… and by dancing I mean anything involving dancing, which could include (but is not limited to): breaking it down in the clerb, dancing at a bar, dancing ON a bar at a dive, going to see a dance performance, taking a dance class, or (my favorite from personal experience) dancing in the park for money.
Dance is a wonderful form of artistic expression, but there’s a lot more that you can learn about a person on such a date than what your chances are of flooring the competition on Dancing with the Stars. I have “fallen in love” in love with two dance partners in my past, dated a (different) dance partner for 5 years, and am now currently dating a dancer in what appears to be the most serious relationship since my last serious relationship, so seeing the signs early on has become a honed skill. Dancing = boyfriend material… or something. Makeouts at the very least.
Even if you’re not looking for something serious, I find this to be a first date essential if only to learn the following things:
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Dance skills = Bedroom skills
I’ve gone ahead and listed the most obvious one first. Everyone knows that dance skills are correlated to bedroom skills. As Shakira says, hips don’t lie, and if he can move those hips beautifully while clothed and standing up, I would like you to imagine the possibilities of your future… “interactions.” I’m not saying that people can’t be good in the bedroom outside of dancing- of course there are other factors that can make non-dancers great in bed. That being said, if your date looks like he’s a struggling robot when tunes start playing, there’s definitely a chance that a struggling robot you will get in the bedroom.
You can learn what kind of music the person is into!
So he thinks he can dance… and maybe he can, but what he is dancing to is just as important as how he dances to it. Everyones taste is different so I’m not knocking any genres of music here. I for one answer the question of “what kind of music do you like?” with “anything i can dance to.” I’m just saying, if you can’t vibe to the same tunes, then groove is probably not in the heart.
Actions speak louder than words
Aside from maybe a quick stop at the bar for much needed refreshments, or a lull in the DJ set, there will really be minimal talking involved. I personally hate those first dates where you sit and play question ping pong, feeling like you’re basically sitting through an interview (where if you don’t have any insightful questions for the interviewer back, then you don’t get the job). Dancing is about feeling… like a reactionary back and forth where you instinctually move along with another person (sort of like improv). If you can [communicate] with a person without having to say a word, I’m pretty sure that cuts out half the causes of relationship squabbles. Dance, is of course, a universal language.
Lessons Learned- Dance Classes
Two words: Dirty Dancing.
… I was going to leave it at that, because Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey with an epic lift says everything. However, there are things you can learn when taking a class with someone — like how well they take direction. If they can’t handle being told how to do something by a professional, good luck getting them to listen to you. Giving up so quickly? Why would you date a quitter. Over achieving, ‘try their best even if they’ve never done it before,’ ‘omg I’m up for anything’ attitude? You’ve got a keeper. Bonus points if your instructor is overly critical of your dance skills and your date yells “NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER!” in your defense.
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Being able to #expressyourself
As I previously mentioned, dancing is a form of artistic expression, and how your date decides to #expressthemselves (diplo pun intended) is very telling of their personality. I once went to a show and witnessed someone and their date lay on a bar stool and “swim” to the music. These two ended up dating for two fun filled months. If they’re keeping it to the side step that Hitch teaches that dude in Hitch, then they’re probably boring or inhibited. Choreographed routines could mean a staunch planner. Whether that’s a good thing or not, is totally your call.
Testing their cultural appreciation… and emotions
Taking a person to see a dance performance involves no movement, but is a reflection of that person’s appreciation of the art. That and you’re basically testing them by making them sit through something quite possibly boring to them for at least an hour. If they love it, great! If they shed a tear or two from being so moved, I would think about what this means in terms of emotional sensitivity in the relationship. If they aren’t into it, but they did it anyway because it would make you happy (and didn’t bitch about it), you are a very lucky person. If they did bitch about it, think about whether you’re ready to be in a relationship where you will probably be uttering the words “shut the f-ck up” a lot.
Confidence is key
Even if they can’t dance, you’re testing that person in an awkward situation. It’s like learning how that person would react if you were to both get stranded in the middle of nowhere with nothing and have to figure out a way to survive. In this case it’s being stranded in a room with music and people, and… well, figuring out a way to survive. Putting yourself out there with your moves can be jarring. I once told an ex-boyfriend who was afraid to dance that ‘It didn’t matter! No one was judging you!’ I lied. People are judging you. What it’s really all about is how you deal with that judgement. If you dance confidently like there’s no one watching, then who cares what other people think? If you’re constantly worried about whether you look a fool, or even worse- don’t try at all out of sheer terror, then you’re not going to successfully make it out alive.
Dance skills are subjective. Some people might swoon at even the slightest shoulder movement a guy can make, some require a level of technical ability from their partner just short of Baryshnikov or Justin Timberlake. If none of this makes sense to you and you and your date both hate dancing, then you guys deserve each other. I’m just sayin, live a little… just dance.
[For an added bonus, and stroke of inspiration from thinking about dance music and dance movies, I’ve created a spotify playlist of some of the best dance movie hits, songs involving dancing, and songs i just generally feel like if you hear them and don’t start moving, then you are dead inside.]
Bianca is a co-founder of Small Girls PR and lover of cotton candy, whiskey, dancing, rocking out, and boys (not necessarily in that order). Dating is her favorite. Catch up on her previous HowAboutWe posts here.