Partner Lessons and What Happens Between

If you follow my dance log Instagram, you’ve likely scrolled past some of my dance check-ins posts. If you missed out, fear not. I’ve got another weekly dance reflection post coming at you right now. This week, I had two partner lessons at home, with all the dances in between to share.

Monday Morning Lesson

Since I have been focusing intentions on following dynamics, the focus has been on my two most intimidating styles as a follower: Argentine Tango and West Coast Swing. This week, I wanted to try feeling the follow in those dances that I already know a few steps in. Knowing the steps actually makes it hard to follow sometimes, if I know what it’s supposed to look like. Thus, I wanted to work on some dances that I haven’t touched it for a while, like the rumba. Although I had other intentions, there are some steps I still haven’t learned well enough, and so spent time reviewing those. So many moments of learning and processing on that lesson.

Barre and Chill

I’ve been bringing my homemade barre out of the dance room and it’s been handy. I’ve got a mind that loves to wander, so it helps to combine the possible distractions with the task if I have the option to do so. (The blanket helps me to not get bruises from the barre during longer periods of passive stretching. Legwarmers also work well for this).

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We're kicking it at the barre tonight

A post shared by Nikki Martensen 🐉 (@danceswithnikki) on

House Dancing on a Tuesday

I love playing in different spaces. I had gotten used to dancing in small spaces over the years, and I am grateful to have more to explore and experiment in. You know, I also dig playing in digital spaces. Put them together and what have you got?

Bippidy Batucada Boo.

Thursday Lesson

Thursday took us back into some Argentine tango, and I am starting to figure out where I can measure things like how well my follow connection is going. This is an interesting thing for me as a research specialist, because I am always looking for how to measure things which are conceptually intangible. For example, you can readily see the height of a développé to gauge strength and skill, but lead and follow dynamics change with each partner and style of dance.

These sort of measurements are very subjective. For myself, I can start looking at the time between doubt and resistance to any given lead. Many times when I am dancing with a partner, there are moments where I get surprised by a new move, or I excited about how fun something feels and it distracts me. The experience of dancing is a fun visceral experience, and sometimes that makes it hard for me to focus. If there is a longer space of time in between where I lose focus, that to me, says that I am more connected to my partner, rather than my general enjoyment and aloofness.

I can also find the measure when following a move I’ve never done before. Although I get psyched out sometimes, there have been several moments recently, where I have followed Nick in something I have never learned. Of course, this is also a merit to their leading and communication abilities. It literally takes two to tango.

Reflecting on this week of dance, I can see how I am not only learning more about how to identify and overcome my ingrained habits, but also reaching goals in my body. My goal was to build more strength and range of motion, and while it has been a challenge to maintain my ideally planned consistency, I have made some progress there. I guess that goes to show that with the right space and the right teachers, we can all keep dancing.

Thank you for being here.


Welcome to FREE DANCE DAY! Preparing for Pointe

Hello, and Welcome Back! This week I want to share a great introductory pointe lesson with you. Before you rush into this pointe work, please make sure you are warm. Try these Simple Ballet Starters or Enjoy A Ballet Lesson Buffet for great warmup lessons. All of these lessons are available for you to experience for FREE 
 Continue reading Welcome to FREE DANCE DAY! Preparing for Pointe

If you need a place to keep your dance thoughts, I’ve made my logs and journal pages available for you on my Resources Page.

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