Monday, February 19, 2018


Experience the joy of dancing, share magical moments, embrace the music, and embark of a voyage of discovery. 
Social partner dancing is not the same as formal, or international style ballroom dancing, each style has its own different set of unique virtues.

With formal international ballroom dancing, dancers strive for precision and perfection in their movements. These dancers spend a lot of time working on their form and shaping as they strive to develop better lines.

Social dancing is more of a casual, informal, and intuitive dance. Although there is structure to social dancing just as it is with international ballroom, it is okay to deviate from norms and rules as the dance welcomes musical interpretation, experimentation, imagination, improvisation and spontaneity. Freedom of expression is synonymous with this style of dancing.

The difference between a piano player or a studio musician, and a great pianist, is that one person is skilled at reading and playing notes, while the other is an artist that plays with emotion and fully expresses himself. There is a similarity when it comes to dancing, some dance to steps, whereas the great dancers will dance with passion and sabor.

Frankie Manning, the Ambassador of Lindy Hop shared his approach to dancing, "The music...fashioned my style of dancing." Recognized as a great salsa dancer by his peers, Frankie Martinez stated "A good dancer is not learned; you only learn the basic steps and shines.  There is something in all of us that comes out through dancing that sets us apart from one other.  How we feel music and express it is unique to each one of us. need to be true to your feelings and of course practice makes perfect.....My way of dancing is a mix of basics and instincts applied to modern day music blending yesterday and today."

Jimi Hendrix, one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, didn't read music or study theory, but his guitar sang like no other because he could hear the music in his head and he played from his heart. Just as it inspired Hendrix and Frankie Manning, let the music be your guiding light. When asked about the secret to her success in writing music, multiple Grammy award winner and Gershwin Prize recipient Carole King said, "I try to get out of the way and let the process be guided by whatever is guiding me."

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Whats happening in town:

NEW EVENT! Son Caribe's newest venue is now at Rumfire at the Sheraton Resort Hotel in Waikiki. Wednesday nights starting at 9:30 p.m. 

Kingpins this Thursday at St. Louis alumni hall. 

🎼 For other places to dance this week. Click on the page link which is set out to the right of this blog, or if you cannot view it then you may click here Other dancing places this week and see also, staradvertiser's weekly TGIF music and nightlife calendar on the internet.

 🎺  NEW SALSA DANCE NEWSLETTER! This is by far the MOST informative dance website in town for those who enjoy salsa/bachata and latin dancing. For all of the current Salsa/Bachata/Merenge dance events that are happening this week, please visit Pamela's website at: 

Other latin dancing sites:  and

                                                                   Enjoy this salsa dance!

🎷 West Coast Swing dances at the Palladium click on the page link which is set out to the right of this blog, or if you cannot view it then you may click here  "WCSwing dancing at the Palladium"


A beginning dancer learns prescribed steps. An intermediate dancer knows the
steps and is learning to sharpen their techniques. The advanced dancer knows a multitude of techniques and can amalgamate many movements with ease. Their use of syncopation techniques allow them to play and have fun with the rhythm. Instead of limiting the dance to prescribed steps, the advanced dancer will focus on expression and musical interpretation through improvisation. This is an enlightened way of dancing in its purest and highest form. Sit back and enjoy this improvisational West Coast swing dance by champion dancer Michael Kielbasa and his dance partner Naomi.  

EDITORIAL COMMENT -  It is okay to not be 'correct'. Some dancers take this activity too seriously as they place too much emphasis on being correct and precise, instead the FOCUS should be on making the dance a comfortable and pleasant one for those that we dance with. All the dance skill in the world does not amount to a whole lot if you cannot dance to the comfort level and to the enjoyment of your partners. Dancing should be fun, not mind boggling, exasperating or frustrating. This is why we should learn to be flexible and be able to modify and adapt when dancing with others, more so when the other person is not familiar with a particular dance style, or relatively new to dancing. Social dancing is about getting our partners involved in the dance so that they can enjoy this fabulous experience regardless of their skill level.  As you begin to dance with many others of varying skill sets you will come to realize that everyone dances differently, and that no two persons dance alike. The joy in dancing comes when you are able to share a dance  with a complete stranger while at the same time seeing them smile and enjoy themselves. It is this form of communication and spreading the joy that makes social dancing so special and thrilling, and one that keeps us going back for more. If everyone that dances is willing to find a common ground whereby they can share the joy of dancing with others, this world would definitely be a much better place.


1. You are relatively new to dancing and trying your earnest best to dance, the lady that you are dancing with cuts you no slack and is constantly looking at other couples dancing nearby, seems bored, doesn't smile, and rolls her eyes whenever you try a lead, do you apologize and walk her off the dance floor, or do you grin and bear it (the longest 3 minutes of your life) until the song is over?
2. Like most dancers that go to clubs intermittently you are not that serious about dancing and just want to have some fun for the evening.  You took couple of dance lessons in the past but never really pursued it. A stranger asks you for a dance and he immediately begins to comment about your dancing and what you need to do in order to dance what he considers to be the 'right way.'  Later that evening you dance with another leader who does not make any comments but modifies how he dances with you so the both of you can enjoy dancing together. Which dancer would you look forward to dancing with again?

3. When you dance with a stranger and she misses a basic lead, do you think it didn't work because the follow lacked the recognition skill, or does it ever cross your mind that perhaps your lead was not as good as it should be? 

4. You have taken dance lessons for over six months and finally have the courage to venture out to a dance club and try out what you have learned. You ask four ladies to dance, they dance with you once but after that all of them repeatedly decline your invitations, but all is not lost as you finally find someone else to dance with, the next time you go out dancing you spot her but this time she and the four other ladies decline your invitation to dance. Is it time to walk away from dancing, or do you take the rejections as a challenge to become a better leader?  Would it give you more comfort if experienced and accomplished dancers who have danced for many years tell you that they are constantly working on fine tuning their techniques and leading skills.

THERE WILL BE BUMPS IN THE ROAD, AN EDITORIAL COMMENT: The above situations were brought to light because it could and may have happened to some people during their respective journeys. It also serves to point out the effect that certain types of conduct may have on dancers. Some dancers have given up on dancing because of the negativity that they experienced from others. The survivors accepted it as growing pains and took it with a grain of salt, they also realized that not everyone they dance with will be patient, or understanding. Unfortunately, there are confidence killers or buzzkills out there, not only here in the islands but in every dance city in America. When I was first learning how to dance an experienced dancer walked off the dance floor and left me there by myself. I also remember asking ladies to dance and getting several rejections in a row. There were many negative experiences, and like most men just learning how to dance, I asked myself if embarking on this journey was really worth it.  Needless to say I spent many months on the sidelines just watching others dance. It was educational because I realized the work that I would have to put in just to become conversant with dancing. It is definitely not easy being a leader especially when you don't know what to do on the dance floor, or if you confuse your partners with less than clear leads. It isn't much fun however when you are not part of the activity, so I continued to take classes and tried to dance with as many dancers that were willing to share the floor with me. No one likes being rejected, and I am sure that many men have quit dancing before they even had a chance to smell the roses (and this would probably also explain why there are always more women then men dancers). Three of my male friends who took lessons and started dancing the same time as myself, quit out of frustration and never went back. In fact many leaders that I took dance classes with over the years seem to have vanished from the dance scene. I give credit to those men that dance today because they persevered and got through it all, and it was not an easy road for them. For all of the others that quit, one wonders if they had a better experience would they be dancing today?  Probably so, and that is the saddest part of it all. Perhaps if they were more determined they would have stayed. Perhaps if they had more positive encounters they would have stayed. Unfortunately we will never know. Negative vibes is not only something that men leaders experience, because women have also encountered a few buzzkills and negative encounters during their journeys as well.

Before I even began partner dancing, I was at a club watching others dance when I overhead a visitor to the islands say to her friends, "Who the heck does that guy think he is?"  When her friends asked her what had happened, she said the leader disapproved of the way that she was dancing and corrected her by teaching her to dance. As there were other ladies that he corrected on the dance floor that evening, it was obvious that he was a 'fixer'. I suppose in his mind he may have thought that it was his civic duty to help others (to the point of giving strangers a free dance lesson, whether they liked it or not), but it was clearly obvious from her reaction, that she was livid, and upset. As this leader had shattered her confidence and tore her apart, she viewed his conduct as inappropriate to put it mildly. This was my first introduction to the social aspects of dancing at clubs and one that left an indelible mark. What I got from this episode, loud and clear, was that it would suit leaders well if they were are able to 'go with the flow' when dancing with others who didn't know a particular dance style, or those who lacked certain recognition skills. If this person was his regular dance partner and asked him for some lessons, or if they were taking a dance class together and were out just trying to practice what they had learned in class, then that would have been different. This was not the case at all as these ladies were total strangers.

OTHER WAR STORIES: A lady dancer mentioned that a leader once told her and used the word "wrong" repeatedly throughout their dance. She was a beginner at that time, and the experience must have a been crushing blow to her. How can anyone enjoy that kind of dancing experience? A novice lady dancer tried to suppress an experienced leader's musicality and told him that she did not like it when he syncopated with the kick ball change, not only is it a standard movement in the jitterbug, lindy, and swing, but any experienced dancer would be the first to tell you that it is a goal of all of the better dancers to be able to play with the rhythm and to syncopate. A leader lectured a stranger because she failed to finish in her slot, even refusing to let her walk off the dance floor until he was finished with what he had to say. Another lady mentioned a leader corrected her so many times while dancing that she felt paralyzed and intimidated, it got to the point that she was afraid to even move! Did any of these dancers have a fun and exciting dance experience? If your answer is yes, then think again. Sometimes in extreme cases there are certain dancers who will critique and criticize those that they don't even dance with by making comments like "Oh, so and so is not dancing the right way". Not only should these individuals be focusing on their own dancing, but this is precisely this kind of myopic one way to dance type of mentality that casts a dark cloud on the entire social dance scene. Unfortunately there are many of these self anointed 'dance teachers' out there as beginning lady dancers have mentioned that around 80% of the men they dance will try to fix things while they are on the dance floor. Some will count out loud the timing of the footsteps for the ladies to follow with the hope that she will dance to prescribed steps. Others will complain about one's spinning technique when they fail to spin on a dime and drift instead. A lady dancer new to a certain dance style twice told a leader that she didn't know the particular dance that he was trying to teach her, even though it was clear that she was struggling and could not keep up or follow him, he continued to force her to dance his way. Naturally ladies find these types of dancing experiences unsatisfying. This type of behavior is even viewed as controlling, irritating and to some disrespectful. Unfortunately, some dancers have a misguided focus when it comes to social dancing, or they take dancing too seriously. Rather than correct or point out faults in others, they should focus instead on making their partners feel comfortable and  fashion a dance so that they can truly enjoy what should instead be a wonderful experience. The social dancer needs to be resilient and flexible when dancing with others new to the dance scene. Social dancing is not always about following a particular style, or being precise and correct, rather it is more about interaction, communication and more importantly adaption. Unfortunately you probably won't find any dance instructors that teaches their students how to adapt when dancing with others, instead they all teach prescribed steps, and patterns. It therefore follows quite naturally that most dancers who have learned only one way to dance, and who do not have enough social dancing experience, operate under the belief that everyone must dance a certain way, and therein lies the fiction.

Those that are sticklers for prescribed steps, and who try to force others to dance to their way, try to justify their behavior by saying that they are helping others. In reality however, they have no idea of the negative effects that this type conduct has on many of the new dancers. Rather than help, they end up intimidating others, making them feel uncomfortable in the process. Sadly, this kind of behavior does chase some new dancers away from the dance scene, sometimes forever, and that is the regrettable part. In the dance scene, those that take all the fun out of dancing for others are referred to as buzzkills.

We all dance socially to be comfortable, and have fun in our own skin, not to have a complete stranger take our confidence away, or take the wind out of our sails. Unfortunately there will always be a few dancers who take social dancing way too seriously. Some are just anti-social, unfortunately these people never seem to get it because they operate under the belief that their way of dancing is the right way and only way to dance. In the words of West Coast swing guru Skippy Blair, "The only problem that exists in swing is when someone decides there is only one way to dance it. There is NEVER only ONE WAY TO DO ANYTHING...." (emphasis supplied). A noted Argentine tango instructor here in town told his students that men like to "fix things" to be right, but when it comes to dancing they need to get rid of that attitude. Leaders should go with what the lady is doing or giving them and proceed from there with the dance. All dancers should learn to make the best of the situation. Let us not forget that when we first started, we lacked many of the basics and did not know how to dance. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect dance world and those that catch the brunt of the negativity are always the entry level, or beginning dancers. So if you are just beginning your journey, try to develop a thick skin in order that you will not let others scare you away from the dance scene prematurely. Granted taking lessons will definitely help you to learn, but taking this step is up to each individual and is dependent upon his or her goals and priorities.

ANOTHER REASON WHY DANCING SHOULD NOT BE LIMITED TO PRESCRIBED STEPS.  Unfortunately those that dance exclusively to prescribed steps unknowingly can become prisoners of the dance (sometimes you can even hear them counting to themselves). There is actually much more to dancing then dancing this way. The problem is not how they dance, because all beginners will first learn any new dance by the use and application of basic prescribed steps, but it is when they expect others to dance the same way. Most of these dancers operate under the belief that there is only one way to dance. In reality however, the ultimate goal of the truly accomplished dancers is to be able to dance to the music. Learning prescribed steps is only the starting point, and the means to the end when one learns to dance. It is by no means, nor was it meant to be the end result. If you have ever watched a Jack and Jill dance contest, or been to a salsa club, you will hardly see any prescribed steps with the top dancers. What you will see instead is improvisation, as they play with the timing of the music. Dancers that approach the dance from a musicality standpoint know that there is no right or wrong way to interpret any dance score. Dancing to the music fulfills them, and it is their guiding light. Like poetry in motion, these dancers movements appear fluid and effortless. Those who expect others to dance only to steps in reality do show their inflexibility, what these individuals fail to understand is that with social dancing every dancer has their own skill set, style, expression, and musical interpretation that they bring to the dance floor. Its like dancing  in the rain. It is their joy and entitlement and it should be respected. In the real world of club dancing there is no standardized step and style, "...standardization doesn't function because each partner is different", See:

If after awhile you find that dancing to prescribed steps seems more like work than dancing you would not be alone. There will come a time when it feels taxing, and confining, its sort of like being told that you must only dance by following the dots, or in a certain sequence. Watch west coast swing champion Michael Kielbasa's dance (whose video is highlighted above), his dance is an unbridled expression of the music laced with wonderful improvisational aspects and is filled with musicality. In other words, he lets the music move and guide him. One of the world's greatest dancers Fred Astaire said it best, "Don't be a slave to steps and routines."

In order to be an effective social dancer one must learn to 'connect' with their partners, and it is through adaption that you will be able to accomplish this. Good leaders and follows know how to make all of their dance partners feel amazing. The secret to their craft is that rather than take the "my way or the highway" approach to dancing, they will modify how they dance when dancing with others. Humility, kindness, respect and consideration are the virtues of the consummate sociable dancer. Social dancing is being able to have a wonderful conversation with someone else on the dance floor. It is a dialogue, not a lecture or a monologue and most definitely it is not about seeking perfection from others. Social dancing is about inclusivity and participation. Both men and women look forward to dancing with social dancers as they are fun to dance with. These dancers are the true ambassadors of social dancing, and if you ever stopped to notice their dance cards are full for the evening. The key to social dancing is quite simple, so long as people you dance with are doing it safely, enjoy what you can and forget about what is right or wrong. Do resist the urge to be a 'teacher' to others if you are the more experienced dancer, and as the wise owl would say, keep the so called 'helpful tips' and editorial comments to yourself. If you are one who cannot dance with someone unless they have a firm grasp of the basics, or are precise and perfect, then it would be wiser to bring your own exclusive dance partner to dance with instead. A majority of the dancers at clubs are there just to have fun for the evening and are not seriously interested in learning a new dance style (or being told by someone how they should be dancing). In fact it is very rare to find a dancer that knows all of the know popular club dance styles. More importantly, the last thing that anyone needs is for a stranger telling them that what they are doing is inadequate or wrong.

If we all tried to connect with our partners then dancing would definitely be much more pleasant and fun for everyone. So don't be a buzzkill and rain on someone else's parade. Dancing is not much fun if your dance card is always empty or if no one cares to dance with you after having done so once before.

What is really important in social dancing, is having the right dance attitude and mindset,  and being able to 'share' a dance with someone else. Naturally, skill and talent is appreciated, but by itself it is not everything when it comes to social dancing.

Some salient TIPS from experienced lady dancers to beginning lady dancers (if you want to be popular)

1. Whether the Lead is a beginner or advanced, do your best to follow what the Lead gives you during the dance. If the Lead is doing moves you are unable to do, then say with a smile, "I'm more of a beginner," and he should realize that he needs to adapt accordingly.  When you are dancing with a stronger leader, and whenever in doubt as to what your leader is doing, continue to do your basic steps and never stop dancing, or moving your feet. Also follow the lead that you feel, and do not try to guess or move contrary to the lead.

2. Avoid leaning, clinging or hanging onto to your Lead as it restricts his movements. Keep relaxed shoulders and arms but present a frame in closed position.  Rest your hand on top (not behind) of the Lead's shoulder in order to feel the Lead's frame. If there is too much tension in your arms you will pull your leader off of his axis or balance. Make it a policy to hold the Lead's hand or fingers with flexibility, not being too stiff or too strong with your connection, the key is to maintain the connection.  If you dance with a stronger leader pay close attention to your hand connection and maintain it during the dance, letting it slip can be unsettling for leaders. Know when to give tone in your arms and when to relax them. 

3.  Your role as a Follower is to follow what the Lead offers you.  Being able to follow a weaker leader is also a mark of a good dancer. As long as there is no safety issue try your best, smile, and enjoy what you can, in fact you will not find dance compatibility with everyone that you dance with.

4.  Declining dances is your right but there may be consequences. It is your choice when you decide not to dance with someone, but if it is because they are relatively new, or you feel that they are not up to your level then when they become better dancers one day, do not be surprised if you are not on any of their dance lists. You may not remember them but they will surely remember you!  Ladies that are picky, and who will only dance with certain select dancers end up getting fewer dance invites over time, as all of the other up and coming leaders will have learned during their journeys which dancers to avoid asking for dances.

5. Refrain from back leads.  Back leading is when the Follow over-powers a Lead’s lead for any duration, basically she is dancing by herself. This is a common occurrence when more experienced Follows dance with inexperienced Leads and the lady says to herself, “I’ll show him how to do it.”).  Keep in mind the roles in social dance. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices and be more understanding when dancing with others who are less skilled. When one is social dancing she should not expect dance proficiency from every dancer. In fact it is extremely rare to find a social dancer who is proficient with all of the dance styles.

6. Whether you are in a class or dancing try to REFRAIN from criticizing your Lead's dancing or blame for a misstep, men see it as belittling. Be a grumbler and complain about how a man is dancing and soon you'll see them turn the other way the next time you are at a dance. Try to REFRAIN from teaching a stranger how to dance, not unless you want to destroy his confidence and chase him away. Men and women go to clubs to dance, not to be told by a complete stranger that what they are doing is inadequate or wrong. The single biggest secret to success in social dancing, or any kind of partner dancing for that matter, is to make your partner feel appreciated and as comfortable as much as possible, do that and you'll get more dance invitations.

  "At no time should the girl criticize the man's dancing — unless she prefers dancing without a partner."  — Richard Kraus, Columbia University, 1965

7. Most ladies don't ask men for dances but if you decide to ask be sure that it is a dance that he knows, or you can ask him beforehand if he does a certain type of dance. You should also be aware that not all men will dance even if asked.

8. If you sweat a lot wear clothing that breathes (some men will bring a couple of shirts and change it during the night). Take breaks if you are soaking wet with perspiration.  If you are a follow and sweat a lot, you can still wear shoulder-less tops but at least bring a dance towel to wipe yourself down. No one likes to feel or touch another dancer's shirt, blouse or skin if it is soaking wet with perspiration..

                                 How to get asked to dance

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Comments from an accomplished lady dancer (who is a regular club dancer and a part time dance assistant/instructor): "I read your blog and it is the most fascinating and helpful information a dancer, beginner or otherwise, can and SHOULD read! Keep up the good work!"   Comments from a recent visitor to the islands "... I had the good fortune to discover your terrific blog.  I found it very extensive, very well written, very informative and right on target re all the key points of social partner dancing....congrats on such a great blog!"

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  • Dance Tips for Beginners and common dance mistakes.  Crash course for the novice dancer  - Ten tips in ten minutes for ten times better dancing. (discussion on posture, frame, connection, tone in the arms, walking properly and the hand connection). Here is another important video on how ladies should keep a 90 degree angle and avoid the dreaded "spaghetti arm" when doing an underarm turn . MUST WATCH videos for EVERY dancer. 
  • To learn to dance you must be determined, motivated and most importantly, patient. Learning to dance will not happen overnight, but learning small steps in order to get you there can happen overnight. Don't be too hard on yourself when first learning how to dance as progress does take time before things begin to sink in and your movements become and feel more natural and instinctive. Learning just a single movement and then committing it to muscle memory can sometime take weeks to develop, especially with the more complex moves. Learning to dance is no different from learning to speak a foreign language, if you don't know any words, or can't remember the definitions you cannot form a sentence, while those with a larger vocabulary are able to speak quite fluently. The key therefore is to work on expanding your dance 'vocabulary', or dance IQ, one movement at a time. Once you finally learn enough basic dance movements you will soon find yourself on the dance floor, and dancing with confidence.
  • Making mistakes is part of dancing and it does happens to everyone, but those who work to correct them are the ones that will see gain and improvement in their dancing. Follows that ignore their mistakes do not improve if they keep repeating and making the same mistakes over and over again. If you miss a clear lead, ask yourself, "What did I do wrong, or what should I have done to make it work?" Ladies that are eager to learn will even tell their leaders, "Please do it again!", naturally most leaders will kindly oblige. If you miss a complex lead and you are a beginner don't worry about it, the leader needs to tone down his leads. If you miss a basic lead or core movement however try to make it a point to learn what you did wrong even asking the leader to lead you again the next time you dance with him. I have seen some ladies who were new to partner dancing become amazing dancers in a little less than a year only because they took lessons regularly. They also danced once or twice a week with different and stronger leaders and learned from their mistakes each time that they were introduced to a new lead. Anything is possible and attainable if you have the desire to learn and want to grow as a dancer. 
  • COMMON MISTAKES BY BEGINNERS (LADIES): One of the most important keys to dancing is for ladies to maintain the hand connection with their leaders at all times (unless the leader releases his connection). Unfortunately a common mistake with most beginning follows is the letting go of the leaders hand connection during the middle of a movement. When this happens the leader is stymied and powerless to continue with his leads. Naturally this can frustrating when it happens more than just a few times in a dance, this because the leader can no longer lead his follow. CONNECTION TEST:  If a lady can maintain the hand connection while doing a hammerlock, a two hand barrel roll, and the pretzel, then she has very good connections. If she lets go, she needs to make much more of a concerted effort to maintain the connection when dancing. This will come in time as the lady develops better recognition skills through class instruction and by studying some of the basic core movements in the dance. Another common mistake is when a follow quits doing the basic steps and stop dead in their tracks, this usually occurs when the leader does a spin, or a shine and the follow doesn't know what to do. The golden rule in this situation, WHENEVER IN DOUBT AS TO WHAT THE LEADER IS DOING NEVER FREEZE OR STOP DANCING, INSTEAD CONTINUE WITH YOUR BASIC STEPS. This is one principle that beginners can learn just from watching what the advanced lady dancers do in these situations. 
  • When to relax and when to firm or add 'tone' your arms?  A follow's arms must have some tone in it when her leader is spinning her (i.e  frisbee spin, spot turns, etc.), leading her into swivels, or into the hustle diva walk, but for most of the other moves it must be softer and relaxed. Examples of the later is when the leader is doing a window or hair comb, one hand fold, hammerlock, two handed barrel roll, wrap, basket, straight jacket, sombrero, arm slide, pretzel, and bowtie. Arm pressure does varies throughout the dance depending on each particular lead so follows need to recognize when to relax, or when to firm or add tone to their arms. A leader cannot turn a follow if she has noodle or spaghetti arms, on the other hand If a lady's arm is too stiff her elbows will lock up which makes it very difficult for anyone to lead her into any movement. DANCE TIP:  If a leader gives tone to his arm, the lady should generally try to match it with the same amount of tone because a lead is forthcoming that requires a similar tone in her arms. If a leaders arms are relaxed then the lady's arm should 'generally' be relaxed as well. 
  • Tip for novice lady dancers. Always be aware. Ladies should not be clueless as their role in the dance is to "follow".  Follows should pay attention to what their leaders are doing, specifically they need to watch his hands. If the leader extends his hand out, the follow needs to make a connection with it. If not she will miss the lead and the dance flow is interrupted as an opportunity to follow a lead is lost. 
  • For novice leaders, you  may eventually realize that not everyone will dance with everybody. Most ladies expect a basic level of dance skill so if you get refused a lot, take it with a grain of salt and use the rejections as motivation to practice and to take more lessons if necessary in order to become a better leader. Ask any leader, they ALL experienced rejections, even experienced leaders get rejected from time to time. With beginning leaders. usually it is their technique and ability to communicate intended leads to the follows comfort level that is the problem. An accomplished follow cannot dance and is confused if she does not receive clear directions or leads from her leader, and no lady will dance with someone if his leads are too rough, he muscles his leads, or if he is a safety concern to her. Ladies also expect their leaders to be on the beat, so it is important to learn to listen and to dance to the music. Leaders must also avoid being indecisive or equivocal as dancing should not be a guessing game for their follows, instead all leads should be done with conviction and confidence as this is what the follows with dancing experience enjoy from their partners.  See more:  If you get rejected a lot don't take it as dance snobbery, rather it is a natural phenomena that occurs and is part of the maturation process. If you are new to dancing you may consider dancing with those with  similar skill levels as yourself as  you will get fewer rejections and it will also put less stress on yourself. To develop good leading skills continue with your lessons, but more importantly practice your new leads at home, even by yourself if you can't find someone who wants to practice with you. 
  •  Food for thought: A follow is only as good as her leader and conversely a leader is only as good as his follow. 
  • Concerns that lady dancers have - If you are a leader try to refrain from using arm only leads without moving your lower body. Those that don't shift their weight or who don't move their weight and feet during the dance can confuse their partners. A quiet lower body movement does not create any discern-able rhythmic flow for their partners, consequently it can be a source of confusion for them. Dancers become out of sync not only to the music but with each other when the other person does not feel their partner's rhythm, or weight shifts (its sort of like dancing with someone who is not on the beat). Developing rhythm starts first with paying attention and listening to the music, recognizing the underlying beat and using appropriate weight shifts and by moving your feet to the beat. 
  • Establishing a rhythm requires placing your weight over the foot that is stepping. I recall one of my salsa dance instructors telling the students that when you step, feel as if you are grinding the ball of your foot into the ground, what he meant by that is that you need to put your weight into it as you step (also one should avoid stepping with a flat foot as it appears that the dancer is stomping instead). If you have taken any of his classes Stefan Kant, Director of Linda Melodia will tell his students that having good footwork and timing is EVERYTHING in the dance. This is SO TRUE because it DEFINES how a dancer moves. In most of the popular social dances one's weight is always over on the balls of their feet. In the west coast swing one's weight rolls through the feet. The  waltz also has a foot rolls with its up and down movements. This is why everyone should take dance classes when first beginning to dance, and periodically some refresher classes as having sound basics like having good footwork is essential for good dancing.
  • Leaders need to pay close attention his partner's ability when dancing. It is not easy when dancing with someone for the first time as you don't quite know your partner's  ability, athleticism, and recognition skills. Toning it down or revving it up are adjustments that are constantly  made during an evening of dance when dancing with others. Believe it or not but this experience of adapting and adjusting is INVALUABLE as it helps all leaders to eventually to become better social dancers in the long run. When dancing with those whose balance is suspect leaders should also avoid speeding up or forcing a movement if his follow is not on time, even if it means that she will miss the beat, instead let her move comfortably and in her own time as safety comes first when dancing with others. Leaders also need to recognize when a situation, position, arm tension, or angles are not quite right for certain leads and when to abandon moves out of safety considerations. Over time the leader will begin to get a feel of whether something is possible or not based upon the tactile and sensory indications that he receives from his partners. There will be times when a follow is either not in the proper position (i.e. they may be too close to you or too far away from you), or their arms ARE too stiff for them to execute certain over the head moves. If this happens, never force a move on a lady as it may cause injury to her or to yourself. You need to make split second adjustments whenever you dance with strangers and if this happens to you then the best course of conduct is to abandon the move and find something more suitable based upon what you think they can handle. Everyone's ability is different so not all leads are possible when dancing with others. This is probably another reason why one should steer away from,  or eventually wean ourselves away from pattern dancing. A dancer who only knows pattern dancing can become lost or flustered if he has to deviate from it, or if his partner is not able to follow his programmed leads.
  • Avoid being a bull in a china shop - Why spacing is so very important.  I am sure we have all had an experience whereby someone stepped on our foot during the dance. Some may have bumped you so hard, that you actually lost your balance. There are generally several causes for this. One reason is where the dancers are not in sync, for example if one dancer doesn't quite know the basic steps and is dancing not with us, but against you (sort of like you only know how to dance salsa on 1 and your partner only knows how to dance on 2). Another is when the other person does not stay in their own slot and veers into your slot instead. Sometimes the other dancer just fails to keep the proper dance distance or spacing away from you. Unfortunately, slot awareness and spacing is not emphasized enough by many of dance instructors and many that are new to dancing are not familiar with these concepts. Basically, dancers need to keep a 'correct' distance from one another during the course of a dance. If you are too far apart from your partner, someone will be pulled off of his or her axis and could fall down (while doing a spin for example). If you are too close to your partner on the other hand, someone may hit the other person in the face, collide into them, or step or trip, on their foot. If you are constantly barreling into, or bumping into your partners while dancing, then you should strive to become more aware of these concepts.
  • Ladies must learn to follow and avoid back leading, or prolonged hijacking when dancing. 'Back leading' is when a Follow without waiting for, or contrary to, will interfere with the Lead's lead. She ignores what the leader is trying to do. Hijacking is when the Follow decides takes over the dance and dances by herself, when this 'takeover' is brief it is usually back leading but when it lasts for a longer period of time it is called hijacking the dance. It can be three seconds or it could be ten seconds, but for some leaders it feels like an eternity because it is not quite what he had expected and he does not know what to do as the dance connection has been broken. It is the novice dancer that will usually back lead probably because she is not aware of some of the basic movements in the dance, accordingly she will guess as she feels a need to make something up instead. Some dancers who know all the basic movements will also back lead because as was pointed out earlier by one of our lady dancers they want to show the guy what they can do. Instead of sharing a dance hijacking is perceived by some leaders as a form of self-indulgence.  Both back leading and prolonged hijacking are considered bad dancing habits because it makes the Follow difficult to lead and to dance with. Consequently those that regularly takeover the dance from their leaders soon find themselves not being asked to dance as much as other follows who understand the importance of the lead follow relationship in the dance. Unlike line dancing or free style dancing that you see at discos, partner dancing requires a connection at all times with your partner. The role of the leader is lead, and the role of the to follow.
  • For novice follows. It is a bit more complicated as to why leaders will ask certain ladies over others for dances, but just as ladies enjoy dancing with men who can lead them comfortably, Leaders also enjoy dancing with follows who know how to follow. Fun dancers also leave a good impression on leaders so those that move well and are not afraid to smile if they are having fun usually are always being asked to dance. An added bonus is when they add styling elements and are expressive (but not overdone as to hijack the dance). Some will play with the rhythm and use shines and other syncopation techniques such as rushes, pauses, and even body rolls. So if you are being bypassed by many leaders there is usually a reason why that is. You could ask a male confidant what he thinks you need to do to get more invites, sometimes it could be that a follow's balance is a bit suspect and leaders are afraid that she may fall down while dancing. Maybe you have a very strong death grip, or have stiff arms and just didn't realize it. It may be a bit deflating to hear what you need to work on, but you won't know what to work on, or what your deficiencies are if you don't get any objective feedback from someone whose opinion you can trust. The popular dancers today were all novices at one time and all of them sat out dances when they first began, they only got to where they are because they identified their deficiencies and worked hard to overcome them.
  • It also helps one to expand their dance vocabulary or dance IQ by learning different dancing styles. Its hard to dance to various types of music if you are a one trick pony and can only dance to once dance style. The additional benefit of learning other styles is that you can mix and match as many moves are interchangeable throughout the various dance styles.
  • Beginning leaders tip for closed position dancing:  Avoid a pronounced up and down movement with one's shoulders and arms when dancing (i.e. like shrugging one's shoulders or flapping your arms).  When in the closed position, a busy upper body movement collapses and destroys the leader's frame and this will throw the follows off.  For all the closed position dances the lead or momentum from the leader should come from a steady and solid frame and through his core body movement (i.e. tango, waltz, etc.). 
  • All dancers have different postures and curvatures in their spines, some of us are taller than others, some of us are heavier than others, etc., everyone is built differently. If you look at golfers, at his set up position Jordan Spieth stands more upright and has less knee flex than does Sergio Garcia who has more knee flex and more of a forward bend of his torso. In baseball, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout have different postures when they are in the batter's box. Albert Pujols has a more pronounced knee flex than does Mike Trout, who stands more upright. No one person is right and no one person is wrong (both of them are All Stars). The point is that we are all built differently and consequently we have different postures, similarly when it comes to social dancing there is no such thing as one dance posture for everyone. As long as you don't slouch and can keep your shoulders back you will be fine. Being comfortable (not stiff) and ready to move is the key. The one constant with all of these athletes is that they all have a knee flex and so should the dancer.  Although the old adage for dancing is to think tall and have a long neck this is not a blanket rule for all dances. The 'triangle' or rhythm posture for example is critical for most open position social dances. If a dancer's posture is too tall or upright like a soldier standing at attention for example, he or she will not be able to dance with any sort of flexibility because there is no flex in his knees. This leads to a minimalist of body movements and the dancer's feet will be shuffling around rather than being an integral part of  the dance.Their dance partners also have a hard time dancing and are confused because they don't feel their partner's weight shifts. To dance with rhythm with natural looking dance movements requires that the dancer's posture be comfortable, based upon his or her body type, this allows them to dance much more smoothly. The greatest lindy dancer in the world Frankie Manning had a very relaxed posture, and you won't see salsa and swing dancers being rigid and upright when the dance. All the better dancers have this rhythm posture which it is explained in this video The instructor in this video states that you need to relax your knees, have a slight bend at your hip joint, and your upper body should be leaning forward just a bit (with a straight back and not one that is arched or hunched over). This forms your rhythm triangle or your dance posture. As the instructor says, "Too straight and only your feet will move which is 2% of your dancing and you will be missing out on the other 98%."  Posture for formal ballroom dancing on the other hand is a lot more different, with many of the formal ballroom dances like the waltz, rumba, foxtrot and tango, one should have an upright posture with a long neck and should be "thinking tall". Naturally these are much different dancing styles from the club social dances.
  • One can have all the moves in the world but it is HOW ONE MOVES that separates the better dancers. It is not how many moves that you know, but how well you do the moves that you know. 
  • In Argentine tango the dancers are taught to master one movement per class and there are no patterns to copy. Curiously most of the other dances are taught by way of patterns. Instructors generally teach 3 to 4 movements in class and then tell their students to perform them in the exact sequence. The next week a new pattern is taught and this goes on and on resulting in little comprehension for the average dancer. Learning and mastering individual dance movements so that they became part of muscle memory will get you onto the dance floor must faster than pattern recognition. Another issue with teaching by patterns is that it is similar to teaching a student how to paint by painting by the numbers, athough the student ends up applying paint to canvas, it is at predetermined areas and he does not learn how to think or paint on his own. Similarly, this method of teaching does not stimulate the independent dance thought process that is required if one is to construct his own dance. Accordingly those that rely exclusively by dancing to patterns will find it difficult to create their own dance because they let someone else do the thinking and create the movement for them instead. Your options and alternatives are limited when you never learn to explore possibilities on your own and that is another concern or drawback if one limits his learning solely to pattern instruction. Discovery and freedom of dance expression occurs when we learn to think, envision and create the desired dance movements or connect the dots on our own. When one learns and masters individual movements there will come a time when the light goes on and the dancer will begin to 'see' how certain movements just seem to naturally fit or flow together with one another.This is when the leader will be able to fashion his own style of dancing. Through regular dancing and experimentation those that keep at it will gain this experience over time. A nationally known salsa instructor mentioned that leaders should know a minimum of sixteen moves in order to lead a follow during a dance. All of the better dancers continually practice and try to learn and master new movements. Individual movements once learned are never forgotten and it is this knowledge that will then allow the leader to eventually fashion his own dance and blend together movements that he likes.
  • Some dancers will dance to steps (you can even hear them at times counting steps). Usually they will also stick to a defined dance style, other dancers like the natural dancers will dance to the music, no one way is right or wrong, the main thing is that we are able to find a common groove and share a dance with whoever we are dancing with. Just as you cannot put a square peg into a round hole you will not find compatibility with everyone that you dance with. For example someone with the mindset of a modern jazz dancer would have a difficult time finding a groove with someone with the mindset of an exhibition international dancer because their approach to the dance are totally distinct and different. One improvises and interprets, whereas the other is looking for the execution of standard movements.  
  • Ladies asking guys to dance. There are generally two types of lady dancers at clubs, granted one of these is an extreme example. On one hand you have those that are patient (and they are the majority of the dancers) and on the other you have a few that are brazen and aggressive - using the shot gun approach they will canvas the room and ask practically everyone for a dance. Some aggressive dancers can be seeing tugging or dragging a hesitant dancer onto the floor. Some are disrespectful of other women and will ask a man to dance even when it is clear that he has a dance partner for the evening or is with a significant other. Overly aggressive behavior should be avoided at all costs as it has caused friction and even led to cat fights in some clubs. Those that invite trouble and become a nuisance, or are a source of irritation to others could be asked to spend their money elsewhere (i.e. 86'd). The patient dancers on the other hand take a more sophisticated approach, they don't ask because they have developed subtle yet effective ways of letting leaders know that they are available for a dance. Saying hello and greeting a prospective leader with a friendly smile makes a wonderful impression, it also lets the leader know that you may possibly be open for a dance sometime during the evening. It is non-intrusive and refined and it does not compel the leader to dance immediately. Another effective way to get a dance could very well be learned from what ladies do and do not do when attending tango milongas. In tango clubs it is a taboo for a lady to ask a man to dance the Argentine tango. "Try not to verbally ask a man to a matter of fact the better the lead the less inclined he will dance...", excerpts from (written by a tango dance instructor), accordingly those that are aggressive and constantly seek instant dance gratification like the gun blazers may soon find that this type of behavior eventually does backfire, this occurs when the tango leaders begin avoiding them. Another consequence of asking for an immediate dance is that it takes the leader's choice of dancing with someone else away. If a lady's overbearing conduct happens regularly and routinely it can become a source of frustration and even annoyance for most leaders.  As pointed out in this article there are other ways to get a dance without leaving your seat or been viewed as a problem dancer - the Cabeco or line of sight for example, is socially acceptable and the preferred way for ladies to get a tango dance. Those who have mastered the fine art of Cabeco, or are patient and gracious fare better in the long run.  For other types of club dancing however, if a lady should still decide to ask men for dances they must also be prepared to handle rejections. Ladies who ask should not and cannot expect that every Leader will accept an invitation (just as when men do when asking ladies for dances). If despite the risks a lady decides to ask someone for a dance, she should key in on that person's body language and look for signals to see if the Leader is receptive or shows an interest in dancing (again the use of the "Cabeco").  If there is a song that a Leader likes they will usually be looking around the room at the beginning of the song to find an available dancer who knows the particular dance style, this would be an opportune time to see if he makes eye contact with you (refrain from constantly staring at anyone unless you want to give someone the heebie jeebies) and if he is interested he will approach you. Bare in mind also that most men do not know all the dance styles that are out there and thus they will sit out certain songs whose dance styles they do not know. Asking a man to dance a style he does not know will surely lead to a denial so before asking someone to dance it helps to do some homework. Also ladies who ask men to dance should at least know the timing of the dance if they want the leader to be able to lead them, if she is a beginner or doesn't know how to dance she could say "I'm more of a beginner but would you care to dance with me?" Ladies should also avoid asking leaders who are strangers to teach them how to dance. Asking for an immediate dance more often than not does tend to put some leaders on the spot, as a result some may feel compelled or pushed into a dance especially if they are tired and want to take a break, or they do not like the song because they cannot hear or do not like the beat. If a man feels compelled to dance under these conditions it can be a long three minutes and he may associate the dance with work and not fun, thus if a lady feels a strong need to ask for a dance it would be more prudent on her part if she does not ask the leader for an immediate dance. The better course of action would be to let him know that she would be open to a dance sometime during the evening and at his discretion. For example, "I would love to dance a rumba with you when or if you have a chance" or "Could I be added to your dance card for a swing?" When the right song comes along he may ask her, or if he does not then there is always another day (once again there should be not be any expectations if someone is not your regular dance partner). Most men would oblige and ask that person for a dance when approached in this manner. Patience is a virtue as the belles of the ball will attest to and if you cannot handle a denial or if you take it personally then you should refrain from asking others for a dance. The fact is not everyone you ask will accept a dance invitation, this applies to both men and women and those of all skill levels.
  • In a funk?  There may come a time when ladies who know the dance get in a funk and feel something is missing and there is a yearning for more. Consider taking a styling class and learn fanciful adornments and musicality techniques. Or you could  consider joining a dance performance group, the transformation and growth for those who have gone this route is nothing short of dramatic and elevates their dance to a new level.
  • Leaders Tip: If you are having difficulty with leading a certain move then try practicing and doing the movement by doing the follow's footwork. This helps us to become much clearer with our leads as we learn where to best position ourselves and how to give a lead that is capable of being understood. 
  • Why it is so difficult to be a leader. There is a difference between dancing and good leading.  Anyone can learn patterns and It may only take a couple of months for a man to learn any new dance and its basic steps, but it may take much longer than that before he becomes proficient at leading other dancers with whom he has never danced with before. Not all dancers can lead, someone can dance for 5 years and be a capable dancer, but not a good leader. If you find that you cannot dance with others, but can only dance with your dance partner because she is already familiar with what you are trying to do, then you need to brush up on your technique. Good leaders know how to communicate core leads to all their follows. Because they have good technique and leading skills they can dance with strangers of varying skill sets and lead them into comfort as if they had danced before. The feedback and experiences they obtained by dancing with others allow them to figure out which leads are 'user friendly' (this is called lead suitability) based upon a particular person's skill set. This is precisely why leaders should dance with a variety of other dancers as it helps to raise the bar for themselves and become more versatile as leaders. Good leaders also give clear leads with conviction so that there is no doubt in any follow's mind as to what she needs to do next, even if she should miss a lead she immediately senses and realizes it. When you see two complete strangers moving and dancing together as one in a dance, the leader has good partnering skills. Naturally the follow is doing her part in the dance too, but it is the leader that is responsible for lead suitability. Good leaders also will not confuse their dancers, rather they are aware of their partners reactions and responses and will adjust and modify their leads accordingly. They will even abandon certain leads if their partner is out of position, or lacks the recognition skills for a particular lead. A good leader is also creative as they recognize how certain moves flow nicely into other so that the transition is seamless. Not only is the resulting choreography soothing on the eyes but more importantly, the movements are tailored to the comfort level and ability of his partner. These leaders strive to make their follows look good, accentuating their dance strengths and avoiding their weaker points. If a lady struggles with someone's leads then she leaves the dance floor with a puzzled and confused look on her face. She is not at fault for that, rather the leader needs to work at developing better partnering skills and techniques. He must also learn to use friendlier leads. For example some leaders will use complex leads on beginners, or muddied leads on experienced dancers. Granted leaders do have a difficult and daunting task because they must create a dance that each follow is comfortable with and one in which they can enjoy the experience. Granted, it is much easier to dance with a regular partner, but real growth come when one dances with strangers. This ability to adapt to his partner's skill set and communicate clear, suitable and understandable leads is what separates a leader with good partnering skills, from someone else who may know the dance steps, or figures, but does not know how to 'share a dance' or communicate with others.
  • When first learning to dance we are taught how and when to move our feet. We are drilled with the basic steps because it is the foundation or structure that we must learn before we can dance. A beginning dancer that ventures out for the first time to a salsa dance, or to a Jack and Jill WCSwing contest will be puzzled at first because the advanced dancers are not doing those steps or footwork that they were taught in class. What these dancers are doing is dancing to the music (so forget trying to figure it out because they are random and spontaneous movements), this is referred to as musicality and it is developed over time. As a dancer gains more experience, acquires knowledge, and becomes comfortable with the particular dance style he or she will be able to experiment, play with the rhythm, and vary the pace - the use of pauses, hesitations, rushes, body rolls, leg sweeps or rondes, foot shines and syncopation techniques are some of the tools that allow these advanced dancers to deviate from the basic dance steps. Advanced dancers retain the structure and integrity of any particular dance style but they add improv aspects to it. By learning to play with the rhythm and adding your own style and personality to the dance the dance becomes much more fun and interesting as it takes on another totally new dimension. "What is it in a non-technical sense that makes for a fabulous lead? It is not 'put the feet here shift the weight there' because there are some marvelous dancers whose footwork breaks every rule. It is not counting because during improvisations anything can happen and counting would get in the way". For more on what is a magical lead
  • Follows Tip:  Filling in the music - learn to vary your pace and know when to ratchet up or slow down or slightly delay your movement as the music calls for. Watch your timing and don't race or power through through every move (novices usually have one speed for everything). Moves that require more revolutions may have to be executed faster than those that require only one revolution. For example a frisbee spin or S turn would have to be executed much more faster than a simple inside roll in order to finish on the beat. For the later the lady will have to slow it down or stretch it out just a bit. Rushing a move and finishing before the beat can throw off the leader's timing. Better dancers will vary their speed as the music dictates, they know when to stretch it out and when to speed or to catch up. They will use the pauses to fill in the gaps and syncopation techniques to get back into it (or to just play and have fun). Basically, they now how to fill in the gaps. I've seen some advanced lady salsa dancers take two quick steps like the "and 1 count" that you see in the hustle to get back on the beat. Listening to and filling in the music and being on the beat (or getting back on the beat)  is critical if one is to dance with the music.  
  • Develop a thorough understanding of where the weight on your feet should be for each step that you take (i.e ball or ball flat, etc.). Improper weight placement adversely affects the dance movement and it makes a person feel extremely dance heavy for their partners and can be physically draining for them. It can also cause your partners to miss the beat. It is not the leaders role in the dance to physically move the lady, rather she must know how and when to move as the dance calls for it. The cross body lead in the hustle for example requires that the lady move away from the leader or always step forward on the two and three counts if she does not and chooses to sit instead, the leader must struggle to move her and eventually he becomes exhausted dancing that way.  In general, for just about all of the popular dances like the salsa, hustle, cha cha, bachata, swings, and even the Nightclub 2 step, there is no weight settlement onto the heel at all as the dancer's weight needs to be on the balls of their feet, or in the active and ready to move position. Probably the only popular dance style that involves heel weighting is the American rumba (although the forward step in the social waltz is with a heel lead). Also one should be careful about not bouncing up and down, unless you are doing the jive,  east coast swing or samba. Bouncing for the other dances like WCSwing and salsa has the effect of throwing your partners off. Stomping or dancing flat footed with heavy feet should also be avoided in all of the dance styles.
  • The essence of social dancing is a non-verbal lead follow connection with your partner. This requires that each person do their part and contribute towards the dance. The follow needs to be sensitive and responsive to the feel and even the leader's body motion. She should not expect the leader to carry her. The leader has a hard enough role in the dance as he has to think about floor craft, lead suitability, blending, choreography, and musical interpretation. The follows role in the dance starts with keeping the beat and filling in the music, being responsive to and executing clear leads to the best of her ability.
  • The importance of having good balance and footwork. One cannot dance with someone else if the other person is unstable and holds onto you for dear life. Some dancers have vice grips and do so because they lack balance control and use the other person for support. One should not cling onto their partners during the dance. Each dancer must be able to support their own weight and balance. This is a prerequisite for one's own safety and for the safety of his or her partner.
  • Be aware of your leads. Avoid pulling your partner off her center or axis which could cause her to lose her balance and become unsteady and even fall. Be particularly observant when leading her into a traveling turn, spot turn, or barrel roll (whenever your arm is circling over her head) making sure that she is centered, balanced and has completed her turn before bringing your hand down. If you are doing a Texas Tommy, or Straightjacket, avoid yanking your partner out of her spin, else she may stumble and fall down. Similarly, if a man is turning, the lady should not pull him off of his axis.
  • Some energetic follows will over rotate a spin or try to do multiple spins when in fact the leader is leading just one spin. If its a free spin then the follow may do multiple spins, but if there is still a hand connection during the spin the follow should feel and then go with the particular lead is. Over rotating a 'connected' spin is viewed by some leaders as a form of back leading.
  • If you are a beginner and have not done a move before, refrain from doing it on the dance floor unless you know that you can do it safely. A leader who doesn't know what to do and how to do it could hurt someone. For example the one arm hammerlock fold behind the ladies back requires precise timing and proper technique (i.e. you cannot fold it above her belt line, etc.) and if not done properly it will hurt the lady's rotator's cuff thereby causing her great pain. I have seen ladies fall down at clubs because not only they did not know how to spin, but their partners didn't know how to lead them. As much fun as dancing is, always think safety first. 
  • Once you know the basics of a dance style and have taken your share of lessons, you can also get some wonderful new insights and ideas simply from the internet. Many experienced leaders will tell you that in lieu of lessons, they now watch and study the dance from you tube.
  • LEADERS TIP: Learn the easier moves first and commit them to muscle memory before you take on the more complicated and difficult leads. If you start with the difficult leads first it can be frustrating if you dance with beginners as many of them will not be able to follow advanced leads. For example rather than jump into doing the two handed barrel roll which if not done right can pull a lady off of her axis, try the one arm barrel roll first until you develop the muscle memory needed to execute this move with confidence, or instead of doing the S turn, master the one arm hammerlock first which is part of this move. Similarly instead of doing the straight jacket, master the S turn first before you proceed with this rather complex lead. If you stick with the easy leads first, both you and your follow can learn the movements comfortably.  Later on as your dancing begins to develop over time you can revisit and learn the more complex leads. Its best to take things one step at a time, be patient and determined you will get there so long as you continuously work at it... before you run, learn to walk first, dancing is less stressful that way.
  • Just as Dancing with the Stars had a couple doing the Viennese waltz to a Billy Joel song, you can use various dance styles to dance to other genres. For example dancing bachata to pop rock or to disco music which is 4/4 time. Learn to mix and match dance styles to suit the changes in the music's tempo. When the dance floor is crowded you could switch from the space consuming cha cha to a more confined bachata. Tired of doing the merengue? Try doing the 3 count hustle to the music instead. If you don't know the west coast swing try doing the cha cha, it usually works. If you don't know the 3 count hustle, try the 4 count hustle, even the Bachata will also work....the possibilities are endless in terms of dance styles one can use. Naturally the more dances the leader knows, the less likely he will have to sit it out when the music is on.
  • If you don't process why you are being rejected you may not grow as a leader. Beginning leaders that dance with a variety of follows will be exposed to rejections but it is these rejections that give the leader an objective feedback as to how good or bad, his partnering skills really are. Leaders that dance with others are exposed to various sensations, responses and reactions that differ from one dancer to the next. This information gives the leader an objective feedback as to what he needs to do in order to perfect his leads and communicate better. For example if more than one person has difficulty following a person's leads, then his technique is not as good as it should be, or that he thought it was. The feedback that one receives from their exclusive partner is not 'objective' since his partner knows all of his moves and what movement he intends to lead, strangers do not. An exclusive partner may also compensate for the leader's mistake or lack of technical leading skills by anticipating and completing the intended movement for him almost as if she is dancing on auto pilot, strangers do not.  Similarly a follow who only dances with one leader all the time also limits her growth and has a harder time dancing with others as every leader leads, moves and dances differently. She may also have developed some bad habits by dancing with the same partner and doesn't realize it until she dances with other leaders and either is confused or cannot follow their clear leads.  Follows that do not experience dancing with a variety of leaders eventually find that their learning curve will also taper and flatten out after a certain point in time and they will soon be bypassed by those other lady dancers that dance regularly with other leaders. In the long run, ladies that dance with a variety of partners become more versatile and develop better recognition skills especially when they dance with leaders that are stronger than their partners. Having a variety of partners to dance with and expanding one's comfort zone has other intangible benefits as well. Although it may be a daunting task for beginning dancers it is fun, challenging and exciting and it keeps you on yours toes both as a leader and as a follow (i.e. you can no longer dance as if you are on auto pilot). You will also make more friendships and meet more people that way and isn't this is why they call this activity social dancing? 
  • If you practice partner doesn't do the move you 'think' you led, then you need to rethink and adjust, approach it as a challenge to yourself. If your lead is good and clear but your partner cannot execute the move, start with checking her frame, if her frame is solid then she should be able to follow any new lead, also check her arm tension, is it too loose or too stiff for the move? (quite often most dancers arms are too stiff whenever they are unfamiliar with a new move). Don't be to quick to abandon new moves you are working on with your practice partner, it is all part of the learning process. All moves are do-able, its just that some take more time to learn, the more complex ones can take one or two months just to learn one new movement. Those that stick to it and work things out end up improving in the long run.
  • There may come a point in time for some dancers when you feel that dancing just doesn't seem as challenging and exciting as it once was. Basically you've hit a plateau and have flattened out, you feel like you are in a rut and it happens when the dance becomes too predictable and repetitive, generally its because you're dancing the same way over and over again, not doing anything different or new with your dance partners. If there comes a point in your journey that you feel as if your dance is not going anywhere then you need a challenge, a spark, something to make the dance more exciting once again. You need to break the regimen and take your dance to another level. To rejuvenate, or create a fresh dancing experience consider learning new moves with your partner, take classes together. Learn new dance styles, try mixing styles together creating your own fusion dance. Check out different dance venues together. You need to challenge yourself. Rather than exclusively dance with the same person all the time, dance with a variety of different, even stronger dancers. If your partner does not share the same passion for dancing and does not care to practice and improve, or learn new dances with you, then consider finding other dancing partners. The right practice partner will help you to grow, the wrong one can hold you back. When one continuously learns new techniques, new dance styles, and experiences different movements and sensations by dancing with others, it helps the dancer to develop his skills much faster. It also makes the dance fun and exciting once again, in essence giving it perpetual life. Status quo and being content may help us to maintain what we know but it will not help us to grow and develop into better dancers. To improve we need to constantly seek knowledge, experience variety and challenge ourselves, and having the right practice or a variety of dance partners will get you there faster. 
Dance related articles: 

1. "19 Easy Ways to Attract More Men to Dance with You" discusses how to get a dance:  Here are excerpts, "Women sitting in groups get few invitations to dance."
2. You don't have to dance with everyone. "How to politely refuse a dance," see:  Here are some excuses that seem to work:  "I'm going to sit this one out, thank you," or "No thank you, not this time." These excuses are polite and more than sufficient.  Anyone who has asked others to dance before is aware that there will be rejections along the way. 
    a) If you are asked to dance but rather not for whatever reason, avoid steering the leader to someone sitting next to you and say, "Please dance with my friend" (unless you don't care if the leader doesn't ask you for another dance). Steering creates a socially awkward situation for both the leader and your friend. The leader may not wish to dance with your friend if she does not know the dance style or is an unsafe dancer, and it also puts your friend in an uneasy position if the leader doesn't ask her for a dance. Speaking for yourself and keeping your friends out of your dancing decisions are always the best course of conduct if you are passing on a dance invitation.  
     b)  At any dance or club there may come a time when you will encounter aggressive individuals that will repeatedly ask for dances. Not only men, but women are just as guilty of this kind of behavior. Ladies feel smothered because they would like to dance with other leaders. For leaders, this kind of behavior can be suffocating and becomes a source of annoyance when it interferes with their freedom of choice (especially since men have other ladies that they will usually also dance with during the evening). Unfortunately these individuals don't catch hints or refuse to acknowledge it and politely declining dances does not deter them from persisting. By trying to monopolize someone it prevents that person from dancing with others, consequently those that fall prey to these individuals soon find themselves unable to enjoy the dance experience. Dance sharks are bad for business as they chase people away from attending dances or from going to certain clubs. Rather than hide, run away or avoid going to a club because of them, one should be more firm, stand their ground and say, "Thank you I'd rather not," or "I would prefer if you ask someone else to dance instead."  No explanation is necessary. This usually works, after all no one can force you to dance with them, unfortunately they will usually go off and make life miserable for someone else instead. If they should continue to persist and harass you, don't be afraid to ask management, or the bouncer to intervene on your behalf and tell that person that you wish be left alone. Don't let anyone ruin your night out of fun, we all should be entitled to have the freedom to dance with whoever it is that we enjoy dancing with.
3. Why most men don't want to dance
4. Tough talk for a tough world - Overcoming the fears of social dancing:
5. How to engage with your dance partners
Captivating video dances! Watching these videos will give you an idea of what each dance style looks like.
More incredible salsa dancing by Erika Caliente and her partner at the Pier. This dance is special and quite amazing to watch, it is full of energy and has a lot of SABOR!  Awesome salsa dancing from Montreal

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