What do you do when your dance partner is a foot taller than you? It may seem like a huge obstacle to be overcome, but in fact height differences between dance partners are quite common in most forms of dancing. A height difference of only a few inches is normal in dancing and should present no challenges, but significant height differences can be problematic. Regardless of the type of dancing you and your partner want to do, there are a few tricks you can use to make dancing as smooth and easy as if your height difference didn’t exist.
Wear high heels if the man is the taller dance partner. Wearing heels evens out the height difference, or at least reduces the gap between you and your partner. Select a comfortable, sturdy pair that will last you through your entire dancing session without discomfort, and try to keep heel size to 2 to 4 inches to prevent breakage during an energetic dance.
Adjust stride length to make up for height differences. Shorter dancers typically take smaller steps than taller partners. This is especially important if the lead is taller than the follow. Make sure your lead knows that if he takes large steps, you won’t be able to keep up with him. If you are taller than your lead, adjust your own step size to follow his.
Alter at-rest position if necessary. Most partner dances include a generic at-rest position to fall back on. For at-rest positions that involve simply holding hands, such as in basic swing dancing, adjustment should be minimal or nonexistent. For at-rest positions that involve more connection, such as in tango, shorter girls may need to adjust the position of their arm on their lead’s shoulder to avoid discomfort.
For girls: Only wear high heels while dancing if you are absolutely comfortable in them. Your partner would rather adjust his dancing style to accommodate for a height gap than suffer through an evening of being stepped on by someone who doesn’t know how to dance in high heels.
- “Learn to Dance: A Step-By-Step Guide to Ballroom and Latin Dances”; Colette Redgrave; 2010
- “Modern Dance Movement – For Beginners and Experienced Teachers – How to Learn to Dance and Teach the Modern Quickstep, Slow Foxtrot and Waltz”; William Loiter; 2010