Some tips on dealing with a reluctant partner

just married

Usually when someone does not want to dance it’s because they a) feel stupid dancing and don’t want to look foolish on their wedding day or b) they are uncomfortable about being the centre of attention with everyone watching them doing something they can’t really do anyway or c) they cannot even see themselves dancing and just hat

A good teacher with a lot of experience with wedding dancing can usually deal with any of the above fairly easily as it is something we encounter frequently. My goal when I have couples in this position come for a lesson is to show the reluctant partner the most simple one or two steps (you only need to be able to walk to do them), and how they can look really nice with minimal fuss and effort and I rarely fail. It is not uncommon that the reluctant partner turns into the enthusiastic partner if the lessons are realistic and structured exactly right for them.

All you can do is discuss it with your partner and try to convince them to have some lessons for your sake. I have found in these cases it is usually wise to also keep your ideas for the dance fairly simple and low key. In the worst case scenario, just convince your partner to have one lesson for your sake and if they don’t like it you won’t press them further.

Sometimes the issue is not necessarily not wanting to dance, but not wanting to have dance lessons even though they may be fully aware that they should have lessons.

The most common reason is that the reluctant partner has been to a wedding where the couple have had lessons and thought that they looked awful (stiff and unnatural is usually the description given). This is unfortunate, because the reason the couple looked awkward was either that they did not have a good teacher or that they did not have enough lessons or practice.

Another common reason is that the partner who does not want lessons believes they can already dance well enough. The argument in this case is quite simple because although they may well be able to dance themselves, a wedding dance is two people dancing together, it’s not about how good one or the other of the partnership is, it’s the combination.

The only thing you can do is ask your partner for the exact reason they don’t want to have lessons and also clearly establish what they want to look like dancing at their own wedding. Then ask them if you can find a teacher who will promise to fulfil exactly what they want, if they would be prepared to at least try a lesson and see what they think of it.

You are not going to convince your partner by debate as you are not an ‘expert authority’ and because dancing is a physical activity, there’s not much that can be solved by talking about it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and a lesson with an experienced professional wedding dance teacher will at absolute minimum will help you come to a shared agreement one way or the other.

I teach a lot of couple in this position and regardless of whether the reluctant partner then agrees to have more lessons or not every couple leaves feeling pleased they did the lessons, happier with each other about the dance subject and certainly enjoy  the experience.

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