I have pioneered a completely new concept - a paid dance partner - now no-one ever has to miss out on dancing at classes and socials. Find out how you can enjoy this too.....
Ever since Strictly Come Dancing hit the screens in 2004, Ballroom and Latin has enjoyed a massive revival. Each season it becomes a topic of interest and conversation and people all round the country dream about taking to the dance floor. We imagine ourselves dancing to all kinds of music both from the past decades right up to the current popular songs.
Then we promise ourselves that this year we will start classes. Then reality brings us down to earth with a crash. The whole point of this kind of dancing is that it requires a partnership of a man with a women. A lucky few will be able to persuade their other halves to come with them but in the main, we hope that when we turn up at the dance classes there will be equal numbers. Sadly this is rarely the case as the majority of people who join classes are women.
I found myself in this predicament in 2005 and by 2006 having eagerly tried at least four schools in Central London, I was very disappointed. The ratio of men to women was about 2:12 and those who did come along struggled to keep up with the quite complex leader steps. Aside from my own frustration, I did sympathise with these guys who found themselves surrounded by women that they did not know, all waiting in line to dance with them before they had understood and mastered the steps.
Then I had a “Lightbulb Moment”. Why not assemble a team of experienced dancers and pay them to be official partners? At the time most people I spoke to from the dance world thought I was crazy and that it would be difficult to find such individuals. But thanks to a small number who did see the point and had useful connections I was able to get started. That was way back in 2006 and here we are in 2013 with a successful track record and a loyal membership who have found a way to really enjoy learning to dance.
Our team of dance partners consists of guys and girls who have generally been learning to dance from a very early age although some take up dancing at University where competitive dancing is very popular. They spend years perfecting their skills but when they go out to work (many coming from different countries around the world) the source of dance venues and opportunities to dance dries up. They are left with fantastic ability, a desire to dance and nowhere to go.
These guys are delighted to come in and help my clients to learn and – apart from the fact that they can earn money from their hobby – they derive great pleasure in sharing their knowledge especially from people who are eager to learn and improve. It is truly a win/win situation.
The guys in my team are quite comfortable with the concept and clients quickly find that this is the best way to embark on a fantastic journey of learning with experienced professionals who under normal circumstances they would never have the chance to dance with. It levels the playing field. The interesting thing is that it is a completely equal environment where everyone benefits. Clients quickly become friends with the dance partners even though in many cases there is a considerable age difference. It doesn’t matter – we are all there to share our passion of dancing!!
As the owner of Simply Dancing Partners, I have had the benefit and pleasure of dancing with some fantastic guys and my own knowledge and standard of dancing has improved immeasurably. I can honestly say that this is the best thing I have ever done. It has become my business as well as my hobby and provides much of my social life.
It is not a cheap solution because unlike traditional dance schools, we have to factor in the cost of partners but the benefits of dancing with guys who are like assistant teachers make it worthwhile. It becomes a way of life for most of my clients who return year after year.
When we go out to a social dance we are able to hire partners from the team to go with us – this means that none of us are left sitting on the edge of the dance floor watching everyone else dance and feeling left out. Yes, this does make the events considerably more expensive but, what is the point of getting excited and dressed up for the occasion and then not being able to dance or worse still having to accept invitations from really bad dancers.
My response to anyone considering whether paying for a dance partner is the right thing to do is to ask them to imagine that they are a man going on a date. It is still very common for the man to pick up the bill for both parties. What is the difference?
I would love to hear your thoughts about this and tell you that in September I will be starting a new term of fifteen weeks. This time we will include Ballroom and Latin, Argentine Tango and Salsa – all with professional partners although couples are welcome to join us. There will be classes ranging from Beginner level to Advanced throughout the week.
Please point your friends to this Blog see if we can get a conversation started and make some new friends. Tell me about your own experiences and don’t hesitate to make suggestions and recommendations of your own.
Take a look at my website www.simplydancingpartners.co.uk or give me a call 020 3648 0377. You are very welcome to come and try a paid taster session when we start again in September.
Simply Dancing Partners Ltd Registered Office: Palladium House, 1-4 Argyll Street, London W1F 7LD. Registered in England.
Company Registration Number: 05716025