At events like weddings and proms, there’s almost always a guarantee that there’d be a dance involved.
And if you go to these events with a special someone (or if you’re feeling adventurous enough), knowing how to slow dance and guide your partner through a nice movement can be a fun and romantic way to spend the night.
But if you don’t know the basic steps, the prospect of hitting the dance floor can be a bit daunting. Though the slow dance may look easy, it’s actually more difficult than it seems.
But don’t worry! With a little bit of practice, you can learn how to slow dance and impress your partner in no time.
This step-by-step guide is all you need to learn how to slow dance at a wedding or prom. So put on your dancing shoes, and let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Is Slow Dance Easy?
- How To Slow Dance With A Partner
- Slow Dance With A Big Height Difference
- Slow Dance At Prom Or A School Dance
- Some Tips Before The Slow Dance
- Final Words
Is Slow Dance Easy?
There’s really no straight answer to this. Slow dancing can be easy or difficult, depending on your level of experience and comfort with dancing.
For some people, dancing comes very naturally to some people. Even with little to no training, they can pick up the basic steps and get into gears very quickly.
However, for others, dancing can be a bit more challenging.
This can stem from many things, ranging from feeling self-conscious about their dancing abilities to just simply not being very good with dancing and coordination in general (or, as some may put it “having two left feet.”)
The good news is that with some practice and guidance, anyone can learn to slow dance. Even if you feel like you can’t ever be a good dancer, if you spend time practicing, you’ll be an ace in no time.
The thing to keep in mind is to start small by memorizing the basic steps and focusing on timing and rhythm.
It can be very tempting to try advanced moves you see in movies and music videos right away. But it’s important to focus on the basic steps first. As you become more comfortable, you can add your own personal style and flair to your dancing.
How To Slow Dance With A Partner
So, how exactly does one go and dance it off with a partner? Well, here’s a step-by-step guide for you.
Step 1: Find a Partner and Ask Them to Dance!
Slow dance is best done with a partner. So, while you’re at a wedding or at prom, you can ask your number two to dance with you.
If you come there together, then half of the work is done already. They will have already known you, so the chance of them accepting your invitation to dance is very good.
But if you don’t come with anyone, walk around and find someone who seems interested in dancing but doesn’t have a partner.
Strike a conversation or get straight to the point with a simple: “Would you like to dance?” This is the best approach if you don’t know them personally.
When asked, they can give an answer right away whether it’s a yes or a no.
If it’s a yes, then congrats! You’re in business.
But if it’s a no, take it graciously and move on. There are plenty of people around who would love to dance with you!
Step 2: Get into the Starting Position
Got a partner? Great! It’s time to get into the starting position.
To get into the starting position for slow dancing, stand about 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m) apart from your partner.
Even if you want to be romantic, try and keep a little space between you both (but you can pull them even closer to your body than the more socially-acceptable 1 or 2-foot).
You’ll be moving around a lot so it’s best to keep at least a couple of inches between your bodies to allow for comfortable movement.
- As the leader, curve your right elbow beneath their left armpit and draw you both together.
- Your right hand should lightly rest on your partner’s left shoulder blade, which will allow you to guide them gently. Make sure not to push against your partner’s back as you lead.
- If you’re the follower, drape your left arm and hand over their right shoulder. Keep a light grip on their shoulder to stay balanced.
- Hold your partner’s free hand at eye level. Try and keep both your hands at the height of the shorter person.
For couples slow dancing, one person can wrap their arms around their partner’s neck while the other person positions their hands on their partner’s waist.
Step 3: Start the Dance
Begin by stepping to the left with your partner while making sure your feet are in sync.
- Move your left foot 6 to 12 inches to the left and then bring your right foot over.
- Repeat this step by stepping to the left again and bringing your right foot over.
Step 4: Reverse the Step
- Go in reverse by stepping to the right, moving your right foot 6 to 12 inches to the right, and then bringing your left foot over.
- Step to the right once more, then bring your feet together.
- Repeat stepping to the right and left.
That’s the end of the basic slow dance steps! If you don’t feel like making it too fancy, you can repeat steps 3 and step 4 repeatedly until the song ends.
Step 5: Waltz Around in a Circle
Dancing the basic steps can be pretty fun. But if you’re feeling wild and would like to add a bit more flair to your performance, you can guide your partner in a circle.
- To do that, just angle your feet while stepping and instead of stepping in a straight line, position your right or left foot diagonally.
- Bring your opposite foot forward and backward to align it with your leading foot.
- Keep stepping at an angle to guide your slow dance in a circle.
While it’s certainly fun to try out, be aware of the other couples on the floor. You may run into someone if the stage’s particularly crowded!
Step 6: Execute a Turn
To execute a turn with your partner while performing the basic slow dance steps, just count to 8 while slow-stepping to the right and left.
Then take 4 more slow steps to the right and lift your right hand from your partner’s back, lowering your arm.
If they’re versed in slow dancing, they’ll know that this is the signal that there’s a turn coming up.
If your partner doesn’t know how to slow dance, you can just tell them (something simple like “Let’s make a turn!” will do.)
Step to the left 4 more times, then lift your left hand up to spin your partner comfortably in the dance.
Take 4 more slow steps to the right and move your right arm back beneath your partner’s armpit and over their shoulder blade.
Step 7: Dip Your Partner!
A dip is dramatic and is more or less a trust exercise between the leader and the follower.
- Perform 8 basic slow steps, then guide your partner a few steps away.
- Spin your partner closer and guide their right hand to your left shoulder.
- Rest both hands behind their back and guide your partner backward in a “dip”.
- To support your partner, bend your left knee slightly forward. Turn your partner back into your original dancing position and continue with your slow dance as usual.
Slow Dance With A Big Height Difference
If there’s a significant height difference between you and your partner, slow dancing can become a little bit more challenging.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or you should sit to the side as other couples dance! Instead, take it as an opportunity to get creative and have fun.
Here are our tips to make the experience a great one for both of you.
Find The Right Position
Depending on how great the height difference is, you may need to adjust your position to make the dance comfortable for both parties involved.
For example, if you’re the taller person, you may need to bend your knees slightly to be on the same level as them. Or if you’re the shorter partner, you may find yourself standing on your tip toes in a couple of sequences.
But don’t try to push your body too much in any case and overcompensate. Dancing on your knees or on your tip toes the entire night can’t be comfortable!
Communicate With Your Partner
Communication is key when dancing with a significant height difference.
Communicate with your partner whenever the position becomes a bit uncomfortable and tell them how they can adjust if something isn’t working.
Take Note of Some Movements
Certain dance movements can feel awkward when there’s a height difference. You’ll have to adjust your body in that case.
If you’re the taller partner, for example, during turns, you may have to bring your hand closer toward your head so that the shorter partner can turn comfortably. Or if you’re the shorter partner, it’s better to look at your joined hands than at their chest the whole night.
Slow Dance At Prom Or A School Dance
At prom or school dances like homecoming, dancing is almost required. However, for those who haven’t danced ever before, it can be a nerve-wracking experience.
But if you want to make your night memorable, being confident and relaxed is a must.
While traditional slow dance steps may feel too formal or outdated, there are plenty of modern variations that you can practice instead.
One option is the hug and sway style of couple slow dancing, which is perfect for dancing with your girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s simple and to the point. You really can’t go wrong with this style even if you have two left feet!
To execute this move as the leader, place your hands on the partner’s hips. And if you’re the follower, then wrap your arms around the leader’s shoulders or loosely around their neck.
Leave enough space between you so that you both feel comfortable.
Once in position, simply sway back and forth by shifting your weight from side to side with the rhythm of the music.
If you’re nervous about dancing in silence, it’s a good idea to come up with a few topics to talk about beforehand. Silence is not enforced on the stage!
Some Tips Before The Slow Dance
Slow dancing is pretty cut and dry when it comes down to it. But we got a couple of tips that you can apply to make the experience goes smoother.
Invest on Shoes
Good shoes can help you stay comfortable through the night and provide traction on the stage for you to execute your moves more smoothly.
Dance shoes are recommended, but not required. Depending on the dress code, you can pick dress shoes or sneakers.
For female dancers, pick something that’s comfortable for you to dance in. Heels should be medium-height, padded, and don’t impede your balance.
Most events will have a dress code. Dress appropriately!
Also, if you come to the dance with a date, make sure to coordinate your colors. That will be perfect if you & your partner come with the couple matching outfits!
Dancing will take a toll on your body and “dry you up” fast. That’s why, after 30 or so minutes of dancing, make sure to take a quick swig of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Slow dancing is a romantic and elegant dance that’s a staple of just about every nice party and occasion.
Whether you’re attending a wedding, prom, or social event, knowing how to slow dance can be a valuable skill that can enhance your experience and help you connect with your dance partner.
We hope this step-by-step guide on how to slow dance has been helpful! Got any questions for us? Leave it in the comment section!