Sometimes I get to the end of a social dance to realize that I spent about 3 minutes dancing with someone and never looked once at them. Yikes. Guilt ensues.
But this isn't just me feeling embarassed that I never acknowledged them as another human dancing with me, it's also important for good dancing technique.
Recently I took a workshop on swivels that started by discussing counts 5 & 6 of the swingout. The instructor told us that it's really important to keep looking at your lead during these counts as doing so enables you to engage the correct muslces of your back when going into the swivel rotations. She had us try variations where we looked and didn't look at our leads and the different was stark. It was simply much harder to engage the lats and obliques when looking away from the lead.
I tried this out in my own practice last week and it helped a ton. My partner asked me what I had changed about my swingouts because they felt a lot better. I chalk it up to looking at him (as well as probably some other swivel technique that I'll go into later). Of course, I'm not trying to look at him only on the 5 & 6 but throughout the dance. Doing this also helps and pairs with sternum seeking, such as looking at your lead throughout a tuck turn would help with that rotation.