Partner dance: Wikis


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Partner dance

Partner dances are dances whose basic choreography involves coordinated dancing of two partners, as opposed to individuals dancing alone or individually in a non-coordinated manner, and as opposed to groups of people dancing simultaneously in a coordinated manner.

In the year 1023 the German poet Ruodlieb referred to a couple dance with a basic motif of a boy wooing a girl, and the girl repulsing his advances. Men and women dancing as couples, both holding one hand of their partner, and "embracing" each other, can be seen in illustrations from 15th century Germany.[1]

At the end of the 13th century, and during the 14th century, nobles and wealthy patricians danced as couple in procession in a slow dignified manner in a circle. Farmers and lower classes of society danced turning in a lively, springing fashion. The relatively new burgher middle class combined the dances with the processional as a "fore dance", and the turning as an "after dance".[2]

Danse de Paysans' (Peasant's Dance) by Théodore de Bry (1528-1598) shows a couple with a man lifting his partner off the ground, and the man pulling the woman towards him while holding her closely with both arms. His Danse de Seigneurs et Dames (Dance of the Lords and Ladies) featurs one Lord with his arms around the waist of his Lady.[3]

Syncopated and "dotted" rhythms gained widespread popularity for dancing in the last two centuries, although usually less complex and more regular than previous music.[4]

An old couple dance which can be found all over Northern Europe is known as "Manchester" or "Lott is Dead". In Bavaria words to the music include "One, two, three and one is four, Dianderl lifts up her skirt And shows me her knees", and in Bavaria one verse invites the girl to leave her bedroom window open to allow a visit from her partner.[5]

Dance partners stay together for the duration of the dance and, most often, dance independently of other couples dancing at the same time, if any.

Although this kind of dancing can be seen, for instance, in ballet, this term is usually applied to various forms of social dance, ballroom dance, folk dance, and similar forms.

Partner dance may be a basis of a formation dance, a round dance, a square dance or a sequence dance. These are kinds of group dance where the dancers form couples and dance either the same pre-choreographed or called routines or routines within a common choreography— routines that control both how each couple dances together and how each couple moves in accord with other couples. In square dance one will often change partners during the course of a dance, in which case one distinguishes between the "original partner" and a "situational partner".

In many partner dances, one, typically a man, is the leader; the other, typically a woman, is the follower. As a rule, they maintain connection with each other. In some dances the connection is loose and called dance handhold. In other dances the connection involves body contact. In the latter case the connection imposes significant restrictions on relative body positions during the dance and hence it is often called dance frame. It is also said that each partner has his own dance frame. Although the handhold connection poses almost no restriction on body positions, it is quite helpful that the partners are aware of their dance frames, since this is instrumental in leading and following.

In promenade-style partner dancing there is no leader or follower, and the couple dance side-by-side maintaining a connection with each other through a promenade handhold. The man dances traditionally to the left of the woman.

Some peoples have folk partner dances, where partners do not have any body contact at all, but there is still a kind of "call-response" interaction.

A popular form of partner dancing is slow dance.

Gaskell Ball


Partner dances with partners of the same sex

In most western society, same-sex social partner dancing is generally uncommon in most social dance circumstances. It is more commonly acceptable for two women to dance together than it is for two men to do so (although not in a romantic or overly friendly manner).

However dances between two men are not uncommon on some wilder parties, whereby the dance is often used for measuring physical abilities especially the resistance of feeling of giddiness in a funny way.

Gays and lesbians, and others in the LGBT community who interest themselves in social partner dancing have formed social partner dance clubs and organizations, especially in larger cities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

There are some partner dances where same sex dancing couples are generally accepted, especially when there are not sufficient partners of the opposite sex available. Many dancers may still be uncomfortable dancing with a partner of the same sex. The sexual orientation of the partners is irrelevant. For example at Modern Jive and West Coast Swing events, ladies will regularly partner each other. Men dancing with each other is also common, though less frequent, but is not just done for the "comedy value" as men may equally enjoy the role of follower.

Typically, in ballroom competitions, same-sex partnerships are allowed up to the silver level (the third level in competition, after newcomer and bronze). However, these are comparatively rare.

Double partner dance

This kind of dance involves dancing of three persons together: one man with two women or one woman with two men. In social dancing, double partnering is of choice when a significant demographic disproportion happens between the two sexes. For example, this happens during wars: in the army there is lack of women, while among civilians able dancers are mostly women, especially during enormous wars such as WWII.

Since 1980s, double partner dance is often performed in Ceroc, Hustle, Salsa and Swing dance communities, experienced leaders leading two followers.

There are a number of folk dances that feature this setup. Among these are the Russian Troika and the Polish Trojak folk dances, where a man dances with two or more women. A Cajun dance with the name Troika is also known.


  1. ^ Folk Dance of Europe. Nigel Allenby Jaffé. 1990. Folk Dance Enterprises. pages 148, 149. ISBN 0-946247-14-5
  2. ^ Folk Dance of Europe. Nigel Allenby Jaffé. 1990. Folk Dance Enterprises. pages 155, 156. ISBN 0-946247-14-5
  3. ^ Folk Dance of Europe. Nigel Allenby Jaffé. 1990. Folk Dance Enterprises. page 150. ISBN 0-946247-14-5
  4. ^ Folk Dance of Europe. Nigel Allenby Jaffé. 1990. Folk Dance Enterprises. page 166. ISBN 0-946247-14-5
  5. ^ Folk Dance of Europe. Nigel Allenby Jaffé. 1990. Folk Dance Enterprises. page 163, 164. ISBN 0-946247-14-5

See also

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