“It’s always easier to dance with a good lead” “Well, I can do my part fully if I have a good follower.”

It is time to end the ongoing battle of leads and follows! The reality is that each has to be helping the other and both parts are equally hard in their own way. Leaders need to focus on connecting and leading in the right direction, not the left, (dance pun, hehe). Followers must relinquish control and let their leader take them to the next step. If you and your partner happen to be learning together, PLEASE don’t tell your partner how much easier it is to dance with your instructor, because duh, of course it’s easier! That’s like saying it’s easier to sing with auto tune, bowl with the bumpers, or ride a bike with training wheels. Dancing with someone more experienced may be easier but isn’t the point: you’re here to learn how to dance together!

When leaders learn to dance they need to be aware of their own part! I know that this seems counter-productive because you came to dance with a partner, but you won’t do them any justice if you are not sure enough to give the follower the correct signals to do their steps. This should not be confused with forcing your follower to do something but instead giving her clear directions on what you want and then allow it to happen. If you don’t give clear signals you make the followers part that much harder. And the essential role of the leader is to give their partner a fun dance.

When followers are learning to dance, they have to at least learn specific patterns. Some leaders think they can be good enough to drag you through it. But come on followers, who wants that? It’s the leader’s job to let you know when you are going into a certain move, but it’s up to you as soon as he leads that underarm turn, to finish the job. As a follower, you have to release any thoughts or hesitations on which move you think your leader may do next. This is not the time to practice your psychic abilities! The best way to be a follower is to practice your steps on your own, and do a lot of social dancing, where every leader will feel different.

Whether you are a leader or a follower, learning to dance can be challenging. The leader has to be clear and confident in the directions that they give, and the follower has to give up control and be receptive to the lead’s movements. The good news is both leaders and followers can make it easier for each other, and have a good dance with each other, which is the whole purpose of social dancing!