Here is a great article written by Kimberly Robinson after a girls night out last week. Thanks Kimberly!
Guest Write: Kimberly Robison
Article: What Women Want
Put a bunch of salsa affictionadas at the same table, and you’re bound to get an energetic conversation full of opinions. The conversation last night lead to a discussion about leading and following. Our conclusion was the more the leaders learn and advance, the more the followers can’t keep up.
Let me back up.
As the salsa bug takes over the leader’s heart, he starts taking private lessons, salsa workshops and goes to all the salsa congresses, picking up amazing turn patterns and awesome checks. Of course he can’t wait to try them out on the dance floor. Like a skilled orchestra conductor he masterfully waves his hands to lead triple turns, contortionist arm movements and coca-colas that are anything but vanilla. It’s all supposed to look beautiful, just like the instructor showed. The leader looks expectantly at the girl, with a twinkle in his eye thinking she should be impressed, but in reality she looks like she’s either about to trip over her own feet or pass out from dizziness and exhaustion.
A music composer may be able to write brilliant musical melodies and harmonies on paper, but unless he actually plays an instrument, he can’t be certain that the music will be playable. There are only so many fingers on a hand and keys on a piano. Hands can only stretch so far and fingers can only move so fast. There are limits. The same thing goes with dancing. While in theory, these fantastic dance moves should work, they don’t necessarily work in a salsa club. Salsa is all about timing. This goes for the music and it goes for the dance as a whole. Though a follower may appreciate a high-intensity dance, there are times when she would like some smoothness and playfulness and variation.
Sometimes both leaders and followers forget that salsa is a partner dance. It’s not about showing off what skills YOU have, it’s about working together to make both of you shine. The only way to truly understand just what a leader or follower goes through is to swap roles. You may feel like you’re starting from scratch as you go back to the basics, but at least you will fully understand and even learn to appreciate the other half of salsa.
Even with greatness, it’s always better to eat humble pie than take a turn down arrogance lane. Once you’ve mastered leading, try to master following and you’re guaranteed to not only learn how to lead better, you’ll become a well rounded salsero and make the dance enjoyable for all!