The following workshops, which are psycho-educative and therapeutic in nature, are relevant for those of you in the world of partnered dance.

Issues, Defenses, and oh yes, My Partner!  (Part one)

Thought, feeling and movement are closely interrelated and influence each other. As a result, what you feel and think about yourself, your dance abilities and your dance partner, on both conscious and unconscious levels, will dramatically influence your performance. If an attitude of compassion and acceptance towards imperfections, for example, can be developed, attention can be brought more fully to the present moment. This results in increased levels of flow and better connection to your dance partner.

Aim: In this workshop you will learn about some of the emotional difficulties that are encountered on the dance floor, the differences between issues and defenses, and how these dynamics influence the lead/follow relationship.

Issues, Defenses, and oh yes, My Partner!  (Part two)

An awareness of an emotional issue during dance makes it difficult to hold it in a dysfunctional way. A space within then emerges, allowing the possibility of being present in another way with this difficulty. The place where the subjectivity of one person comes into contact with the subjectivity of the other is the place where the dance is created, also known as the relational space.
According to Wendy Whelan, artistic director of the New York City Ballet: “Dancers are constantly revealing themselves through movement; teaching and learning from one another without even trying.”

Aim: to integrate the understanding of our issues and defenses in partnered dance, by raising awareness of how they are played out in mindful shared movement.

Body Intelligence (BQ)

The emergence of a new, conscious field of awareness, (BQ) occurs when we value what our body is communicating. In this way the body is viewed as an energy system which is constantly changing depending on negative or positive emotions, lifestyle habits and stress. An increased awareness of the body’s needs increases the ability to emotionally regulate.

Aim: to examine how issues and defenses affect the level of BQ, which in turn influences dancing.


Developing a Dance Persona

Developing your dance persona(s), alongside your EQ and BQ, adds a creative dimension to dancing, helping to express individuality. It is a form of communication from your inner world and the essence of your personality. This is portrayed to the outside world as your “personal branding” in dancing. We will explore various dance personas using archetypal images (a Jungian psychology construct) borrowed from literature, film, mythology and dreams, which feel culturally relevant to you.

Aim: uncoupling oneself from language by assigning images is a powerful way to work with issues and defenses. This has the ability to transform a dancer’s ego and identity into something more sustainable.

Performance Psychology workshop for ballroom dancers (Standard and Latin)

The state of psychological readiness to perform is cultivated by engaging dancers through the process of the earlier workshops.
The final stage is merging the needs of each dancers’ inner and outer worlds through the exploration of self and the perceived collective identity of the ballroom world.
The development of a dance persona starts to bring the dancers awareness of their perhaps conflicting internal and external motivations for performing their art. In order to achieve a healthy, truthful internal dialogue during performance the dancer needs to have engaged in the exploration of polarizing thoughts, behaviours and emotions. The successful dance couple requires exploration of personal issues, defenses, intrinsic and extrinsic forces and developing a healthy persona to create a personal authentic brand.
The strengthening of communication within the couple by sharing inner feelings and thoughts creates a stronger bond, inducing harmonious passion and opening the way for higher levels of commitment toward common goals.
To help achieve the ideal flow state during performance, dancers also need to focus their attention with clear mental preparation for competition, managing performance anxiety, using kinaesthetic imagery and focusing techniques to enhance performance, and dealing with distractions and possible stressors in the build-up and on the day of competition.

Aim: Cultivating a healthy flow state for dancers within the collective extrinsic pressures of the competitive ballroom world.


From UCT ballroom society students who attended Workshops 1 and 2.

2019, Issues and defenses, part one

“It was a great introductory workshop. Thanks so much, I found it very constructive!”

“I would love to delve deeper into the issues we discussed, why we have these issues and what we are masking.”

“Was great to hear from other dancers as to what their issues and defenses were. It helped me realise that we all have very similar issues, so that will go a long way with us being more understanding of one another.”


2019, Issues and defenses, part two

“Very insightful workshop. Provided a deeper and more mature understanding of dancing and partnering.”

“Helped me think more clearly about my personal life and it’s effects on others around me.”

“Connection is key in dance and I do feel I can better understand signals and responses now.”

“More of these exercises in class settings would be appreciated.”


2020, Issues and defenses, part one

“Very good and insightful.”

“What I’ve learned in this workshop will be directly applicable to my dancing.”

“This workshop helped me to better recognize aspects of myself.”

“Felt closer to the society as a family. Did not know how many other people are struggling with so many different things.”

"Dance-Intelligence: The art and science of developing relationships with self and other."

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