Hints for the Man

  • There is a logical reason for a man’s left arm to be extended while he dances. It is held out so as to avoid collisions with other couples as you dance by. But, your arm does not have to extend as rigidly and inflexibly as a bumper—nor does your elbow have to be held at an uncomfortably sharp angle. Simply hold the girl’s hand lightly but firmly, with your left arm in an easy, graceful curve.
  • As you dance, look over the girl’s right shoulder. By holding your partner directly in front of you or a bit to your right, you will have a clear view of what’s ahead. You are the leader—so it is up to you to choose a clear path.
  • Hold your partner firmly enough to guide her. A weak, listless hold will not inspire her confidence in you. Hold your hand at a comfortable height on the middle of her back. There is no cut-and-dried rule for this… although a doctor once did stump me by asking: “Which vertebra shall I hold?”
  • Always start you first step forward with your left foot. Let your toes lead and step directly toward your partner’s right foot. Don’t worry, she’ll be moving hers backward.

Hints for the Girl

  • As you dance, look over your partner’s right shoulder for two reasons:
    1. Your feet naturally point in the same direction as your eyes. By looking ahead, you will stay in correct and comfortable alignment with your partner.
    2. It may seem fascinating at first but it soon becomes an uncomfortable strain when partners gaze hypnotically at each other while dancing. Try it with a girlfriend… you’ll find that she looks owl-like when her face is too close to yours.
  • Always be ready to take your first step backward with your right foot. A man steps forward on his left… give him a chance to get going.
  • Let your toes lead in every step that you take. It will lengthen your step by at least six inches. Besides, stretching out with your toes will make you look ten times better to the stag line.
  • The secret of good balance is to hold your left hand very firmly on the back of your partner’s right shoulder. You will find out more about this under the pointers on the following. Never wrap your left hand and arm around your partner’s neck… it won’t add glamour—it will simply pull you off balance.