This article is for those of you that have been dancing for some time and want to take your leading to the next level. You’ve probably heard that you need to “be decisive” and “not hesitate” whenever you lead your partner into any move – and that’s very true. But as your dancing skills get better, you can now take it a step further. With the 3 tips below you will be able to almost guarantee a pleasant dancing experience with any partner, at any level, every single time.
1. Always “Test drive” first
Whenever you start dancing with someone new your first priority should be to “test drive” her skills. I don’t mean this in a sarcastic way, but in a genuine way, you need to find out her dancing level and what moves she knows and doesn’t know. This will help you gage what kind of moves you can lead her into so that the dancing is fun for the both of you! There is no use to “throw “ a beginner around just to force a complicated turn on her that she is not ready for… This will not end up being pleasant for the both of you. Instead lead her through the basics first and then gradually try harder and harder moves and see how she follows them. Within 30 seconds you should have an idea of her level is and now you can comfortably lead her into the moves appropriate for her level and make it a fun social dancing experience.
2. Lead with your entire “being”
This may first sound a bit “woo hoo” but trust me it will make a lot of sense. Too often I see guys trying to lead their partners with just their arms alone. For example, they raise their arms up to indicate a turn and are surprised when their partners don’t follow. I’m here to tell you that it’s not just about arms… You have to use deliberate body language and intention to make sure your lead is followed. In other words you have to commit 100% to the lead… So if we come back to trying to lead an underarm turn example; you have to use your eyes, stretch of spine, your center and legs in addition to raising the arms up to make it a successful lead. This kind of lead is a lot stronger and more committed. Try it out next time.
3. Go with it
What if I told you a good leader follows just as much as he leads? That’s right, you must listen to your partner as much as she listens to you. You need to sense her balance, her strengths/weaknesses and energy to know how to lead her well. If you notice she got out of balance on the last turn, maybe you can go with it and make it into a new move. Sometimes the girls will just start leading themselves, and the more you resist the more difficult the dancing will be. Instead go with it and then at some point you can take the reins over again. Don’t be a control freak. Instead enjoy following just as much as leading.
I hope these tips resonated with you. You can try them out for real next time you go out dancing. If you want to learn Ballroom dancing please visit us at Passion4dancing.com where we have over 100 video lessons. And if you are interested in learning other dance styles visit Learntodance.com.
Written by: Leon Turetsky
Professional Ballroom dance teacher
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