In ballroom dancing, your dance posture is critical, and good ballroom dancing is not just about looks and style, your posture also affects how well you will dance together with your partner on the dance floor.

(Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz & Quickstep)

FRAME: The means of connecting with your partner using correct positioning of the arms, shoulders, elbows and hands. A toned frame is essential for good leading and following when dancing.

LEADER’S ARM POSITIONS (see photo below):

Leaders Smooth Dance Position

LEFT ARM: When ballroom dancing, the Leader’s left arm is bent at about 90 degrees, with the forearm inclined at a 45-degree angel from the floor (i.e., halfway between perpendicular and parallel to the floor.) The left elbow is held to the side, approximately in line with the left shoulder. The Leader’s left fingers are together and slightly curled, with the thumb separate.

RIGHT ARM: The Leader’s right arm is extended to the side and slightly forward. The right elbow is held at the same height from the floor as the left elbow, but is slightly more forward (approximately in the same plane as the front of the right hip). The right arm slopes slightly downward from the shoulder to elbow and from elbow to hand (unless the Follower is taller than the Leader). The thumb and fingers of the right hand are together with the hand slightly cupped.

FOLLOWER’S ARM POSITIONS (see photo below):

Followers Smooth Dance Position

RIGHT ARM: When ballroom dancing, the Follower’s right arm is extended to the side and slightly forward with the elbow softly bent. The palm of the right hand is turned slightly outward (i.e., away from the Follower’s face) with the fingers gently curled. The feeling is one of giving the arm forward and upward toward the leader.

LEFT ARM: The Follower’s left arm is extended to the side, approximately in line with the left shoulder. The arm is bent so that the angle between the forearm and upper arm is a little less than 90 degrees. The hand is slightly turned out from the wrist — the fingers gently fan to the left with the thumb held separately, in continuation with the line of the inner forearm. The four fingers are closed (i.e., not splayed apart) and styled with the middle finger down and other fingers raised, with the pinky held highest.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When ballroom dancing, always remember to keep your Shoulder Blades Down, Elbows High and Heads Left.

Information brought to you from the book “Teach Like a Pro” by Diane Jarmolow a highly certified and renowned ballroom dance instructor. Her book is available for purchase at

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