Chris and I have been taking dance lessons.
West Coast Swing, to be exact.
We’re five weeks into the three month beginners class. After five weeks, here is the conclusion I’ve come to: Every couple should take dance lessons.
I never realized this before, but dancing is perfect practice for a relationship. The things you have to learn in order to dance well are, I think, some of the most important things to learn in order to have a successful relationship.
1. There must be a clear leader and a clear follower.
We learned this lesson quickly … two leaders won’t work. In our very first class, I realized that I had no idea how to follow a lead. I’m sure this is something many women today struggle with. How can I expect him to be the leader – in our dance OR our relationship – if I won’t let him lead? Still working on this one …
2. You must be totally in tune with the other person.
West Coast Swing is a series of six or eight-count steps. The sequence of the steps is entirely up to the man, so the woman has constantly be reading his “signals.” If either person is not paying attention to the other one, the dance falls apart. Not unlike a relationship.
3. Both people have to trust their partner completely.
With West Coast Swing, there is a lot of leaning involved. (It’s called extension-compression technique.) Both people have to give equal pressure or one person gets off balance. Trust and confidence in your partner is critical.
4. There must be a strong connection between the two of you.
Chemistry between dance partners is what brings the dance to life. Eye contact, we’ve discovered, is a big part of this connection. West Coast Swing can be a very sexy dance when the connection is there.
I’m sure there are more parallels I could find. But you see my point.
Learning to dance has been like taking our relationship and putting it into a pressure cooker – all the stress causes everything to rise to the top. We’ve both had to let go of major insecurities and give each other a lot of grace.
But we’re learning a lot and I’m totally convinced it’s worth all the work. Besides the fact that we’re working through some deep issues and will have a stronger, more fulfilling relationship because of it, we’ll also be able to bust a move at the next wedding we attend.
Here a video of some of the world’s best West Coast Swing dancers.