Dance: Cue for the Correct Arm Position in Ballroom Dance

Pat Aitken

If you have a PE unit that includes ballroom dance, a common error among male students is that they hold their arms too far back. They often make this mistake while trying to direct (by pulling) their partner.  Fortunately, there's a teaching cue that will help them monitor their arm position.

Arm Position Cue
Instruct your male dancers to keep their left hand (holding their partner's hand) at chin level, with their elbow slightly forward.

The butt of the right hand should be at the bottom of their partner's shoulder blade, fingers pointing slightly down, with the elbow slightly lower than their own shoulder.

And how far forward should the elbows be held? Your males should be able to see their elbows in their peripheral vision without turning their head.  If they can't, their arms have pulled too far back.

1. Diane Jarmolow and Brandee Selck, Teach Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide for Ballroom Dance Instructors, Ballroom Dance Teachers College, 2011.
2. Stephanie Somers, “Ballroom lead.” Dance Teacher Now, September 1988.

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