troublesome in standard but know I just have to flex my knees a little or a lot
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it matters in closed hold, and the larger the differential (either way) the more it matters....not that it has to be horrible...but certainly, when there is a large differential it is not optimal, no matter how good you are
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  13. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I've danced with someone that tall, and while it can be done, I do have to stretch quite a bit!
  14. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    lol or wear a higher heel:cool:
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it's not just the's the wing span
  16. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    Wing Span!
    "You do make I Larf" Fas!
    fascination likes this.
  17. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Yep, there it's not a problem for Standard/closed but I've never had to stretch quite so hard to make things like New Yorkers look good.
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it can be a problem in standard....not un-do-able, but definitely not comfotable
  19. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    i have a massive wingspan give me feathers and i could fly
    samina likes this.
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    as Laura once said. "I dance with a condor" :)...having previously danced with a smaller guy, first few weeks with NP I wasn't sure how I was going to accomodate thhat

Share This Page