This is a post about what followers want from their dance partners to have a more enjoyable dance. Maybe a little biased article, since it’s from my point of view, but I’m sure some of you can relate. So here’s a peek into a follower’s mind and what leaders can do to make the dance a better experience for us.
Find connection and build trust first. Zouk people often start the dance with a hug (like a close hold) and it feels really nice. This can be applied to kizomba and sensual bachata as well. Don’t start throwing me into dips or head movements in the first 15 seconds of a song, I’ll most likely be stressed out by that. If you’re doing more complicated stuff at the beginning, make it slow. This also ties into paying attention to the music – all songs start with lower energy, thus you should match your dance to that.
Have Good Musicality
Know how to play with music in your dance. If you’re not good at musicality, definitely try to improve this aspect! I actually have a blog post about it that might help. Musicality is super fun and really the essence of dancing. A lot of moves that you can use for expressing music are simple but effective – it’s easy to add more of those into your vocabulary.
Have Good Basics
Good technique in basics spiced with musicality is the magic formula of a good dance for me. If you think you know your basics, think again. Ballet dancers are still practising basic moves even after years of stage experience. Complicated stuff is purely optional and doesn’t impress me unless you are extremely good at leading this and I am able to follow. Besides, most of your dance is based on basics (hence the name) and if you’re not doing them properly, your dance as a whole will be weak.
Test My Limits Carefully
You should always adjust your level to your partner. If you decide to do complicated and advanced stuff on dance floor, try out the easier version first to see if I can handle it. If yes, try the full version. If it’s way too difficult for me, don’t do the move, you’ll just kill the vibe and make me look bad. With complicated stuff it often happens that your partner’s body might not be strong or flexible enough to do those kinds of moves, so it really doesn’t help if you try something repeatedly. Learn the follower’s part to understand which moves require higher fitness and flexibility levels or ask your follower friends.
Soft lead feels nice, as well as communicates trust and respect towards your partner. I know some followers prefer a stronger and others softer lead, but to me it doesn’t make sense to waste unnecessary energy on heavy leading. You’ll want to have all this extra power to dance until early morning. Some leaders complain that beginner followers seem to need a “stronger” lead, but honestly I think this would create bad habits for both. Simply try to be clearer, not stronger. You should never ever push or pull ANYONE, even if they don’t understand what you are asking for, this is just rude and aggressive.
Let’s not forget that this is why we’re all here! Focusing on technique too much makes your face super serious, that is something you want to avoid at parties. It’s not like you’re at a competition. And even if you are, a serious face isn’t going to give you extra points. Maybe there should be more practice parties which are meant for training moves, so that the real parties can be just for pure fun? Also – if you don’t like the song they’re playing, your boredom will show, perhaps skip this dance and wait for the next song.
To summarise, followers want you to know the basic steps well, enjoy and play with the music and make sure your dance partner feels comfortable too. Leaders, passing the mic over to you: what do you need from followers to have nicer dances at socials?