SF Seeks L(PM)4BP(NN)

I wonder how far I’d get posting a dance-related personals ad like this. The first bit, “single female,” is in common usage. The last bit, I had to make up—and it’s too complex to make a good acronym. “L(PM)4DP(NN)” stands for “Lead, preferably male, for ballroom practice. No necking.”

Here in my part of Minnesota, male practice partners are an endangered species. It’s as though a terrible disease struck the herd and spared only the jealous-marrieds, the already-partnereds, and the Medicare beneficiaries.

Perhaps this is an unfair generalization, but I’ve been here 6 months and have yet to meet a ballroom practice partner of an appropriate age, availability, and skill level. One who is looking for a partner, not a date. And I’m not alone. At the studio I attend and at the dances I go to in town, most of the talented leads seem to already dance with a wife or girlfriend. And those that come on their own (married and single alike) seem to have a devoted harem of practice partners, who jealously guard their prizes against foreign invasion—that is to say, the leads seem to have their free time booked into the next decade.

Not that I wouldn’t try to do the same, if I found the right partner.

My game plan: Go for the Xs hiding behind the claimed partners (in circles), especially the ones carrying jealous SO shields (T-shaped extrusions) or those only looking for a good time (suggestively shaped arrows).

What I need is a partner finding strategy. A game plan and a goal. I want a partner and I want one within the next 6 months. Here I go….

My Priorities

There are some characteristics of a partner that are really important to me, and others that are just nice-to-have, but not critical.

  • I would prefer to dance with a man: Society has conditioned me to feel a little weird following another lady. The feminist inside me rebels against this conditioning, but so far I have not been able to overcome it.
  • I would prefer to dance with someone who’s been dancing a few years and is at least at silver level: This is a tall order around here and substantially limits my choice of partners. Why do I insist on this? I would like to create a partnership in which we can learn from each other. I do not want to end up in a partnership where one of us is constantly playing teacher. That doesn’t seem fair.
  • I would prefer to dance with someone in my own age group: This is the kind of person I feel I could connect with most effectively. Ideally, I’d like to adhere to the “half-my-age plus seven” rule for dancers younger than me, and the new rule I just made up, “twice my age minus seven” for people older than me. That works out to an age range of 21 – 49. I know this pretty much breaks the half-my-age-plus-7 rule for the folks older than me, but that rule was made for dating and this is not about dating. I just think it would be skeazy for me to dance with someone who’s under 21. Not happening. I wonder if the folks at the top of my scale would feel weird dancing with someone younger than the requisite 33? What can I say? I’ll be there soon.

    Your age dating pool, according to XKCD. Also, the lower limit of my dance partner pool.
  • No farther away than the Twin Cities. More travel than that will be detrimental to practice time. I really wanted to set the bar at 50 miles, but there’s nothing within 50 miles but cows. Sorry, Bessie, but I’m really looking for a biped.
  • Sour-pusses need not apply: There’s nothing worse than trying to learn alongside someone with a bad attitude. Dancing is supposed to be fun. Let’s keep it that way.

Not So Important

  • American or international style (or Argentine tango, west coast, etc…): I’d like it if they were open to learning multiple styles of dance, but I don’t care what discipline they come from. I’d prefer not to dance with a dedicated salsa dancer (I just don’t get into it), but I wouldn’t rule it out.
  • Competition or social dance orientation: Competition isn’t really my goal. I’d like it if my partner is eager to learn and improve and enjoys social dancing. But if my partner wants to compete, I could be persuaded. If not, that’s ok too.
  • Body type: So long as the lead can move effectively I don’t really care. Preferably, my lead will be healthy, with good sanitary habits, and no bad breath.
  • Money spent on dancing: I take private lessons on my own dime. If he wants to as well, awesome. If he can’t afford to, that’s ok too. It would be nice if he did occasionally (maybe once a month). And it would be good if he was interested enough in dance to attend group classes or workshops. Beyond that, I don’t have an opinion. All I really want is someone who shows dedication to learning.
  • Dating potential: As I’ve said, I’m not looking for a date. I’d prefer it if my partner felt the same and regarded our partnership as just a partnership. Period. In the past, I’ve found that being in a relationship tends to get in the way of dancing. That’s just me.
  • Married, single, committed: So long as the relationship with my partner’s SO is not an issue for our partnership, I don’t care.

How I’ll Find A Partner

So far, I’ve been unsuccessful at the venues I’ve attended so far. Solution: try new venues. I’ve attended the USA Dance Chapter and a dance club here in town. No success. I’ve attended Cafe Bailar in the Cities. Mose likely, no success. So what’s left to try? Lots!

  • USA Dance Chapter in the Cities. I’ll try going up to their monthly dance.
  • Loring Pasta Bar up in the Cities with Argentine Tango on the weekends.
  • Dances and Workshops at other studios (also mostly in the Cities)
  • Salsa dances and tango practicas. I haven’t gone yet. This is new territory for me, so I’m kind of nervous.
  • Local competitions. Go mingle.

How I’ll Convince Them to Give Me  A Try

By being forthright about what I’m looking for. And by showing dedication, talent, and availability

Is that a plan? I think that’s a plan.


  1. The Loring Pasta Bar is a good place to go to dance but I’m not sure how easy it would be to find a dance partner there… although that being said, I did find my tango teacher there which was pretty cool. Neat guy if you ever meet him; Larson was the last name I believe (really awesome tango dancer).

    Actually Swing dances at the Tapestry: (http://www.tapestryfolkdance.org/Swing_at_Tapestry.htm) is a pretty good bet to find young college-aged people who may be looking for dance partners. Keep in mind this is a strictly swing venue so I’m not sure how well they are into other ballroom dances but hey it’s a start.

    As for Rochester… yeah I almost fear it’s a lost cause. Although new grad and med students are coming in each year so you never know.

    Good luck and happy dancing!


  2. If only one of us was a guy – a perfect match!!!

    Seriously you have a good list. I am also on dancepartner.com, but haven’t had any real success with it. I can help point you to the strongest studios up in the cities and we’ll keep trying.

    Happy dancing.


  3. It’s very interesting to read your story.

    I’m in Cleveland,OH and can’t find young women (post college)with enough dedication for ballroom dancing.
    There are many many studios, but I don’t find any post-college amateur competitors in international style. I can dance either style, but especially I like Latin(open level) and Standard(silver and over),and do not want to compete in American style. But I haven’t seen any girls getting into international style, or staying long enough to go beyond beginner level in this city. (I can only dance with my pro instructors, since there is no amateur that I can practice.)
    One of my friend who was dedicated to Standard moved to New York city years ago, and finally found multiple candidates for partner.

    All I can say is Kudos to you and good luck!

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