Stop to smell the roses

While I was dancing, I was laughing at the lyrics to the song; and my partner was startled.

“Why are you laughing at me for?”

“Oh – no, I was laughing at the lyrics.  They are pretty funny, don’t your think?”

“You can hear the lyrics?  I hardly notice the music!”


We’ve all heard about the quote  “stop to smell the roses”.  We are all familiar with its meaning, which is, to take time to appreciate a situation or slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you. 

This works well on the dance floor as well.


Sometimes we’re so caught up in the series of moves and steps, trying to do things perfectly, and trying to get your partner to do things perfectly – that we forget to actually relax and enjoy the dance.


Don’t get me wrong.  I totally understand how difficult it is to relax on the dance floor.  And the moment someone commands you to relax, we naturally do the opposite.  It’s difficult to surrender and just go with the flow – especially if we are the leader and are expected to navigate.


The first time I truly relaxed on the dance floor was at an away-dance conference.  There was dancing all day and night.  Workshops in the morning, followed by dancing until 4:00am in the morning.  After all-day/all-night dancing, your body hits this plateau where you are between tired and exhausted.  You don’t really want to stop dancing – but you’re too tired to be worried about how you are doing.  You start to just go with the flow and stuff happens.  You start dancing at a higher level.  You are too tired to think too much ahead, and are simply reacting to the movement of the music.  You realize that things work out, even when didn’t go exactly as you had planned.


But this is feeling is hard to hit and sustain, especially if you are just beginning to dance.


Couple of things that might help:

1)      Remember that dancing is fun.  Sometimes it’s fun to see what happens versus having everything planned out. (One of my favorite leaders complimented me saying that, “I don’t ever have to worry about making a mistake with you, because even when I do you turn it into something pretty cool.  I don’t ever have to worry.”

2)      You have a partner.  Sometimes its fun to just allow your partner does with an ‘allow’.  (An ‘allow’ is a signal that leaders can give to his follower to allow them to improvise and lead for a little while.  If you are interested in learning how to give and recognize this lead/follow switches, please contact ). 

3)      Take advantage of shines and blues.  If you’re having trouble with a dance partner, incorporate shines (letting each other go and doing your own thing for a few phrases of music) and blues (getting into close-positions and just swaying with the music).  Breaking up the dance with either of these two different styles will help reset the mood and eliminate any tension that may have been building up.  If the regular series of moves are note working….breaking it up like this can’t hurt.


To learn more about how to signal each other for play or how to handle difficult situations on the dance floor,  please contact