How many basic steps in a dance?

Since you're new, concentrate on NAVIGATION. What's the value of learning lots of figures when you'll never have the room to execute. I have to use my short and long range radar to avoid collisions. Women appreciate men who worry more about protecting them from harm than how many figures the man can lead.

Women don't get bored with men with minimal vocabulary. They get bored from collisions and bad leading.


Well-Known Member
..Should I try to minimize number of basic steps in a routine..
ticolora, try to erase concepts like steps, patterns, or routines from your mind. It´s all about musicality. You only have to learn one single step and with a basic amount of musicality you can dance this step in hundred different ways. But if you havn´t got any musicality, you must learn thousands of steps and it will not be enough.


Well-Known Member
The OP put out NC2S for discussion purposes. There is less need for floorcraft skills than there is for a traveling dance like the waltz. But the need is not zero.

What I suggest is learning the left- and right-turning basics, with and without underarm turn. Also the traveling basic. Learn the technique needed to adjust the size of these patterns and also the amount of turn. That will allow you to keep the lady safe as other couples encroach on your space. Once you have that mastered, then add in more complicated patterns such as promenade walks that you can attempt when there's sufficient area to do them safely. "Sufficient area" starts out fairly big and then will decrease as your skill level improves and even further if you can learn how to abort them if the floorcraft situation deteriorates more than you expected.


Well-Known Member
That's the part I am skeptical about. Can I have a woman to confirm this claim?
In case hearing it again will mean it sinks in this time: yep. I don't mind when a lead does more than basics, but ONLY if he executes them well with a clean, clear lead, and has the floorcraft to do it without bashing us into other couples or messing up the line of dance for other people. I can tell when I am dancing with a lead who focuses on learning lots and lots of steps but spends little/no time on lead and floorcraft. They're people I and other follows try to actively avoid because we don't like running into others or winding up in pain from being dragged and pushed.


Well-Known Member
Another lady/follower saying simple is fine, and often preferred.

Some examples:

New leader - definitely simple (very few steps, even just basics over and over) is better. With a really new leader, a clear lead is a nice thing but I don't expect it, they need time to learn it. Anything more complicated is not likely to go well and has a good chance of being uncomfortable for the follower.

Uncomfortable includes but is not limited to - getting bashed into other couples, having no idea what the leader is trying to lead, being "instructed" when the follow "makes mistakes," getting body parts pushed and pulled uncomfortably, being thrown off balance by odd moves and then not being given the time to do a few basics to get balance back and get back in sync with partner, etc.

Intermediate leader - simple is just fine. Basics and just a few other patterns with a nice clear and gentle lead, keeping us safe as a couple, not being rude to other couples, etc, is a great dance.

Bonus points if you are on time, are pleasant (a smile, a hello, etc).

Double bonus points if you are paying attention to the follower's comfort level with whatever is being led. (e.g. is she smiling or gritting her teeth if you lead a few turns in a row??) The intermediate leader trying to show off how many complex patterns they know is not a fun dance for the follower, and often leads to some of the same types of uncomfortable issues described with new leaders.

Advanced leader (often 5-10+ years of lessons) - simple is still fine. The basics and a few other patterns will be of lovely quality and musicality, so who cares if there are more advanced patterns? Doing some for variety here is fine, but absolutely not necessary. Paying attention to follower's comfort level is still important. Some advanced leaders get a big ego and forget this, sigh.

Also keep in mind that when you look across a social floor, if you see couples doing advanced moves, and looking comfortable while doing them, one or more of these things is highly likely to apply:

1) leader and follower have both been dancing for a long time (5-10 years)

2) leader and follower know each other and have danced together many times over the years (this can include married couples, but can also simply be social dancers who have seen each other enough times to be very comfortable dancing together)

3) leader and follower have taken lessons from the same teachers or same studio, so they both know the same patterns. What looks like a complicated pattern may just be a string of simple patterns in a particular order that both dancers are familiar with in advance.

The fact that you're asking over and over whether basics and a few simple patterns is really OK tells me you don't likely yet fit into any of those categories. Give yourself some time. Don't try to fake being an experienced dancer when you are new or intermediate. Work on the basics - the basic steps, and the fundamentals of leading and social dancing, and getting to know people in the community.

And go ahead and play with some more advanced patterns if you like, with a teacher or a social partner or in group classes. But don't expect to have those advanced patterns work for you on the social floor just yet. And there is no need to ever dance advanced patterns socially anyway, so no sweat.

Good luck and have fun dancing!!!


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