Noodle arms: If your arms are like limp noodles, you can’t feel the connection with your partner. When you can’t feel that connection, the two of you will not be in sync. You will also more than likely not succeed at most of the moves you try.
Robot dancer: This is the other extreme of noodle arms. This describes people who are concentrating so hard on the movements, everything is done at very sharp angles with lots of pressure behind it. This is more easily seen in leads, but can also be true of follows. Not only will robotic movements give you muscle strain before the night is through, but it will put unnecessary pain on your partner from being forced through moves. Swing dancing is a very organic and fluid dance. A good rule for leads on how much pressure to exert is to pretend like you are pushing a shopping cart. Follows should strive to match whatever pressure your lead is exerting.
Looking at your feet: Learning to dance can be a daunting task. You may feel compelled to look at the ground to make sure your feet are going where they are supposed to, or that your partner isn’t going to step on you. Don’t! It will be much better if instead you picked a mantra to say in your head to remind your feet of what they are supposed to do. Having your eyes on your feet disrupts the flow of the dance, and gives you more of a chance of getting stepped on. Besides, don’t you want to see that shining smile on your partners face?
Dancing large in a small space: Leads, I’m talking to you! Please always be mindful of everything around you, including things that have potential to move into your (or your partner’s) path. Many injuries could be avoided if leads just stay aware of their surroundings and protect their follow.
Back leading: Follows, kick that habit before it’s too late! I know it’s hard to do in this modern-day social mindset we’ve gotten into. But at least for the duration of the song, you need to let him do his job and lead. You will be amazed at how good it feels to be able to shut off your brain and go where the movement takes you. You may even find more enjoyment in your dancing.
Also, see my previous articles below for helpful dancing terminology.