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A Good Lead: 9 Unforgettable Ways To Be One

Want to dance a lot more and be remembered every time you do?

Then you’re in the right place. Today you’ll learn about having the right personality of a good leader.

In this article, I’m going to show how the characteristics of a good lead that I’ve used and has taken my dancing to a whole new level.

The best part? All of these are proven tips that will bring you a better dancing experience for many years to come.

Guys, let’s do this!

ONE

A good lead knows It's all about the lady

A Good Leader. It is all about the lady

Guys, this is and will ALWAYS be what you need to understand both on the dance floor and throughout your day-to-day activities. Any good story begins with a girl.

Even if your partner is not as good of a dancer as you are, one of the qualities of a good leader is that YOU should always give her your full attention for the duration of the dance.

Chatting over her shoulder with friends or engaging in other kind of behaviors demonstrate your lack of interest and can not only hurt your partner’s feelings but can also make you look like a jerk to everyone else.

This is very important thing to keep in mind because women are always paying attention, and they talk to their friends about their experiences.

Even if you don’t want to dance with that person again, your behavior could disgust the friends she came with, who you may want to dance with later in the evening.

And if one day the follower goes on to become an amazing dancer, it is likely that she will remember your rudeness and possibly reject you or treat you the same way you treated her.

In other words, it is all about the lady. This is the first commandment of dancing.

TWO

Pay attention to your surrounding

A Good Leader. Pay attention to your surrounding​

This is another characteristic of a good lead ( a good leader ) that I consistently apply every time I’m dancing socially.

Be aware of the space available to you. I understand leaders are not superheroes on the dance floor but if we are all paying attention to our surroundings and making sure the ladies are out of harm’s way, they will be very appreciative of our efforts and they will remember our nice gestures. 

If you find that the dance floor is packed, keeping your steps small, your arm movements tight, and a consistent frame will help you secure the lady and better control your dance movements.

Especially because women wear dangerously high heels at times, they can do a lot of damage or hurt themselves if we are careless with them.

Adopt the personality of a good lead ( a good leader ) by saving the big dance steps moves for when you have the space. Just because you looked and saw space there a second ago, doesn’t mean there isn’t someone there now who just moved into that space.

Your eyes should always precede movement. One of the most common ways to injure your partner during a turn, is to allow your elbow to get ahead of your eyes. I have seen nasty, permanent, painful scars on the front of women feet and it is not a pretty sight. It is hard for me to understand why they would endure such cruelty when they’re out on the dance floor.

Some ways to avoid these kinds of mishaps are:
1. Do not dance too close to the tables.
2. Avoid dancers that appear to be intoxicated.
3. Move away from those who seem very disrespectful on the dance floor.

I always encourage my students to dance in a straight line. This simple tip will help you to control your space to the best of your ability and maximize what you are able to do every single time.

In a perfect world, dancers would have complete control of the situation. But at every gathering, you STILL see people that have no sense of their surroundings, which may prevent others from enjoying their experience.  It is too bad, so sad.

THREE

Conduct yourself like a gentleman

A Good Leader. Conduct yourself like a gentleman

Another quality of a good lead ( a good leader ) is to be considerate of other dancers and stay in your space. They are also there to enjoy themselves, just like you are.

If you do bump into someone, please do not ignore the situation.

Make eye contact and apologize at that moment if you can. Gentlemen, please respect your partner and treat her with care. She is entrusting you with her safety and this needs to be the prime consideration in every leading decision you make.

This guideline alone will go a long way if you make an effort to do it every time and everywhere. Try it and reap the benefits of become a good leader.

FOUR

Master the art of connection

A Good Leader. Master the art of connection

You hear the expression “it takes two to tango,” but what you don’t hear is you need the connection between the two to do the tango.

So, what is connection

Connection is the awareness and understanding of your dance partner. It encompasses how you hold, touch, or feel your partner’s body.  Depending of what kind of dance, it is important to understand how to communicate successfully with your partner.

Having a good a connection is also what allows you to know if your partner is doing OK. If she likes or dislikes what is happening or if you need to make further adjustments for a better dance experience.

In other words: connection is your awareness of the other person (or people) you are dancing with.

In some cases, connection has been elevated above every other aspect of the dance. While connection is a deep foundation for every dance style, it is important to remember that it is not the whole dance, just a part of it.

Connection can be taught. It can also be partially learned through experience and awareness. The more emphasis you put on being able to understand and interpret your partner’s body, the more successful you will be.

This is another quality of a good leader. It is time for you to get the new personality of a good leader.

FIVE

Be aware of your footing and your body placement

A Good Leader. Your footing and your body Placement​

In the simple terms, this is where your positioning is in relation to the step within the dance.

Some examples are where you place your foot on a basic step, how far you need to move, or if you’re supposed to walk forward. This is more about you knowing what your own body is supposed to do rather than what your partner might be asking for. Remember, you lead, she follows. In other words, if you are a good leader then she is going to be a good follower.

In order to be able to lead your partner through all kinds of things very successfully, you have to have a solid foundation of steps. This will help you with what your feet are supposed to do.

As a result, you will be able to lead more complex variations and present a more pleasant aesthetic.

Another element that is super important in relation to where your body is supposed to be is weight transfer.  Weight transfer may be the difference between stepping straight like a robot or looking silky smooth by bending your knees as you transfer your weight as you step.

This will give you an easy and natural stepping action. Think like you’re walking and how easy that feels.

If you want to develop this skill, group classes are a good way to start but private instruction is the way to go hands down. Some things can be learned through observation but be aware that it is sometimes difficult to comprehend what you’re seeing and understand why it’s happening.

SIX

Control your timing

A Good Leader. You Timing

This is a core part of every dance. While it is possible to dance without it, it’s certainly not ideal. Timing is what dictate if all the elements of a complex step or single steps of a dance can be achieved.

This is what help you create magic. You can express the feeling, vibe, or the attitude of any steps.

Stepping in count is and forever be your best friend. If you prefer to dance ON1 style, the count of 1 and 5 will be your markers. But if you like to adventure to dance ON2 style, the count of 2 and 6 will be marker. These are where you emphasis should be in simple terms.

The best way to learn this is by listening to and understanding the music, in conjunction with practicing the steps with the songs

SEVEN

Know when to make it happen

A Good Leader. Knowing When To Make It Happen

Once you have a better grasp on how the mechanics of a step are greatly and directly influenced by timing, you will know when to make it happen.

You can understand where you need to be and when you need to emphasis body motion to get the desired outcome of the step.

But, if you can’t express that knowledge through your body, you won’t be able to utilize it.

This skill is formed by practicing, drilling, classes, exercises, and experience. It’s your ability to manifest your dance knowledge through your main instrument, your body. The only way to do this, simply put, is practice.

EIGHT

Lead intelligently

A Good Leader. Lead intelligently

I understand that many of you may have been taught the idea that you need to use a lot of muscles to get moves to happen. This could be because of followers that resist your lead, or because you think you need to be forceful in order to be clear.

Really you don’t need to be forceful. You just need to lead intelligently.

You should also understand that a forceful lead is not necessary for everybodyMoreover, understand that many followers will respond to lighter leading, especially if they are only given light leads.

As my mother likes to say,

“If you treat them right and are full of kindness, they will treat you back the same way you did.”

So, if you’re dancing with a follower who is particularly rough or stiff, it is probably because they have been handled too harshly and have adjusted their frames in order to protect themselves.

You often can fix this by providing a softer and clear lead. Focus on quality connection not brute force.

A well calibrated lead and delicate touch is heaven for the follower, I know.

The follower who prefers a light lead likes it is because it can be extraordinary. They feel intelligent, suave and sexy. Feeling safe it is good thing to them. In addition, this make them feel your considerate, welcoming, and inviting behavior.

Dancing with them requires less energy and be more sophisticated, therefore, making you a better dancer. As I mentioned before, it’s all about the lady.

Leading intelligently is another characteristic of a good lead. 

NINE

Learn to communicate physically

A Good Leader. The Physical Communication

Partner dancing is a non-verbal but physical communication. We interact with one another mainly by touch. When you dance, you are able to communicate with her clearly, kindly, gently, and playfully. Right? Right!

You can convey enormous amounts of information about the way you’re feeling the music by the way your favorite steps give you energy and with the way that you use your body.

Avoid at all costs manhandling your partners though, of course.

If a follower says that your physical communications are ‘too light’ to be followed, that just means they are a lazy dancer because they don’t want use of their own body or power to complete the step. There, I said it.

You can be as light as you want! Your physical communications can be so light you lead gently with one finger. Of course, it requires a light follower to follow a light leader, but when the two of you match up, it is awesome.

Remember, you can either scare somebody OR you can give them the best time of their life.

In the social dance culture, people are not all that courteous most of the time, but they can be! All we have to do is think and want to be care-takers. It could mean a world of difference to your partner, if you think considerately about what they are experiencing on the dance floor.

The quality of dancing over the quantity of dancing. We can elaborate and enhance our ideas of what it means to be a good leader.  And you can, in doing so, become more connected dancers.

Conclusion

Everyone talks about how to be memorable on the dance floor and how to develop the characteristics of a good lead ( a good leader ).

When you find yourself dancing at the club, keep all these proven tips in mind as you dance. Do like Nike and ‘just do it.’

If you decide not to follow the above principles, you will find yourself spinning your wheels and creating a shaky foundation that will not help you become a good lead ( a good leader ).

So, lead intelligently. Use your physical communication to give her a clear signal. Make sure to express your knowledge through your body.

Take advantage of timing to get total control of your dancing. Master the elusive art of connection and don’t forget to always be a gentleman. Finally, your dancing should always be about her, not you.

Happy Dancing!
your dance studio  |  YDS

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