Excerpts from the book:
How to Dance with a Partner
The most important thing you learn is how to get along with others at social dancing.
I am in the final stages of packing for my move to Atlanta/Stone Mountain. I would have said good bye in person, but we have a pandemic. You have had a tremendous impact on my health and happiness and I will be forever grateful. I met you at a time that I was fearful and in considerable pain from loss. Your dance class let me feel safe with strangers and specifically safe with men. Your teaching is excellent and the atmosphere of welcome and respect for all that you foster is unmatched. With dance in general and Tango in particular, you opened a community and world to me that has greatly enriched my life. You have lead gently and confidently in each dance and in the whole expansion into the world of dance. How lucky your family and Soojin are to have you close during these difficult times.
I am confident that I will see you again someday at some milonga somewhere and I will be glad. I wish you the very best in all things, because that is what you give and that is what you deserve in return.
You learn how to dance gently, without applying force to your partner.
At a West Coast swing dance, one lady said, "You are so easy to dance with. You dance so softly. All the other guys are rough."
Another experienced lady said, "There are only three guys here who know how to lead. You, and", she pointed at two other guys.
Both of whom learned West Coast swing at my classes.
These are the kind of sentiments you will hear where ever you go.
It was a pleasure meeting you on Thursday at Victor and Aksana's milonga in Boca Raton.
I enjoyed dancing with you so much, I only wish I could have danced with you more that night.
You are a very good dancer. Whenever you are in Boca again, please let me know.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I look forward to hearing from you.
You learn the tools to dance with anyone, regardless of their physical limitations.
Andy, would you dance with me.
I was in a car accident.
I do not move well.
You dance so gently.
You are one of the few that I feel safe with.
This comment was posted on a folk dance forum in response to a friendly exchange.
"Wow, it sounds like a whole lot of rules. Is there any punishment for the disobedient? :))".
Actually, there are no "rules" at all, just good physiology and good physics,
as well as politeness, personal responsibility, and common sense.
I have been dancing Israeli and international, contra, swing, and ballroom,
for over 20 years. Andy's classes are the only ones where I do not get hurt--pushed,
pulled, jerked, stepped on, or "thumb wrestled".
He is the only teacher I have ever had who does not teach only moves, patterns,
and choreography, but instead has worked out a few basic principles that apply
to all types of dancing.
No punishment, only pleasure.
One man wrote the following note after attending a dance camp in Wisconsin.
A markida [woman dance leader] from out of town recently told me that it was a pleasure to dance
with me, that I did not break her arm, and that I was very gentle. This
was music to my ears, as I have been working on dancing safely and
comfortably, without any pushing or pulling, ever since I attended one of
your workshops a few years ago.
Within the same week, I learned that two other dancers with whom I dance
frequently were also complimented during a dance camp this past weekend.
They were both women who were complimented on their following skills, and
one of them was complimented by a markid [man dance leader] with whom she danced.
I dance frequently with both of these women, and we work together on skills
that you taught at your workshop in Mount Prospect, IL.
I am very pleased that people are starting to realize the benefits of
dancing safely, and these experiences are a real testament to your teaching and mine.
One woman had written to me that she thought the swing dance class
"was very good--and everyone we spoke with thought the same".
I wrote her back asking what she liked specifically.
This is her reply.
The simplicity of the breaks (movements without a lot of steps),
while feeling/practicing the lead, broke it down in a way that
was extremely useful. We were able to focus on the lead/follow
while not trying to learn a complex dance.
Another thing we found really useful was closing our eyes to get the feel of the lead. You had done that in another of your classes.
A lot of us were dancing with our ordinary partners and that drill is useful so that we do not just watch body language.
Also, ending the evening with Bala was great.
It gave us all some dancing that was fun and a chance to dance with everyone.
It ends the evening on a positive note and shows that dancing really is fun!
Annette and her partner Randy now have their own weekly dance session running English country dancing.
Often they are invited to be guest leaders in other cities.
All the comments here were unsolicited.
Minor editorial changes were made for readability, such as spelling and punctuation corrections.
Irrelevant notes were removed, such as those asking about when a class might be given.
No words were added to the comments.
The attribution after the name was added by the author, so you can see the commentors background.
Author's notes are in square brackets.
You are such a devoted person to build the community (of all dances) :)
I just wanted to say thank you, again, for coming to our 1940s party and making it special with your dancing know-how!
Everyone had a wonderful time, especially the birthday girls.
Thanks so much for the wonderful music and your time and effort.
I love the tango music and I know lots of other people would like the classes.
Again, I thank you for setting up the classes!
It really was an especially enjoyable evening. Many thanks for your hard work and patience.
Another WOW! You are the best and thanks again for the information.
I hope the Tango class can continue in April.
Thanks, Andy, for the encouragement, you are the best.
Your guidelines are sooooooo helpful.
I am saving your comprehensive guidelines for frequent reference and reminder.
Thanks for putting together the West Coast swing classes.
I had some people after class tonight mentioning how much they enjoyed it.
You did a good job.
What a great class! Thanks! It was so nice to meet new people.
I want to thank you for the time and motivation you put into the Israeli dancing.
It is certainly a blessing for many.
Thank you Andrew for what you are doing.
Thank you so much, Andy, for your welcoming nature!
Thank you, Andy,
You are so right. Excellent Advice. I need this reminder. Love,
You are one of the best things that ever happened to the Mosaics [outdoor clubs where I led dancing at their international event].
I love your values and am so envious that you have this going in Florida.
Thanks for the encouragement, though. Keep up the wonderful work you do and come visit us again!
How do you know so many dances?
Thank you for the update Andy.
As is your tireless efforts to find all of us a place to continue dancing.
I hope you will join us this Sunday at waltz brunch.
Do they pay you?
Dancing last night was, in my opinion, wonderful.
I was so energized when I got home, it was almost like being high.
You are very good at leading a group.
You are welcoming, have a good sense of pacing,
you encourage without being too pushy, correct without giving offense.
You are a terrific teacher and it was wonderful reliving my youthful dance experiences. Best regards,
Thanks for the information and for the lovely dances.
Really love working with you and want to continue to get lessons.
I find myself using what I learned from you everywhere I can.
Thank you. And Joseph. You guys taught a great class today.
It was a lot of fun and my students absolutely loved it!
Again thank you for 2 wonderful classes.
I was driving back to Gainesville from Waldo yesterday and saw your sign GainesvilleDance.com,
did a double-U on the road, parked on the side, and took a photo of the sign. Congratulations,
Thanks for promoting dance. You are doing a great job.
Gainesville is a dance city, very much so.
Dear B'nai Israel Board Members:
I want to express to you my feelings about the importance of the Israeli Dance program at B'nai Israel.
That is because Andy Weitzen is willing to single-handedly put in the energy needed to make it happen.
He provides his own music and equipment, he writes a weekly newsletter for local Israeli Dancing, and most importantly,
he consistently dedicates his Monday evening each week to running the program, providing a warm environment
and genuine expertise for everyone who comes.
He patiently teaches and re-teaches us the dances, always able to expand our dance horizons
because he knows so many dances.
It is a great service that Andy provides to our community.
I liked what you wrote about safety, courtesy and comfort!!
See you tonight!
Last night was very fun! And Jim and I are delighted you will continue with two-step in January.
Saturday was fun.
Thanks for playing some ballroom music and for getting me into the swing rueda.
I probably never would have tried it otherwise!
As always thank you and I am holding you to your word. Everyone learns to dance!!!!!!.
Enjoyed waltz immensely, more waltz lessons.
Just wanted to say that I thought you taught an EXCELLENT class in all ways in lindy hop tonight.
I like the way you teach! VERY impressive your knowledge of the dance, and excellent the way you taught
and broke down each part of each step for both lead and follower - such that by the end of tonight's class -
some of the women who I do not think had danced this before were doing surprisingly good.
The last song you played in the swing rueda was fairly fast - and many of the followers were keeping up to the speed.
I like the technique you taught. I had done a cross behind (with my right foot) on 5 - rather than a step straight
(to the right) down the aisle - but your technique seems far simpler - and I found I was able
to "open the door" to get the woman swinging out rapidly without any force on my part at all (Nicely worded by you
- and nicely demonstrated).
After that, it became easy to "rebuild" steps (free spin, inside turn) - and it was "coming back to me".
I do not think I have ever felt as unhurried and relaxed doing swing outs as you had me feeling by the end of the night.
A few suggestions/thoughts:
Thanks for helping after class with Danielle. I had never met her before - and she overall
was really getting the hang of everything -
except the 180 degree turn on 3, which made the dance uncomfortable (because she was facing the wrong way).
Very helpful that you identified her need not to break her right shoulder so that she would
turn on 3 - and also helpful to me to understand how she was already by me on 2 negating any possibility
for me to get her to turn unless I did something else to compensate.
You taught an EXCELLENT class in swing-out, with success at getting virtually
everyone doing the step to reasonably fast music which is no small feat.
You also were great at refreshing what I had forgotten and not used for at least 3 years. THANK YOU!
I wanted to email you and let you know how much I appreciate your support for the dance,
for supporting Annette and Randy and for being someone who is a pleasure to dance with,
no matter what the dance form!
I love being at the GDMA building, it had gone away before I started coming to Gainesville
to dance and I like the atmosphere and the floor in the room we use.
So, this is my way of saying thank you very much for all you are doing to support
dance in the Gainesville area.
I was just curious, how you are teaching all the variety dances [online].
So, I just wanted to check out your site this week, and peeking a little bit of the other dances, like Israeli dance, etc. Just curious.
After looking at you class, I started thinking of going back to the beginner ballroom classes of our community to learn the lead role. (Still, Maybe?)
Since the number of female dancers are more than the male, If I can dance it, I can have some fun by myself with my female friends.
Of course, this (my idea) is going to be after the pandemic lock down ended.
Sometimes, I get tired of the slow progress of Argentine Tango. There are so many expectations of flexibility which is hard for our not-so-young age.
There are many No, No, Nos too.
So, it seems that the easy simple dances like you are teaching, might be a good break for me.
Any way, you have been giving me some inspiration! Thank you!
I am very happy to receive this invitation as it represents the best of collaborative effort for dancing.
Thanks so very much for all you have accomplished and for being a central nerve.
I had a magnificent time last night. Thank you so very much for enabling us ladies to dance with you virtually.
You are an extremely hard worker. Again, many thanks,
We very much enjoyed the swing dance class today.
As always, you are so patient and calm, and make us feel very comfortable.
Thank you so much for your patience at the swing dance. Sharing the info today was very helpful.
May you continue all your activities.
You are a very kind and knowledgeable person.
All the best to you. Sincerely
That was a pretty good turnout Saturday night, thanks to you and Ann for making it work.
Cool, I will see if she will let me in this week.
I like your approach to other teachers.
Thank you for sending me the newsletters.
I really appreciated the list of line dances you have been doing with the links to videos.
It has been a few years for me to restart dancing, and I found most of your dances are new to me.
It is exciting to learn new dances in your class at the senior center.
Happy holiday and Happy New Year,
I went to [another dance class] last night. I will go this month, but please hurry and come back. I like the way you teach it better.
I am finding their method very difficult. I have been spoiled by Andy!
We did salsa last night which was okay, but I stayed for the 2 step advanced lesson and even though you had taught us this particular move, I struggled to follow their method.
They spend a lot of time teaching the follower steps and you have to visualise being led.
I found that difficult. Oh well good practice.
Have a wonderful time and bring back a lifetime of memories!
[another email from her some time later]
As usual a great class.
I like the combination of the 4 different dances as the footwork changes it forces me to rely on my lead and focus on learning to follow.
I will practice bringing my feet together! Cant practice the hand and frame without a partner! Have a great week and I will see you next Monday. I may try to go to waltz on Sunday if I get back in town on Saturday. See ya!
I am thankful that I signed up for your class last fall.
The music and dances are great.
It is fun to meet new people and to develop friendships with people who continue to come because of a common love for the dances.
I found it more difficult than I expected since each song has a different dance.
However your patience and encouragement have been amazing.
In addition to all of this, I have been helped physically more than I dreamed possible.
My doctor approved me taking the class in spite of the diagnosis of degenerative disk disease.
What he does not know yet is the fact that I am no longer taking the prescription strength
Ibuprofen that I had taken four years prior to starting to dance.
Of course, he was prescribing a medication to protect my digestive system.
I have stopped it too.
Since I had tried to stop the Ibuprofen before without success, I know that it was dancing that made the difference.
One night a week and some practice between classes helped improve my posture and motivated me to do other exercises as well.
I am definitely in better health now than I was last September.
Thanks for the part that you played in that change.
I hope that you will continue to teach dance for years to come.
I have so enjoyed the Line Dancing Class and am so disappointed that I am unable to sign up for the March Session. I will miss three of the four sessions in March so it makes no sense for me to sign up. I will also be out of town the first two weeks in April. It has been such fun--I have really enjoyed it and hope tp rejoin some time in the future. Happy Dancing,
Annette and I had a great time, as usual, dancing with you last night.
And I have to say, I really admire your patience!
It can not be easy to stay so calm and collected when some are (rudely) questioning what you are trying to teach. Good job!
I thought your presentation on lead/follow techniques was extremely well thought out and helpful.
It would be a wonderful elective activity at workshops like Chagiga and Machol Miami, etc.
Yep, your methods definitely work! It was fun to feel like I was actually dancing
(vs. just being dragged around the dance floor).
Maybe it takes a little more concentration to follow, but it beats having to learn the whole dance first. Lots more fun your way.
(And hey, if you can teach me, you can teach anyone!)
Do not let me forget - I have another question for you about spinning in the circle
dances - how not to get dizzy?
I went to the last hour of the Bolton Center dance - the spins worked great!
I could tell my partners were much more comfortable.
Definitely worth the time to learn it.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I find your notes very insightful and useful.
I attended the class Thursday evening, and was relieved that you are taking it so slow!
I really appreciated your comments about how long it takes to develop the muscle memory!
My previous attempts to learn to dance with a partner were just an embarrassing failure.
But I have seen folks having so much fun dancing that I wanted to try again when I heard about this class.
So here is hoping!
Thank you so much for making our event even more special.
You really got people up and moving and the "spectators" enjoyed watching!
I had fun myself!
You were great to work with and I hope you will join us for many future events.
Even more important, I want to thank you for your motivating and supportive teaching. You are great!! (Diane is also very thankful!)
Thanks for all your efforts, past and present, to keep dance alive in Gainesville!!
Your site is good!
You are brilliant and tough to keep all dancing despite Covid!
Thank you for your skills.
What an enjoyable night of dancing on Sunday!
A little bit of everything: oldies, newer dances, couples, and learning something new.
All in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
You are so good at managing the group and accommodating everyone who shows up.
Be the Smartest Dancer in Your Group
Communicate Every Step in Every Social Dance Unambiguously
Learn the Only Clearly Defined Method of Leading and Following
Dance the Natural, Gentle, Easy Way
Dance Safely, Free from Injury and Stress
Feel More Comfortable, Confident and Popular
Accelerate Your Progress
Take Your Dancing to a New Level
Harmony℠ Dancing Today
How to Dance with a Partner
The Only Method of Communicating Every Step in Every Social Dance