What partnered dance is best?

We make choices. There are only so many hours in a day, only so many pursuits we can pursue, and heights we can scale, and so in a dance context how can we best select a dance form to learn from a bewildering array of choices?


The appeal of Salsa was always that of passion. It brings together sensual music with style and and yet an economy of movement. When performed at its best it is a joy to experience either first hand or from the sidelines amongst the enthralled onlookers. Musically it also attracts some of the worlds finest musicians. Listen to the double bass of Africando, or the accomplished piano of Ruben Gonzalez. Listen, feel and experience the music, and love salsa.


Jive always had ubiquity in its favour. If a live band were playing at the local dive, you could be as sure as rain in Manchester that there would be someone there who could follow you around the dance floor. I am convinced there are more jivers than any other partnered dance form, and the reason for that is that in its simplest form it is easy. I convince my absolute beginners that they will be dancing jive within ten minutes of me starting their first class, and sometimes it only takes seven.

Lindy Hop

Lindy hop always had the clothes. When can you legitimately wear trousers that belt up just below the armpits, and black and white shoes other than on a lindy hop? And the music harks back to that golden age when style was dictated by what the post war had left us and that it seems was not much, but at least Lindy hop survived, and we are all better off for it.


Did I say Salsa was sensual and graceful? I had Tango in mind. Expertly drawn by tango artists wherever you can find them, and they are elusive. This is the supreme union of two souls twinned as one. As with the music that accompanies Tango, these artists suffer for their art.


So how do you choose which dance style to learn? I could rattle on about timing, style, exposure, challenge, but there are only two things I would consider. Opportunity and music taste.

In order to indulge your interest you must have the opportunity. If there is nowhere that teaches your chosen dance form at the required standard, or allows you to practice, then you may be better looking elsewhere (or moving to London). But that is not the only consideration.

Dance, above and beyond all is about fun, and I think there is one essential ingredient to bring that about. You have to love the music you dance to. Whether it is the heart rending lyrics and masterful piano themes of Ruben Blades or the thumping bass of the Editors, chose the music then chose the dance form which most closely complements it. And if you are lucky enough to have a wide range of music tastes, then develop a wide range of dance interests. I wish you luck. If I have any regrets about dance it is that I should have started a decade before.