What To Do If Your Partner Has Trouble Learning To Dance


Most couples find their dancing lessons much more fun than they thought they would be and many find them the most enjoyable part of their wedding preparations.

But for some couples there can be moments of frustration which if not properly dealt with can make the whole process difficult and ruin the fun of it.

I’ve noticed this particularly with couples where one partner learns quickly and the other more slowly and of course the first thing that needs to be upheld is patience.

Just because one partner learns more quickly or remembers the steps more easily it does not mean there is anything wrong with the other partner. Leaning speed, comprehension, skill development is different for everyone and it serves no purpose to become frustrated with each other just because the speed is different.

Although I see learning difficulties daily in my profession and have done so for years, I am no closer to understanding the individuals underlying ‘reason’ than I ever was and indeed knowing or understanding that reason serves no productive purpose anyway.

What is important is simply knowing how to overcome whatever barriers the student has and to be able to move them ahead at their own pace and to achieve a desirable outcome regardless.

Just yesterday I had a couple for their third lesson for their wedding dance and the bride got quite upset half way through the lesson because the groom kept forgetting the steps and also making mistakes. She got quite upset and said ‘why can’t you remember the steps, it’s easy’ and ‘ why can’t you get it right’ along with other negative comments.

In my eyes I saw a groom who was genuinely trying his hardest to please her, he was not able to keep up with her despite honest efforts but he was giving it his best. It was the groom who had asked for dancing lessons in the first place because he knew he was ‘hopeless’. He was learning and had made huge progress in the lessons – by his own standards.

The bride assumed that because he was slower than her and because she was finding it so easy, that there was something wrong with the groom and this is a false assumption and definitely one to avoid.

Learning is a funny thing, you can find something easy and quickly and try as you might you cannot understand how someone else cannot learnt her same. But it is just a simple fact of life that needs to be understood.

It’s a well known fact that children learn more easily than adults and a simple example is that of teaching a child to tie shoelaces. You could place ten kids in a room and show them how to tie up shoelaces for the first time, some will be able do it first time but of those only some will remember how to do it and others will have to be shown again the next day and maybe the next and so on. Some of the kids will struggle a bit and not be able to do it the first day but will pick it up within a few days or maybe weeks. Then others will struggle for months having to be shown over and over again until they can finally manage. No decent person gets angry at a child because he takes too long to learn to tie up his shoelaces , they just show him repeatedly until one day he gets it.

Children take different times to learn to stand, crawl, walk, feed themselves, dress themselves and it’s commonly understood that this is just a fact of life.

The same principle applies to adults learning to dance and getting upset or frustrated only makes it worse. In the example of the couple I taught last night, the bride only succeeded in reducing the groom’s confidence, reducing the fun of the exercise and getting herself frustrated and miserable.

If you find yourself getting frustrated with your partner for similar reasons, a quick reality check needs to be done.

Look at your partner’s dancing ability right now and compare it to what they could or could not do before their first lesson. Even with very slow learners you will see quite a difference and it is the individual improvement and development that you must focus on, not your development or your standards.

And also remember, that despite your partners difficulty with learning and perhaps discomfort, they are soldiering on and persisting with it and it is ALL FOR YOU. Gotta love them for it!


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