"Top 5 Tips for Leading on the Dancefloor"
From Justin - Manager at the Arthur Murray Plano Studio
1. Don't be afraid to dance straight through the lady- it creates the clearest lead/direction for her to follow.
2. Don't be afraid to use repetition as a tool for fixing a lead- many times a hiccup or issue will work itself out after a couple more tries.
3. Don't squeeze your partner- you need to provide a space for her to occupy, then let her do her job to stay there.
4. There are 3 layers to Lead and Follow- Man leads, Lady responds, Man responds to the Lady's response. A good leader is clear about direction and timing; a great leader makes sure he takes into account his partner's balance, momentum, and weight transfer when deciding how he leads.
5. Make yourself look good first, then make your partner look good. This sounds like it goes against the last thought, but you can't be a good leader if your posture is suffering or you're off balance. Take care of your own responsibilities first, then you can be the strong, clear leader she needs.
From Ian - Manager at the Arthur Murray Dallas Studio
- Realize early on, that the best approach when leading is the direct approach. While you're doing your best to NOT step on her toes and take care of her, you're also making your movement much more difficult for her to feel. And, in the end, it's coming across like you're babying her instead of taking care of her. She's an adult. Treat her as such. If she gets her hooves stepped on, it's her fault. She should move them out of the way.
2. Less Is More
- I know that in the beginning we all think that leading equals "moving" the lady. And that's just not so. She has to move herself through whatever I lead. A lead is just a suggestion, and she can choose whether to follow or be wrong. This especially applies to turns. Gentlemen: You must learn that a lady is not a bus without power steering, nor are you churning butter. Hold your hand up, move yourself, and that's it.
3. Cuban Motion Actually Helps You Lead!
- I know this one comes as a shocker to most of you leaders out there, but Cuban Motion isn't just cosmetic. It does have a functional purpose. While your feet are keeping you on time, your body helps to keep her on time, so she has something to do between steps when the actual MUSIC is playing. Without body action, you're just stepping around in circles trying to look cool.
- Right off the bat, we're taught to rotate left, as this is the easiest movement to make socially. However, we've all been on a crowded dance floor, and gotten stuck in the middle because we kept doing Waltz boxes. Rotating to the right helps you navigate on the OUTSIDE of the floor, and makes you much more mobile. Plus, it's keeps the lady on her toes, as she never knows which way you're going to go until it actually happens. And ALL ladies, no matter their personality or experience, like a good challenge.
5. Be Consistent
- Frame is everything. If you can just learn how to hold it and not move it, you're got most of the hard work done. But, we like to all kinds of fun twisty, turny things while we lead. It definitely adds some spice, doesn't it? But, in the process, we often look like we're having spasms or trying to eat our own shoulders because we're trying to lead a Foxtrot grapevine by shimmying. Not cute. Stay still and just move. You'l look better, lead better, and become a much more desireable partner for ladies of all levels.