Lead and follow... Lead and follow

This week, I thought I would write a little bit about “lead” and “follow”. Sure, you’ve heard it all before… from your teachers, your partners, even me… “the man leads and the lady follows.” But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I have often heard men say things like, “I don’t like dancing with her. She’s too wild” or “She doesn’t follow well.” …or, ladies saying things like, “I can’t dance with him. His lead is too weak” or “I don’t like dancing with him ‘cause he throws me around the dance floor.”

In Argentina, it is customary to dance three dances with your partner – in a row. The belief is that the first dance is normally a disaster as you’re getting to know each other. The second dance is normally a little better, ‘cause now you’re beginning to feel each other. The third dance is normally when it all clicks and you’re really enjoying each other now.

However, even then, you may not feel his lead... or tame that wild pony… and still you may not feel like this is some one you enjoy dancing with. If we all remember why we dance, then maybe we can look at all this a bit differently. We dance because it’s fun. We enjoy ourselves and we enjoy each other. We enjoy the music and we enjoy the movement. It’s when we forget to enjoy our roles in the dance… that’s when we forget to enjoy our partners, the music and the whole dance… and that’s when we hear things like “I don’t like dancing with him” or “I can’t dance with her.”

When your partner’s lead is weak or if she’s not following you… it’s not because he’s a bad dancer or that she’s got no rhythm… we’re all just dancers trying to enjoy ourselves and each other. When you can’t get her to do that Gancho… see it as a challenge… lead her back to the Gancho again and again… change your lead a little each time until you get her to Gancho. …and when she does eventually do the Gancho? You have learnt how to lead this particularly individual lady, and, I promise you, you will feel much better about yourself, your partner and the dance.

Ladies! If his lead is weak… see it as a challenge to become more sensitive to this man and what he is trying to get you to do… provide more resistance to force him to strengthen his lead. If he is dancing off the beat… resist more, slow down and dance on the beat… or forget the beat and just dance with the man – enjoy dancing with the man.

Whatever you do, always challenge your own dancing ability to find a way to enjoy your partner. Don’t see them as being weak or lousy dancers. See them as giving you the opportunity to improve and, therefore, enjoy your role in the dance more.

Everyone we dance with gives us the opportunity to enjoy - and improve - ourselves. So even when the experience is not that pleasant, see that partner as a challenge… but know also that he or she will always get better… and one day may turn out to be the most enjoyable partner to dance with.