Last night, I finally opened my eyes to what should be natural and common knowledge in partner dancing:
To make eye contact and smile at your partner and have fun are just as important as how well you follow or lead.
You see, because the only dance I have a decent amount of actual training in is salsa, I am never really comfortable enough to make solid eye contact with my partner or even look like I am enjoying myself, because I am too busy counting beats and trying to make sure I am following properly. (It’s nerve-wracking following advanced moves when you only actually know how to follow a few basic steps!) It’s always a mix of fun and “don’t eff up”-thinking. In dances where there is no count, I close my eyes to heighten my sense of connection, and rarely even “see” my lead during much of the dance.
Today I looked up and saw my lead look directly into my eyes and smile at me. I smiled back, and it turned into a genuine smile, as I was able to relax a bit and worry less about screwing up.
It’s the most common knowledge and natural behaviour ever (to smile and make eye contact with your partner while social dancing). Two follows have even addressed this directly and told me how important it is.
But it took that one split second during that one dance for me to “get” it.
The most important connections come when you open your eyes, really pay attention to your partner, and make the dance fun for everyone.