Earlier this year, I started to learn how to swing dance in Canberra with the Canberra Swing Katz. With my two left feet and a general lack of rhythm, I rocked up at my first beginner’s lesson. I’m always up for a new adventure, but for me, this was diving right into the deep end. By default, I’m not a big social person, and I actively avoid having people in my personal space.

Partner dancing was about to challenge those defaults!

I’ve been dancing now for six months, and although I’m still working on overcoming those two significant challenges, I’ve been learning a whole lot of other skills that I’ve been able to apply in my personal and professional life.

Here are my top five leadership lessons I’ve learnt through swing dancing.

1. Communicate Clearly

Swing Dancing is a partner dance based on non-verbal communication. Often, leading an effective swing move or variation relies on doing the move yourself. Frankly, if you don’t take the next step, you won’t be followed. When you’re dancing, communicating clearly means leading by example, doing what you’re expecting your partner to do.

2. Commit with Confidence

Following on from the previous lesson, when you communicate the next step, follow through! Be confident to see your decision through to the end! Part of this is also being prepared for what you’re going to do next. Being able to think ahead more than one step certainly helps to make a confident commitment to your next move.

3. Take Opportunities

Take on the opportunities that come your way. Whether it’s asking someone to join you on the floor or trying a new move in a song. When there’s an opportunity to dance, take it! I’ve found this particularly useful dancing with a more experienced partner. Often it’s harder to approach someone more experienced than you, but it’s the best way to learn!

4. Listen and Follow

As a lead in a partner dance, you’re not a dictator. Actively listening and following the ‘vibe’ from your dance partner means slowing down and matching their skill level when you need to. It also means giving your partner room to be creative in contributing their style into the dance. Dancing together is so much more enjoyable than swinging someone around!

5. Keep Moving Forward After Mistakes

Mistakes happen, and whether it’s you or your partner that took a wrong step, as a lead, you don’t stop dancing because of it. You find a way to keep moving forward, and you get back on track by offering a clear direction. It’s never about who was at fault, the goal is to enjoy the dance until the end of the song.

Final Thoughts and Learn to Swing Dance in Canberra

These lessons revolve around dancing concepts but it doesn’t take much to realise how positive those same lessons could be when it comes to life off the dance floor.

I have to admit that learning to swing dance in Canberra has been one of my highlights of 2016. Although challenging on a heap of different levels, it’s been a super fun experience. Not only can I legitimately say that I can dance, I’ve met some amazing people along the way and learnt more than just how to dance.

If you’re keen to learn how to swing dance in Canberra, check out the Canberra Swing Katz. With swing dancing classes that facilitate beginners all the way through to advanced dancers, it’s an excellent way to meet people, learn something new and get some exercise all at the same time!