Excerpts from the book:
How to Dance with a Partner
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First learn to dance.
~ Sheldon Weitzen, social dancer
Welcome to Harmony ℠ Dancing.
Congratulations on your willingness to explore your dance experience in this uniquely, original way.
You will learn how to lead and follow every step in every social dance.
And, it is easy. Anyone that can walk can learn how to dance with a partner.
First Learn to Dance
When I was young, my dad asked me if I was going to a dance at my high school. I said, "No, I do not like to dance."
He laughed at me and said, "That is like saying you do not like to play the piano.
You have no idea what it is like to play the piano.
You can say you you do not know how to play the piano, but you cannot say you do not like playing the piano.
The same with dancing.
You have no idea what it is like to dance.
You can say you do not know how to dance, but you cannot say you do not like to dance."
He finished, "First learn to dance, then you can say you do not like it."
For the last few decades I have been learning to dance.
After a fling with disco in college, which I have not gotten over, my first organized dancing was Israeli folk dancing.
The first thing I learned was to enjoy the company, enjoy the music, get some exercise and have fun. Was that four things?
Choreography Is Not the Answer
Next I tried salsa and the antecedents of this book were born.
I made an attempt to document the complex choreography, but the book stalled.
How we grow and change.
I like to think my intuition rightly understood choreography was not the answer.
This book is the antithesis of rote choreography.
Along my way I have found dance teachers to be excellent.
Dance teachers are suprisingly consistent, regardless of the dance they are teaching.
This consistency reflects universal truths about how two people move together to music.
However, this consistency includes being surprisingly vague about communicating with a partner.
Until this book, there was no set of rules defining precisely what signals there are and how to communicate them.
Communication Instead of Choreography
When I found myself taking on a leadership role in both Israeli and swing dancing, I focused on communication rather than choreography.
In organizing the mass of information I had accumulated, a logical method emerged.
I saw that communicating with a dance partner followed a few simple principles, easily learned by anyone, even novice dancers.
I have codified these principles into the method I call Harmony ℠ Dancing.
Dancing happens too fast for conscious thought.
People communicate using subconscious cues.
Every now and then you come across an extraordinary follower that can follow nearly everything you throw at her.
Whether she knows it or not, subconsciously she is using a simple set of rules that allow her to follow every step.
Similarly, the best leaders are using those same subconscious signals.
Harmony ℠ Dancing elucidates these subconscious cues
into an easy to understand language.
The extraordinary effectiveness of Harmony ℠ Dancing
is a testament to the accuracy of the language.
Once you understand the language, you will be able to train yourself to
communicate as effortlessly in dancing as you speak in every day life.
Important Insights Explained
Harmony ℠ Dancing
provides an original, comprehensive explanation of how to dance socially with a partner.
Some of the principles you will learn include:
- Definition of social dancing
- Ten foundational values for social dancing so you have a clear understanding of what is important
- Three laws and three signals that let you communicate every step unambiguously
- Examination of balance so you understand why balance is the most important skill in dancing
- Examination of horizontal movement so you understand how every step can be communicated unambiguously
- Examination of pressure and tension and their negative effect on balance and clear communication
- Explanation of why the man can communicate the woman's choreography
- Explanation of why the woman cannot communicate the man's choreography
- Definition of the man and woman's responsibilities so each person knows what they are to do
- Definition of signals in relation to movement and stillness so you know when to move
- Definition of signals in relation to horizontal and vertical planes so you know what each signal means
- Definition of Woman's Line of Dance so the woman can dance with precision and expand her repertoire
- Definition of only two positions so you know how to connect and break connection
- Precise rules for when the woman follows the man
- Precise rules for when the man waits for the woman
- Precise rules of when the woman stops her motion
- Precise rules for when to maintain, disassociate and break frame
- Precise rules for closing the position and releasing from closed position
- Procedure for how to step for effective communication
- How to communicate rhythm changes
- How to communicate unambiguously blindfolded
- How to communicate unambiguously visually when not physically connected
- How to communicate unambiguously in choreographed dances
- Guidelines for navigating the dance floor to improve safety
- Guidelines for etiquette in the social dance setting to make your group more respectful
How To Use This Book
This is the rule book for how to dance with a partner using
Harmony ℠ Dancing.
Refer back to this book to clarify issues.
The method for dancing with a partner is quite simple,
using only a few laws and signals that anyone can understand.
In the Appendix you can find a one page
The first thing you should do is memorize this Rules Sheet.
Use these simple principles now, even if you do not understand them in detail.
You can also find a complete
of the logical system.
Print this summary so you have this tool for quick reference.
An overview of the method of communicating every step is first presented near the beginning of the book in the chapter
Language of Partner Dancing.
The method is summarized again at the end in the
Although each principle you learn is helpful,
to understand the method in full, you have to make your way through the ABCDs.
Only then will you know how to communicate every step unambiguously.
This book presents the ideas in the order in which they logically build on one another.
Read the chapters in order so you understand why the method works.
Any information that is not essential to your understanding the method of
dancing with a partner is in the Appendix.
- A for Attitude
- establishes the foundational principles.
You learn what you are doing and why.
You learn the definition of social dancing.
You learn what the problem is.
You learn what the two big, bad things are that you can correct.
You learn the three social, three dance and four communication principles that form the foundation of social dancing.
You learn to use these principles to help you apply what you learn in your dance classes.
- B for Balance
- helps you to understand your balance,
the most important skill in dancing.
You learn the Law of Balance and its profound implications for how you dance with a partner.
You learn the reasons why you can communicate unambiguously with a partner.
You learn how to move your body to communicate with your partner.
- C for Connection
- examines how you connect both physically and emotionally with your partner, the music and your community.
You learn the Law of Connection.
You learn how to use the connection to communicate with your partner.
You learn the precise rules for when to maintain, break and disassociate your frame.
You learn the two positions, when to connect, when to break connection, what part of the connection communicates what.
- D for Direction
- covers how to communicate what the woman is do.
You learn the Law of Direction, the deep revelation that allows you to communicate every step in every dance.
You learn the three direction signals.
You learn where the woman is to go.
You learn how the woman knows to stop.
- summarizes the most important elements,
reviewing how the pieces fit together to show
you how to put Harmony ℠ Dancing to work for you.
- contains supporting information.
Harmony ℠ Dancing makes extensive use of basic principles
to help you understand the reasons behind what you are doing.
Pay attention to the principles.
They guide you when you have questions.
You will find principles highlighted throughout the text.
You can find a complete list in the Appendix under
At the end of each chapter is a list of points to remember.
Make sure you understand these before proceeding.
Certain nouns are capitalized when they refer to a technical term
for Harmony ℠ Dancing.
These terms are defined in the Appendix under
The Companion Workbook is essential to your putting Harmony ℠ Dancing into use.
The workbook gives you the practical implementation of
the theory discussed in this book How to Dance with a Partner.
The workbook presents exercises.
If you have sufficient skill, simply reading the exercises as examples should serve their purpose
in helping you to understand the concepts.
Read This Book More than Once
Read How to Dance with a Partner more than once.
Each time you read the book, as your dancing progresses,
you will have new insights.
If you do not understand something, wait.
When you are ready, what you missed will make sense.
Like learning anything new,
do not try to get everything, just try to get anything.
Learning to Dance is Only a Matter of Time
Training your body to dance to music takes time.
For new dancers, if you dance once a week,
you should expect to feel like a beginner for a couple of years.
Enjoy the process.
You only get to be a beginner once.
Remember, everyone who shows up learns to dance, as long as you keep showing up with a good attitude.
By following the principles of how to dance with a partner,
you can be confident that each time you dance you develop good habits and get better.
Seek Enlightenment Everywhere
There are wonderful teachers and social dancers all over the world, with an incredible wealth of knowledge.
You can learn from everyone, even if you do not agree with everything they are doing.
The burden is on you to seek what is right for you when you learn from others.
Different people will speak to you differently at different times in your life.
On your dance journey, seek enlightenment everywhere.
If you want to learn faster, seek out small groups where you get personal attention from the instructor.
The fastest way to improve is with personal feedback.
Group Leaders Need Feedback Too
Support your teachers.
They need feedback too.
Let them know what they can do to make the dance sessions better for you.
Do the Simple Things Well
The steadiest way to improve is to build your foundation one brick at a time.
Work on your fundamentals and you will be well rewarded.
Find Something that is Hard for You to Do
The adding up of small advancements is how you improve your skills.
At some point, you maximize a skill and there is not much room for improvement.
If what you are learning is easy, you are only refining something you already know how to do.
To get to a new level you have to find something that is hard for you to do.
Destroy Your Bad Habits and Reform at a Higher Level
You may be comfortable in your bad habits, but they are holding you back.
After dancing for years, I felt like I could
do anything on the dance floor, until I saw myself on video.
To my embarrassment, I looked like a big block of wood.
"How did that happen?", I wondered.
I felt so fluid.
When the music comes on, you do what you always have done.
You have to intentionally seek out change.
In a sense, you have to destroy your self to reform at a higher level.
Think for Yourself
Learn from everyone.
Think for yourself.
People have a tendency to overestimate what they know, including me.
I have not done a scientific research study.
My evidence is anecdotal.
Still, Harmony ℠ Dancing is astoundingly effective.
Take the ideas of how to dance with a partner on their own merit.
Put them to work for you.
Andy, I find myself using what I learned from you everywhere I can.
~ Jim Rust, folk dance instructor
Points To Remember
- You will learn how to lead and follow every step in every social dance.
- Learn to dance before you say you do not like it.
- Communicating with a dance partner follows a few simple principles, easily learned by anyone, even novice dancers.
- Harmony ℠ Dancing elucidates the subconscious cues dancers use to communicate.
- This is the rule book for Harmony ℠ Dancing.
- Print and memorize the Rules Sheet.
- Do the exercises in the Companion Workbook
to understand the principles of how to dance with a partner.
- Learning to dance is only a matter of time.
- The burden is on you to seek what is right for you when learning from others.
- Seek out small groups to get personal attention.
- Support your instructor.
- Do the simple things well.
- To get to a new level, find something that is hard for you to do.
- Intentionally seek out change.
- Think for yourself.
How to Dance with a Partner
Communicate Every Step in Every Social Dance Unambiguously
The Safest, Easiest, Gentlest and Most Natural Way to Dance with a Partner
The ABCDs of Partner Dancing
Get Better Faster, Have More Fun, Feel More Comfortable, Confident and Popular
By Andrew Weitzen