About Andrew Weitzen the Author of How to Dance with a Partner

Klezmer dancing at the Florida Folk Festival.
Klezmer dancing at the Florida Folk Festival.

That is me Andrew Weitzen in the blue jeans leading klezmer dancing at the Florida Folk Festival.

I invented the ABCDs to teach Israeli folk dancers how to dance with a partner. The ABCDs turned out to be so effective that you can lead and follow every step in every social dance that we know.

I am not a professional dancer. I am a regular guy that likes to dance. I was trying to solve a problem.

In Israeli folk dancing, the partner dances are choreographed. The women memorize their part. The men memorize their part. Then the men and women get together to wrestle with one another to see who is right.

That is a joke but not far from the truth. The wrestling causes a lot of problems. These problems happen in all social dances.

When I moved back to my home town, I started organizing Israeli folk dancing and swing dancing groups. I had been doing a lot of other kinds of dancing like Argentine tango, ballroom, cajun, contra, country western, salsa, waltz, zydeco, and other social dances. I felt there was too much emphasis on choreography. I wanted to focus on communication.

In my Israeli partner dancing group, rather than have the women memorize their parts, I decided to teach the men to lead and the women to follow.

Israeli partner dancing incorporates dances from all over the world, including American, Arabic, Balkan, Brazilian, cha-cha, Latin, hambo, mazurka, polka, samba, salsa, swing, Russian, tango, waltz, Yemenite, and more. Since Israeli dances are choreographed by professionals and since people are expected to memorize the dances, the choreography is often more complex than most people normally do in any of those other dances done as lead and follow.

Things are better with a partner. You need someone to take your picture.
Things are better with a partner. You need someone to take your picture.

Experienced Israeli dancers know hundreds of Israeli partner dances which is a lot of choreography. Any method to teach Israeli dancers how to dance with a partner should work with many other dances.

In trying to organize the hundreds of pointers I had learned, I found that what people were doing in lead and follow dances was inadequate as a means of communicating unambiguously. Instead, I came up with a simple method for communicating all the steps. The method works so well that women can follow every Israeli partner dance without learning the steps. The method also works for every other social dance that we have tried.

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