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Game Changing Advice on How To Become a Smoother Salsa Lead

The Magical Concept of Cause & Effect

Today we’re gonna help you become a smoother lead by talking about a magical concept called “cause and effect.” Now, why do I say it’s magical? Well, if you use cause and effect you can do less and get better results. It’s going to make your lead smoother and the follow’s job so much easier. It’s going to make you’re you’re dancing look better, feel better and the ladies (the follows) are going to love you for it. They’re going to appreciative it a ton.

Demonstrating Cause & Effect

When it comes to doing turns, watch as I give Scarlet a free turn. That’s a basic right turn but doing it as a free turn. My job is to initiate and give a clear suggestion but it’s not my job to make her do it. If she relies on me to complete her whole turn then we’re in trouble because I’m probably leading something that she’s not ready for. So if the follow is not aware that, no matter what, she has to keep stepping, then that’s a clue that you’re doing a move that’s over her head.

When she continues stepping, I’m able to steer her okay. For that reason, it’s key that the follow can keep time. I give a suggestion and she completes the turn. Now if I don’t do that and instead I give more than just a suggestion and I make her complete the turn, that’s just ridiculous right? So if it’s ridiculous for a free turn then it’s also ridiculous for a basic turn. So what a lot of leaders do is they start the turn and then they pull her out of the turn dragging her through, basically over leading.

With cause and effect, I can even let go and you can apply the same principle with a cross body lead. I initiate the movement, the “cuase” and after that, I don’t need to keep pushing her through that move. That’s what a lot of newcomers will do. I mean even people who have been dancing a long time, they might not execute this well because they collapse their frame. If you collapse your frame, the follow feels nothing. No lead at all. But if I basically keep my frame, she’ll feel a pull. Okay so now once I’ve done the work on the first four counts by initiating the movement for the cross body lead, the effect can be easy. If I wanted to do something else on the second half of the cross body I could be busy doing it. As opposed to students who start trying to lead the second half. If you have to lead the second half of a cross body lead, then it’s clear that you didn’t give the cause which is the pull effect.

Two Things You Need to Make Cause & Effect Work

To create the cause — the pull in the cross body lead — you need two things. First, both partners need good posture and frame. This creates the structure allowing you to communicate between each other. Secondly, when the lead shifts his weight, it causes his frame to move. And when his frame moves, that creates the pull. Now, what Patrick’s explaining here is if the lead collapses his frame, his whole structure collapses. Once that happens, even if he shifts his weight, the follow won’t feel a pull and, therefore, there is no cause. There is nothing that initiates the movement and direction for the follow.

Your Role As a Lead

The idea is simple. The leads job is to initiate a movement with a clear signal and the follows job is to finish it. It is not the leads job to lead the whole move and it’s not the follows job to guess what’s coming. This concept can be applied to virtually any partner dance: bachata, hustle, zook, swing, a bit less to kizomba and samba because there’s a bit less momentum going on but definitely salsa. So what are the prerequisites for cause and effect? Well, in any partner dance you have a lead and a follow and each person needs to play their 50% in order for things to work. The lead needs to lead and the follower needs to follow. Without this separation, cause and effect won’t work and the dance will probably end up being a hot mess.

Final Thoughts

In, summary becoming a smoother lead is all about knowing when to lead and when knowing not to lead. It’s also allowing the follow to do her job — her 50%. Once you initiate a movement, you can shape it and direct it but you there’s no need to force things. If you enjoyed this, leave me a comment below. Let me know what you found super helpful. If you have ideas for the next video, let me know. I’d love to see what you all want to learn next.