Don’t be afraid of your partner!
For Men: girls want to be launched… they want to step out on the floor with a partner. That’s why they dress up for dances. You may not be a Fred Astaire, but you’re a mighty welcome sight to the girl you choose. She’s willing to go your way… so don’t grip her like a boa constrictor—she wants to stay with you! Use about as firm a grip as you would if you were helping her down a bus step—or across the street. That’s firm enough!
For Ladies: Don’t grip him so hard that he thinks he’s your last chance. There is only one spot for a strong hold… and that is to take a firm grip, with your left hand, on the back of his right shoulder.
Don’t worry, if you’re the leader, about how you will get in step with the music. All good dancers pause, in dance position, at the beginning. They listen to the tempo before they start. There is no law that says you must start with the very first note that the orchestra plays. Listen first. Remember that the distinctive rhythm of each type of music repeats itself every three or four seconds. You’re bound to hear it.
Start off with your left foot on the accented—or heaviest—beat in the music. If you miss the first one, wait for the next. In foxtrot, the first of every three beats is the most definite.
Don’t worry about the onlookers when you step out on the floor. The other dancers are too interested in themselves to pay attention to you and the “kibitzers” are too busy wishing they had partners. If you know your own part, you and your partner will feel well and look well… so, let yourself go straight ahead for fun and good times.