After more than 5 years of teaching couple dances at Happy Dance Studio I can’t neglect the intuitive observation that couple dances are connected to and can have an impact on couple relationships. From the teaching perspective I often have seen how the couple’s chemistry gets lightened up or sometimes also challenged during classes, repeatedly I’ve seen how couple dancing builds strong teams, breaks the ice in between, develops mutual trust and respect within the couple. It doesn’t come without moments of awkwardness and tests of patience though – that is for sure. And yet it always has been and will be a fulfilling and wonderful adventure and a privilege for me to be a witness of these processes.
In order to verbalise my inner feel and hopefully to encourage more couples take on this path I made a short survey specifically to my students who are also couples in real life. The aim was to gain insights and feedback about dance classes and how they experienced them in the context of their relationships.
I have three types of couple dance students: those who learn wedding dance, those who join in the group classes and those who take private classes usually with an aim to spend time together or train dancing skills for some specific event. So I sent all of them a message and asked to fill out 10 question survey. 35 couples responded, from which 20% are foreigners and 80% Latvians. Their age is between 23 and 55 years.
92.1% of respondents stated that dance classes have been qualitative time with each other. This feeling is shown to be even for both genders. One of the reasons of the positive valuation might be the motivation of starting the dance courses in the first place. 28% of students stated that their motivation to start dancing was spending time together, to have a common hobby or have fun together. 72% stated that their prior motivation was dancing, more specifically, learn dancing together, have active hobby, learn specific dance style, prepare wedding dance.
Respondents have mentioned also some doubts and struggles before they started the dance courses. Mostly they included fears of failing and awkwardness, financial concerns and time constraints. However, at the end 83.6% of couples are concluding that dance courses have definitely contributed positively to their relationships.
I wondered if the positive affect to relationships might be connected to the 5 love languages discussed by Marriage and Family Life Consultant Gary Chapman: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. To my mind there are two most obvious love languages a person can experience during dance classes – quality time and physical touch. In order to check if there is any correlation I asked couples to rank what is the most important for them in their relationships. Indeed three significantly favourite love languages got ranked and they were quality time, acts of kindness and physical touch.
The facts are not graved in the stone but still I would suggest that if both or one of the partner’s top love languages are quality time or physical touch then couple dancing could become a valuable and enjoyable couple’s hobby that not just grants the common joy of dancing but also likely improves couple’s relationships.
Additional surprise for me was noticing that despite the small rate of males initiating the dance courses (only 9%), at the end they are the ones evaluating the overall dance course impact on relationships more positively than females (5,4% more). Is it because they had lower expectations or more concerns before starting the course, or maybe in a way learning leading has been a bit more joyful for them than learning following for their partners? These are just some of my guesses.
From what I see changing throughout last years it appears that more couples join dance courses because they are looking for fun dating options or mutual hobby. That makes my teacher’s heart happy and hopeful to see that the world is changing and so is the role of couple dance in Latvia.
Here is a link to my private dance classes page for couples just in case also you want to start a new adventure with your loved one.