Dance partnering

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A couple performs a penché from The Nutcracker.

In dance, partnering is the assistance and sometimes leading given to a partner, generally of the opposite gender. It is an important part of ballet and partner dances such as Rock and Roll. Partners can be of the same or opposite gender, an example of same-sex partnering being Reel of the 51st Highlanders.


In ballet, partnering is particularly studied by male principal dancers, who must develop the strength to gracefully and confidently lift, catch and carry a female partner. On the other hand, female principals will spend more time on developing the strength of their feet, ankles, legs, and abdominal muscles for pointe work.

Partner dances[edit]

In many partner dances, the male dancer must lead. This may be simply a matter of guiding the female dancer as to position during a set routine, or in free-form dances it may include deciding and communicating the sequence of the figures to be danced. Some advanced jive, jitterbug and Rock and Roll figures require the male to perform lifts, although these are normally only achieved by advanced dancers.

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