The Dance Love Languages:
Most of us have heard about the five ‘love languages’, when applied to our interpersonal relationships. Some people prefer loving words, while others prefer giving and receiving gifts. Some like actions that show love, and others like physical touch. Some just like the person they care about to be present and engaged.
This got me thinking: maybe there’s ‘love languages’ in dance. Maybe part of what makes us connect with certain partners comes down to what connects best with us.
Just like the original love languages, all the dance love languages are based on the idea of connection. But, the difference lies in what kind of connection is used, and the dominant characteristic a person seeks from connection.
Of course, no dancer is ‘confined’ to one love language – or prefers it all the time. Sometimes, it can depend on the partner or the music. But, for most dancers, there are one or two that speak to them more strongly than the others.
What they crave: Exhilaration
Their least favourite partners: People who don’t really dance full-out
The dancers who connect with the love language of Energy look to be invigorated by their dances. This doesn’t mean complexity, but it does mean that they want to leave the dance with that energized feeling of really having fully danced.
These are the dancers who connect best when their partner is going all-out in their execution. They don’t mind sweat; it makes them feel like they really did something. They don’t mind that feeling of being out of breath. In fact, their perfect dance may leave them feeling just a little drained at the end of a particularly great song.
What they crave: Fun!
Their least favourite partners: People who don’t smile
The dancers who prize Playfulness want to just have fun. They don’t care as much about the sensuality or challenge, but they do want a partner who engages them in play. Whether it’s quirky patterns of movement with a twist or a particularly fun interpretation of a lyric, they want a partner who will come into the sandbox of creation with them.
They love the sense of teamwork that comes from experimentation or creation. Their perfect dance is one where partners are OK at laughing at a weird moment or misstep, and where the ‘perfection’ of the dance takes a backseat to the exploration of fun.
What they crave: Perfect synchronicity
Their least favourite partners: People who put movements or experiments over perfect connection.
Deep Connection dancers want to shut out the world, and be one with their partner. What they see means little to them. What they feel means everything. They would rather go slow and simple and preserve ‘perfect connection’, than go fast or complex and momentarily lose the magic.
To them, the ‘perfect dance’ is one where not a moment is out of sync with their partner’s body. They may like expression, playfulness, challenge, or energy – but all those pale in comparison to the perfect feeling of synchronicity.
What they crave: Being pushed
Their least favourite partners: People who don’t try new things for fear of failure.
The dancers who want to be constantly pushed towards greater things are the Challenge dancers. They often love tricks, dips, and challenging movements. Leads may enjoy seeing if they can ‘get the most’ out of their partners, while the follows may enjoy leads that ‘push the envelope’ with things they’ve never seen before.
Of course, these dancers still love connected dances and dislike dangerous partners. But, for them, a dance that doesn’t keep them on their toes leaves them wanting more. They want to see how many one-footed turns they can hold – and don’t mind trying several times in one song. Their perfect dance makes them feel like they have accomplished more than they thought they could.
What they crave: Perfect expression of the musical feeling
Their least favourite partners: People who dance the same way, regardless of music.
Expression-based dancers just want to feel. They want emotion, texture, and contrast. They want a partner who captures the most out of each song. Their perfect dance is one that captures the spirit of the song and atmosphere perfectly.
These dancers can deal with only doing simple patterns or little connection missteps – as long as the expression of the music is there. They’d rather do the same four patterns in perfect synchronicity to the music than do 100 patterns that make no sense with the song. They love partners that can ‘switch up’ their dance style when the music changes.
What they crave: New, creative ways of dancing
Their least favourite partners: People who only do the moves they learned in class
Dancers who communicate through Creativity want to always do something new – or in a new way. They want to ‘break the rules’ and engage in co-operative creation. Regular or common movements are Ok in small doses, but they don’t satisfy the appetite of these people.
Their perfect partner is the person who approaches each dance as a blank canvas. They love when their partner adds something unexpected, or explores a new dimension of movement. They’d rather take a bumpy path less traveled, than the ‘safe’ path everyone else uses.
More than One Language
Of course, it is completely possible to resonate with more than one category – and most people enjoy a mix of these languages. You might enjoy being challenged – but only when it expresses the music. Or, you may enjoy a deep connection, but love playfulness and energy at the same time.
These languages are also useful to helping us connect better with other people. Regardless of what you enjoy, you’ll become a more desired dance partner if you can read what your partner is craving.
For example, if you notice that you can’t get a partner to play back, try switching to a different dominant style. Maybe what they’re craving is a deep, close connection. Or, maybe they want to do something more energetic.
When you’re trying new languages, be cautious of the Challenge dancer. While these dancers may love trickier movements, trying those things without the training or with the wrong partner can have unintended consequences. So, start slow on the challenges. Work your way up to pushing the limits of your dance, and make sure they are into it. Don’t just launch in to ten crazy drops in a row! If you sense any hesitation, pull back.