Gentleman leads, lady follows.
She must wait for him.
He’s in charge.
These are the most common things that all dancers hear throughout. Teachers usually say them without really explaining what they really mean. So is the lady dancer inferior to a gent? In this post, let’s look at who is more important in a dance partnership.
What is expected of a man/leader in dancing?
- Choosing a spot on a dance floor and placing of the partner
- Giving clear directions to the partner during the dance
- Knowing his and her choreography to lead well
- Waiting for a partner until she’s fully balanced
- Thank the partner at the end of the dance and assist her off the floor
What is NOT expected of a man/leader in dancing?
- Physically moving the partner
- Offering shoulders to lean on
What is expected of a lady/follower in dancing?
- Allowing the partner to choose a spot on a dance floor
- Waiting for indication of directions
- Knowing her timing and choreography
- Be able to dance her routine with or without a leader
- Be always ready to move
- Allowing the partner to end the dance
What is NOT expected of a lady/follower in dancing?
- Squeezing the man’s hands and overusing him to push off
- Leaning on him
So here are the most important things leaders and followers should do on the dance floor. You can see how these actually complement each other. The main point I am trying to make is that even though you dance in a partnership, you are still an individual dancer and ARTIST. You’re in charge of creating your own art. So, if you’re a follower, and always wait for a leader to “push” you to take steps, you will never be in control of your art form. Every artist must know their craft inside and out.
I like to describe Ballroom and Latin partnership as symbiotic, that is co-existence of two organisms, beneficial for both. In other words, the beauty of our dance style is taking two individual artists, putting them together in harmony to create art pieces that would never be achieved if performed solo, or if one overpowers the other.
Leader- you’re an ARTIST, not a baby sitter or a dictator!
Follower- you’re an ARTIST, not a puppet!
So with all that in mind, who do you think is more important in your dance partnership?
Some time ago I wrote an article about leading and following. Make sure you read it. You can find it HERE.
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Photo credits: Maggiore Fotografico