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Valentine's Gift Idea: a Romantic Dance Class!

What to get your sweetie for a romantic Valentine's Day? You can take a free dance class, a group class or pay for a private dance class. Dancing brings together many wonderful elements in a romantic way. It's an ideal gift for the extrovert and introvert. Here are some suggestions to organize your romantic Valentine's Day dance class:

1. What kind of music does your partner like?

  • 50s and 60s rock n' roll: go for East Coast Swing classes! Also search the web for a "Rockabilly" dance community in your area. There's a lot of energetic hopping in this dance. Don't confuse it with West Coast Swing (see below).

  • Blues: this dance style is sultry, slow and because it has fewer rules it might be more difficult to find an instructor who markets themselves with the word "Blues." If you don't find someone immediately, then contact "Lindy Hop" or "West Coast Blues" instructors to ask if have Blues classes or if they could offer you a private class.

  • Latin music: if your partner is Latin American or dreams of going to Latin America, then Salsa is the most popular music you'll hear within the Latin dance community.

Second in the Latin Dances - and quickly becoming the most popular dance - all over the world is Bachata or Bachata Sensual.

The difference between the original, Dominican Bachata is that there are more feet patterns that accompany the quick guitar picking, whereas Sensual is set to slower, mostly synthetic music and the body often moves in waves.

  • Pop, Hip Hop, Reggaeton, etc: nowadays there are a few partner dances that you can dance to modern music.

    • Brazilian Zouk: a relatively new dance that mixes Lambada (yes, that 90s' hit!) and is set to a Zouk-inspired beat. If you and your partner don't have back or neck issues, this might be a great option. The technique is very useful for other dances and encourages a wonderful connection with your partner. The beat is usually catchy, but a bit slower to allow for the larger steps and turns.

    • West Coast Swing: whoa! There's a lot of improvisation that you can do in this dance and you can dance it to almost any music style.

    • UrbanKiz: this genre stems from Kizomba, a song and dance that emerged in Angola in the 80s. Nowadays dancers have fused their knowledge of Hip Hop and Tango to form a dance called UrbanKiz.

Although there is music created specifically for UrbanKiz, the dance is so versatile that you can dance it to Afrobeats, Reggaeton, and similar music styles with an urban feel and a strong beat.

  • Tango: Most people are attracted to the sensual elegance and complexity of the dance. Understand that this dance will take time to master, making it ideal for people who love a challenge. On the upside, it is wide open for creativity within its complex technique. There are Tango communities in all major cities.

The difference between Ballroom and Argentine Tango tends to be in the frame. Ballroom has a much stronger, distant frame, very pronounced in the arms. In Argentine Tango the rigidity in the arms is almost nonexistent, in favor of the dancers using a connection in the torso to lead and follow.

You can find free dance classes, but most classes will cost anywhere between $5 - $25 per hour.

Free dance classes are usually held in a bar or dance studio prior to a dance party. Sometimes there's a cover to enter the bar or dance academy for that special night, and your class is included. If you're lucky, there's no cover, but the courtesy and expectation is that you consume something that night from the location, such as a drink per person and/or food.

Another way to get a free dance class is to check each academy's website to see if they offer your first class for free. This is their way to let someone try out a class and see if they like it before they sign up for further classes. In every case I've seen, the caveat is that this is the first class you've ever taken with them. You must be a completely new person to the instructor and academy.

2. Is your partner an extrovert or an introvert?

  • An extrovert will thrive in a group class! In most group classes you switch partners, giving you a chance to try something new with different people and have a laugh as everyone is fumbling through their first steps. Switching partners is not obligatory, however! If you want the group class experience, but want to keep it as romantic as possible in the arms of your sweetheart, simply indicate to the instructor that you won't be switching partners. The instructor will place you a little outside of the path of rotation, so as to not confuse the other students and the class will carry on. If you change your mind during the class and you'd like to switch, simply indicate that to the students as they are rotating and integrate yourselves into the rotation path.

  • Introverts usually feel more comfortable in a private class setting.

Depending on your city, country, and how famous the instructor is, a one-hour private class can run anywhere between $50-$180 per hour.

$50 is low and you usually only get that rate if you've pre-paid for a bundle of classes. Top, internationally renowned instructors could charge up to $180 per hour. You'll know if they're internationally renowned if their social media is full of recent videos of them teaching crowds of students in large rooms in other cities or abroad. Local instructors are still excellent choices. Marketing, popularity, flash and fame doesn't mean they are better instructors than your experienced, local instructors.

Contact the dance instructor as early as you can! You'll want to ensure they have space and time for you. Try their Instagram, Facebook and phone number.

Why are dance classes a romantic Valentine's Day gift?

It almost doesn't need an explanation, since dance has been a means by which people get together since the invention of fire, percussion and parties. Show off just a little and use that smile. It's a social, physical activity that naturally boosts all of your good hormones. You use soft touch when dancing. In a partner dance class, you're actively learning something together, and you're not passive or alone. It involves music, and everyone loves some kind of music! Find yours and contact your local dance instructor to surprise your loved one with a romantic activity you can do together.

Happy Valentines' Day and enjoy the beauty of the moment you have with your partner.

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