Five Easy Dance Moves to Bust Out on Date Night
Nothing elicits a swoon quite like a flawlessly executed dance move—provided that dance move is not, say, the robot. To help you put your best foot forward on your next date, we asked Kenneth Jarvis of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Chicago’s West Loop to teach us five easy dance moves. What’s great about these moves, he explains, is that “they work for a lot of tempos” and fit together almost like puzzle pieces. We can’t promise they’ll help you find true love, but you’ll sure look good trying.
1. The Basic Side Step
This is the easiest step in all of dance, but also the most crucial. To execute a basic side step, simply “make a rocking action to the side and then close your feet.” Follow this up with the same rocking movement to the other side. Jarvis recommends finding a partner to hold hands with while practicing, just to make sure you can do this step in sync.
2. The Side-Together Step
The side-together step builds on the basic side step by doubling it. Take a side step, close your feet, take another side step, and tap before going back in the opposite direction. Jarvis considers this a valuable move in a beginner’s repertoire, as it can be performed to virtually any style of music—salsa, techno, hustle, pop, or otherwise.
3. The Three-Point Turn
A three-point turn is similar in concept to a side step, but you’re also rotating your body 360 degrees. Step to the right with your right foot, then pivot your body so that you’re facing in the opposite direction when your left foot lands. Pivot once more on your left foot to face forward again. Just make sure to keep your arms tucked in while turning. According to Jarvis, “anything where the arms are flailing is a perfect opportunity to make enemies on the dance floor.”
4. The Partner Spin
Perhaps the most romantic of dance moves, the partner spin is also easier than it looks. Holding your partner at arm’s length, have her (or him) turn toward you, rolling into your arm. Once you’re tucked in side-by-side, you might even try to sneak a quick kiss before spinning your partner back out.
5. The Sweetheart Move
This classic swing move lives up to its name. Without letting go of your partner’s hands, lift your left arm over her head, twirl her around, and tuck her into your right side. Still holding hands, step back together on the same foot and rock forward. Jarvis warns that this move can be a little tricky. “Sometimes, the gentleman won’t make room for the lady, so you’ve got to keep a pocket of space on your left side for her.”
Once you've mastered all of these easy dance moves, practice stringing them together and see what you come up with. If you need further clarification on how to execute any of the above moves, check out our helpful video demonstration:
Photo and video: Geoffrey Kartes, Groupon. Music: "Sail Boat" by The Underscore Orkestra
Stephanie McDaniel is a political theorist-turned-novelist from South Carolina. On the rare occasion she’s not writing, she spends her time folk dancing, singing, and adding sea salt to Lake Michigan.