Go on, slow down and get intimate…

Some songs just call for intimacy with your partner. You know what I’m talking about: those slow, drippy, emotional songs – sometimes sad, sometimes sexy, sometimes light and dreamy, sometimes down and dirty. Those songs that call for the lights to be dimmed, or the songs that make you want to kick back with a glass of wine (or scotch – your choice), or the songs that make you want some privacy.

Too often, when these songs are played, I see dancers get out onto the floor, do their 4-count starter step, and then rush out into open position and their standard patterns. To me, this is not only antithetical to the music, but also a wasted opportunity to engage with your partner on a more intimate level. I don’t mean getting romantic and invading each others’ space (unless, you know, that’s what both of you want); I just mean taking time to connect with your partner and the music without the usual distractions of patterns and embellishments.

These kinds of songs just cry out for you to slow down and take your time. So what’s the rush to move out of closed position? While the dance is danced mostly in open position – and while some people may not know how to dance comfortably in closed – there’s a lot that can be done in closed. And not only is closed position more intimate, but it has the two partners’ centers closer, where you can feel more of your partner’s movement. And closed position forces you to strip away the fancy patterns and turns and styling and just focus on moving together with your partner to the music. Since I’m guessing you do partner dancing in part to share the experience with a partner, and in part because you like the music, what could be better than taking your time to do both of those together?

So my advice? Listen. And if the song calls for it, stay in closed position a little longer. Explore the possibilities. Take the time to engage with your partner and the music more directly.Go on, slow down and get intimate…

How do you feel about dancing in closed position? Reflecting on your own dancing, how often do you dance in closed? And how conscious are you of slowing down when the music calls for it? Teachers, how do you imbue this side of musicality in your students?


  1. I find dancing in closed sets up your movements for greater synchronicity, as opposed to being on the end of a rope and having more independence, the intimacy of closed means you're in for a bumpy ride unless your bodies can find a happy movement medium. I feel this synchronicity also translates to when/if you do decide to open up. probably the reason starter steps as a minimum are encouraged over starting in open. Just my 2c

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