Social Dancing: An Imperfect Conversation
Social Dancing is a conversation. Not a perfect presentation. Like any conversation, social dancing is prone to its fair share of misunderstandings. At some point, it’s inevitable that a lead will initiate a move and the follow won’t respond as expected, so let’s talk about how each partner can respond in a situation like this.
When this happens, the lead is getting misinterpreted. Whether it’s his fault or the follow’s, it’s irrelevant. What’s important is how the lead deals with the miscommunication and how he chooses to react next.
What to do when your partner doesn’t respond
Leads, If you initiate a step and your partner doesn’t respond, try to be more clear the next time you try that movement. If she doesn’t catch on the second time around, it’s likely that one of two things happened.
- Your lead was unclear
- She was unable to interpret your lead
In either case, it’s a good idea to drop that move altogether and move on to something else. Since you’re social dancing, there’s no reason to try it repetitively until you both get it right. It’s just not necessary. Swallow your pride and don’t get physical. It’s not worth forcing her through a step just so you feel accomplished. Any forceful movement is abusive to your partner and could result in a new injury or aggravate one she already has.
Leads: Be flexible
The lead should be adjusting the overall level of dance to the follow, not forcing movements. The interaction between partners should remain soft and smooth. Great technique allows for movement to be efficient, fast and gentle. If your interaction feels forced or awkward, something isn’t right. Tone down what you’re doing and find a compromise.
Listen before you speak
Leads, as you begin a new dance, get a sense of your partner’s ability and style before sending her through a whack load of crazy steps. Maybe she’s not ready for them. Maybe she has an injury. You have no idea, so act accordingly.
Ultimately, you’ll never know what your partner is bringing to the dance, so be aware of the possibilities and be ready and willing to adjust your dancing to make the experience a pleasurable one.
Follows: Use your discretion
If you feel like your partner is being too forceful, it’s important to use your discretion and avoid him if you feel unsafe. Don’t feel bad turning down a second dance if there’s a good reason for it. Your health is important. Stay happy, stay healthy.
Over to you
Have any interesting/awkward social dance stories? Give us the good, the bad and the ugly. Share in the comments below.
If you want to check out more Salsa tips like this one, head on over to our Salsa Tips page.