Ladies… so you think you had a super fun dance with a great dancer. But you wonder why he never asks you for a second dance. Most guys won’t tell you why, but here are some common reasons…
Unfortunately, leaders are subject to the dreaded “finger squeeze” by women supporting their weight and balance by squeezing their partner’s fingers like they’re milking a cow. If you’re a finger squeezer, you’re a potential source of injury for your partner. Make it a priority to improve your balance and own your steps to avoid benching him. Injured men means fewer dances for the rest of us and we don’t want that!
MAC TRUCK & INVISIBLE FOLLOWING
This is not about weight, rather about tension/tone. Achieving a nice, fluid, comfortable connection with your partner is needed to let expression flow freely. When it feels like the leader is basically dancing FOR you (physically dragging you everywhere, keeping your time and balance), it’s a workout. You could be 90 pounds but could be the heaviest follower in the club. Leaders don’t want dance FOR you, they want to dance WITH you. Listen to the music, stay on time, and manage your own balance. Imagine if you had to carry him while he was dancing…for 3-5 minutes. On the other hand, when a follower is too light, she can feel invisible. He feels like he’s chasing you. Kind of like dancing with a ghost… he can see you but he can’t feel your presence enough to lead you. (This is not the same as back leading). Whether salsa, bachata, cha cha or Kizomba, there’s a certain level of elasticity needed in your connection for a true lead and follow to happen. When you find that right level of elasticity, you’ll feel like you’re actually dancing together and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Trying to guess what a leader is going to do defeats the purpose of following. And it can ruin the connection you have with your partner. Great followers are awesome at responding to the leader’s….well, lead. Women are often afraid of being behind or missing the lead, but sometimes we think too far ahead and anticipate what’s about to happen. In doing so, you’ll likely miss the lead, interrupt his flow, mess up timing, and ruin your connection. It takes skill to wait for that lead and have that right level of responsiveness. That skill can set apart good followers from awesome followers. Your first job as a follower is to follow. There can be only one driver 🙂 So try not to “guess” what’s going to happen because you’re going to miss the fun of “feeling” what he’s going to do in the moment and where he’s going to take the dance.
Hijackers take back leading to another level. In the hijacker bucket include:
Over-stylers who take every opportunity to ram in every styling element they know in one count of eight, for the whole song whether or not it matches music.
Social performers who use excessive energy (often taking down her partner) as they eyeball the crowd and potential onlookers.
Self-dippers who propel themselves into dips without a lead from her partner. This is an accident waiting to happen. And can injure your unsuspecting leader.
Over-spinners who always try to squeeze in extra turns… just cause. He leads 2, she does 3. He leads 3, she tries to do 6 as he chases her wobbly unspotted spins across the dance floor, ready to catch her totally off beat and unmusical fall.
Don’t be a hijacker. Leaders don’t like dancing with them.
THE WILD HORSE
The wild horse follower usually doesn’t have a good command of timing, musicality or following technique, so she steps randomly with no particular connection to the music or what her partner is leading. She’s might be completely oblivious to this, having a blast in all the randomness, OR possibly freaking out because doesn’t really understand how to follow (yet). The wild horse is one of the most difficult types to lead because you just can’t control her. Her lack of frame means you can’t even help her stay on time unless you put her in a kizomba hold and lock her down. Ladies, if you’re new to dancing, keep it simple and don’t be “extra”. Tip: practice your timing on your own, take some classes, learn shines, listen to music, get feedback from a trusted instructor and keep it simple. If you’re experienced, know your #1 job – to follow, and you’ll build a connection that will allow for more controlled “extra”. While there’s tons of freedom to play with in salsa, there are certain rules that help make it flow, and help your leader know where your weight is. If you’re taking extra steps/missing steps or breaking back on 5.5,6,7.75,8, you’re making your poor leader suffer in confusion. Moral of the story, don’t be a wild horse.
This includes, but is not limited to:
never making eye contact to show interest in the dance
looking bored/looking around at other dancers
lazy stepping/following like you’re too good for this dance
giving negative energy
giving looks of disgust when a move doesn’t work/blaming him for everything that doesn’t work
Outside of technique, your attitude could be a turn ON or a turn OFF. Men like confidence, an easy going vibe, a sexy attitude.. but not an “I’m too good for you” attitude. Sometimes it’s simply bad taste, however it’s possible that some women don’t know their doing it. Be a friend and let your best gal friend know if she’s a dancing diva. Whether you’re dancing with a beginner or someone you consider a superstar, it’s good etiquette to give him a positive, happy vibe 🙂
It may seem like women are the ones complaining about bad breath or BO, but it goes both ways. Keep some mints handy (avoid the potential choking from gum chewing), a change of clothes, deodorant and body wipes. Don’t make hygiene the reason he doesn’t come back for more.
BRAIDED PONY TAIL WEAPONS
This one is more about awareness and has nothing to do with actual technique, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re planning on dancing where there could be some spinning involved, high braided pony-tails can be considered a weapon. Imagine a stiff, tightly wrapped rope whipping you in the face with every turn. Save that hair-do for Kizomba.
So girls, let’s do a self-check every now and then, and make some adjustments as needed. Let your dancing speak for itself and make him want to come back for more! Happy dancing!
Thank you to all the men who shared their stories and opinions over the years! Let’s make our dance experiences even better 🙂
Fellas, did we miss any? Comment below!
Caryl Cuizon, iFreeStyle.ca Co-founder.