The short answer is no.
Group Class Structure
When you enter the ‘Baker Ballroom’ here at QuickSteps your teacher will greet you at the door.
Once inside they will introduce themselves to the class and ask that the leaders (normall men) stand on one side of the room and the followers (normally women) on the other. This is so that everyone can have an unobstructed view of what the teacher is demonstrating.
The teacher will then explain how the group works in terms of partner swapping.
Something along the lines of….
If you came to the class tonight to dance with a specific partner please head down to this end of the room that we call ‘Couplesville’. However if you are happy to change partners and try dancing with different people please head down this end of the room which we refer to as the ‘Freestylers’.
Why Do We Do It This Way?
It’s your dancing and you should learn the way you feel most comfortable learning.
We know many couples come to do group dance class lessons as a way of spending quality time together so it would be counterintuitive to force couples to dance with other people.
Do Most Dance Couples Opt For Couplesville or Freestylers?
Well, that generally seems to change depending on their level of ability.
Regardless of whether you are in Beginner 1 or Advanced we never force couples to split up and always give people the same option they had on day 1. However, there is a certain pattern that seems to emerge for most couples, see below:
Beginner 1 (year 1)
Most couples in Beginner 1 stay together in ‘Couplesville’ without changing partners at all for the first 6 months or so. Sometime in the next 6-12 months they get curious and have a try in the ‘freestylers’ end.
Beginner 2- (year 2)
By now most couple have been dancing for a year and are feeling pretty comfortable with the basics of many styles. They’ve been to a few social events and have seen the same familiar faces in their group classes for a year. Many couples at this stage will flow between ‘couplseville’ and ‘freestylers’ depending on what they are learning in the group and how comfortable they feel with it.
Intermediate 1 (Year 3-4)
By intermediate 1 most couples have generally made pretty good friends with the other members in the studio and use their weekly private lessons as couple time. During the groups they happily change partners.
Group classes becomes a social outlet for a lot of couples.
Intermediate 2 (year 4-5)
Most couples by now are coming to social events regularly, have been on some of the QS holidays and are well and truly at home in the QS studio.
When they’re not at work or home, they’re at QuickSteps! True dance-a-holics! By this stage they they even come to classes without their partner if time constraints are working against them. They are as comfortable dancing with their group dance class friends as they are dancing with each other.
Advanced- (year 4-6)
Advanced classes are a lot smaller than the previous levels as they take a lot longer to progress to. Often you will have 5 or 6 members to 1 teacher so you will often be dancing on your own to get new step patterns and techniques right or dancing with the teacher. Once again though, most couples change partners at advanced level groups out of choice.
Why Shouldn’t We Swap Dance Partners?
Nerves: If you are particularly nervous about learning to dance it can be a blessing to not have the added external pressure of dancing with someone you don’t know. Dance with your partner until you feel comfrortable enough with the steps to try it with someone new.
Couple Time: Holding hands, physical touch, teamwork, laughter… it’s all in a dance class! Enjoy it together and watch your relationship grow. Dancing is great for relationships click here if you’d like to learn more.
More Practice: If the two of your are learning for a specific event that’s coming up the more practise you can get together the better! Many of our couples learn to dance before they go on a cruise or other holiday or before a family wedding or birthday.
What Are The Benefits Of Changing Dance Partners?
1. Sharpen Up! When you dance with the same person all the time you can become.. well, a bit lazy. Followers learn the way your partner thinks and strings patterns together. Leaders become used to the way your follower will react to the leads you give. On one hand this is a positive but it can lead to ‘sloppy’, slightly lazy dancing. When you are dancing with someone new you are generally on your best behaviour and naturally the level of effort you put in goes up.
Try a round of dancing in the freetylers section and when you dance together again it can feel like driving a car that has had a service! 🙂
2. Social Intergration: Staying in ‘couplesville’ can be a bit isolating. If other members see you constanly dancing in the groups without changing partners, out of respect, they are not likely to ask you to dance at social events. As this is a big part of how members get to know each other you could find it becoming a little isolating. If you would like to dance with others and get involved in the community, dancing with other people in group classes is the best plae to start.
Never tried a group dance class before?
Check out our timetable and look for the classes on Sundays at 10:30am,
Wednesdays at 7:45pm and Fridays at 7:00pm labelled ‘Come & Try’. These are beginner level classes designed for you to try and see how you go. If you’d like to book in just get in contact with us.