What is the worst thing a Leader can do while dancing with you in a Social Dance Party or Lesson?

#Question 2

The number os complains, among women as followers in Social Dance about certain Leaders, are a lot!

Most of the times, they don’t know how exactly would be a nice way to advise the Leaders about certain behaviors that are not really appreciated by the followers, without sounding rude or impolite, and also, in certain dance scenes where there is a lack of Leaders, the girls just simply don’t wanna take the risk of upsetting any of them, and as a result of being misunderstood, be avoided by them after that!

Have you ever had any of these thoughts crossing your mind?

– This is terrible but better not saying anything, I don’t wanna be the only annoying girl that complains, since all the others just smile when dancing with him!

– Am I the only person that can’t really understand him or everybody else is just fixing all his misleadings like I’m doing right now in order to be nice?

– Someday, someone should really tell him how uncomfortable he’s been doing those moves on us!

– I really do not enjoy dancing with this guy just because he dances for anybody else, but me! It’s kinda I’m being used by him so he can show off!

– Why he cannot have one single dance without trying to be chat me up or trying to kiss me?  

– It would be nice if I was invited for a dance, instead of being grabbed by the arm and dragged to the dance floor!

– It’s ok and expected to sweat but he could at least bring a spare shirt to change it sometimes before inviting us for a dance, it’s all wet!

– Why does he try to correct me all the time during the class? He is as new as I am and we have the teacher to correct us!!!

Well, here comes your chance to speak up and

let every Leader know how they can please you better and then, improve the quality of the social interaction in both environments, parties and lessons.

Share your thoughts in the comment field below and tell us what you would appreciate if the Leaders stopped or started doing with Followers while dancing in a party or practicing in a lesson.
If you prefer not to identify yourself by writing your name, it’s ok to stay anonymous but just identify yourself as, for exemple: Follower in Bachata / Follower in Brazilian Zouk / Leader in Tango, etc….
So we all can understand and learn better what varies in the different Social Dance styles.

The Social Dance Communities and all dancers appreciate your time spent here to take part of this research!

18 thoughts on “What is the worst thing a Leader can do while dancing with you in a Social Dance Party or Lesson?

  1. Sometimes I find the hardest leads to follow can be teachers (not the world class ones I have danced with), some can be very rough and have a super strong lead and constantly correct you, telling you to match their male arm strength at max force. They have a bit too much confidence in themselves that even though it is their lead that messes you up, they will immediately ‘correct’ you, because they are a teacher. After all that said, bad leaders who are too strong or too weak can actually be Very good for your dancing! Learning to compensate for bad leads is brilliant for strengthening your core and helps you carry your own weight, and also helps the leader learn. All in all, I have danced with all sorts and very rarely have I not enjoyed myself somewhat in a dance, it is mostly attitude.

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  2. In my experience the worst things are:
    – teaching your follower on a social dance party without being asked to;
    – commenting on some failed moves in a way that it sounds like “It was only your fault”;
    – saying that her dress isn’t appropriate for a social dance after having invited her to dance (well, that dress was a little slinky but it did not really limit my movements; after all, he could invite someone else who was dressed “properly”).

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  3. 1) leading drunk; I’ve been hurt, friends have been hurt, by guys thinking they should improv a new zouk style while they can hardly stand on their feet.

    2) dancing half nude; please keep your shirt on. You don’t look half as good as you think. And no girl wants to be your sweat-towel. She took time to get dressed, don’t ruin it.

    3) mints, deodorant, fresh shirts… The holy trinity.

    4) if you can only lead that one special snowflake, you may want to learn how to lead and not blame it on all the other girls.

    5) it really feels bad to dance with a leader who obviously feels like he’s too good for you. I get nervous, start making more mistakes, forget the music. A leader rolling his eyes or getting impatient is really not going to make me dance better.

    6) leaders that use girls as dumbbells. I wish I was kidding, but watching a guy admire his flexing muscles in the mirror while dipping his partner to the floor over and over again… It was a veritable wtf-moment.

    7) leaders that use juijitsu to get their way. Swiping a girls legs out from under her to get her to do a cambre isn’t very nice (and dangerous, and pretty counterproductive).

    8) I know, the body does things with a mind of its own sometimes. We understand. But please don’t rub it against us.

    9) asking a girl to dance, being disappointed after 30 seconds and walking away is really rude! I’ve seen some men go through three girls a song sometimes. It really feels horrible when a leader advertises to the world that you’re a horrible dancer. Unless she’s being really rude, inappropriate or seriously dangerous to your back stick it out until the song is over.

    10) making fun of beginners or other couples. Everyone has a learning curve and a leader (or follower) who finds fault with anyone and everyone really doesn’t inspire me to do anything outside my comfort zone. Obviously you would rather our dance is perfect than interesting.

    11) being rude about other girls. Hating women for being “ugly, fat, slutty” or whatever doesn’t go well with zouk. It doesn’t inspire a lot of trust that you’ll treat me better when we’re dancing.

    12) getting angry when a girl refuses your invitation. It just makes me never want to risk my health; if he gets angry when I say no to a dance, what will he do when I say no to cambre #20?

    Wow, that’s a long list! I really like most guys in zouk. Most are really kind, patient, happy people. But I guess there’s a lot that can go wrong with dancing.

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  4. Leader dancing with me, but suddenly starting to talk at the same time to someone else and keeping me at latera because of that. I was too shocked at that time to react but next time I will simply stop, and ask clearly whether he wants to talk to them or dance with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Worst thing what has happened to me was in kizomba where advanced leader invited me for a dance. I was not able to follow him very well and instead of maybe going back to basics (and perhaps dance 2 minutes in a simple and nice way) he decided to leave me in the middle of the dance floor. What a gentleman.

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  6. Random pet peeves… not necessarily the worst things ever, but they all add up. [I am writing these under the assumption that if someone is hurting me, I will tell them directly; I do not need to write about that in here.]

    1. ARGUING with me about my own personal limitations or abilities. I should not have to explain why I am not comfortable with something. Just because I look strong doesn’t mean I am. If I bother to say something, just take me at my word and make the most of it.

    2. Talking, talking, talking… including, but not limited to, apologizing about the dance or trying to explain what they are trying to do since they don’t know how to lead it. Talking ruins the mood, and the dance tends to be much less musical because you aren’t able to tune into the music. Also, most people who keep talking even if I am intentionally non-responsive are less in tune with me in general, leading to a poor connection in addition to lack of musicality. “Shut up and dance” is a great motto…

    3. Wearing chemicals/fragrant lotions/oils/etc.– and then trying to hold you tight in close embrace. The smell is hard enough to deal with for the length of the song; it is even worse if I have to deal with it the rest of the night because it rubs onto my clothes and skin while dancing. Since we can all be immune to our own smells, I HIGHLY recommend regularly asking a few trusted friends for feedback on your smell; most people will be honest if you ask but won’t be so rude as to comment on it without being asked.

    4. Hunching the head over while dancing in close embrace. I don’t care how close you want to get, always keep your head held high! Not only does it look nicer, it is way more comfortable for the other person if they don’t have to try to conform themselves to your bad posture!

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  7. Trying to move the follower instead of leading her. This ranges from reasonably comfortable (a bit too firm lead in bodywork) to outright painful (forcing her into cambret against the natural directions of the spine). If the follower is not following you, please do not bend her body to your moves like she is a puppet. Instead find out how to invite her to follow.

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  8. I have been dancing for few years. One of the worst things done by a leader on the dance or in class has been rolling his eyes if i do something wrong and not telling me how to make it right, taking me by my leg during lesson and moving it to the right place without warning or imaging that i am a super good dancer when asking me to dance and then if i’m not his level he will show it by not trying to make the dancing nice and then at the end leaves without a word like we didn’t dance. I have also gotten comments like what do you think you are doing during class if i have tried to protect my face if the other one has done rolling movement so that our heads or noses might touch or i have tried to protect my shoulder from extending too high (the guy is sure he is doing the movement perfectly). Friends who take lessons tell me to keep on going because they think i have potential and that i dance nice. I’m a shy person and some followers do not seem to understand how big effect their behaviour might have.

    Luckily there are plenty of great guys at events that counter effect the other guys. 🙂 And are willing to show what i do wrong so next time i make the dance better. ❤

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  9. In my opinion, one of the absolute worst things a leader can do while dancing is to be rough and uncaring. I get tense and am unable to enjoy the dance when a leader is hurting me. I have seen leaders who do not watch out for their followers, or throw their followers around. I know that as a follower I must look out for myself too, but it is difficult to really lose myself in the dance when I have to be super alert and fearful for my safety in a dance. Things like not preparing me before a move, constantly making me do difficult or strenuous moves without gauging my level or providing enough support, jerking me around and etc are all very painful.

    There are also leaders who also become rougher when they get frustrated that their followers are not able to understand their lead. These are awful experiences because it is uncomfortable both physically and mentally. When I was just starting out in zouk, I had a leader tell me that he had to be really rough with me because I wasnt following and it made me feel really conscious and nervous about my following. Eventually, I realised that a good leader would adapt to the follower’s level and if a move doesn’t work, they would adapt and move on.

    A good social dancing lead isn’t someone who knows many patterns, but a good social dance is more often due to the comfort, support, connection, musicality and attitude of the dancer 🙂

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  10. Hi!
    Thank you for the post.
    I think I didn’t really have the very bad experience in leading yet, nothing very bad so far.
    But what bothers me sometime is that the leader is reserved, distant i.e. not present at all and it feels like he is dancing on his own or just can’t wait to finish the dance, don’t try to connect and look at you at all. It takes two to generate the mood. 🙂

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  11. There are sooo many things you can say for both leads and follows, but I’ll try to concentrate on a few important ones for the leads since this post asks for it. Not that I’m a super advanced dancer, but I’m a follow in several dances (zouk, salsa, bachata, wcs, tango etc) and a lead in some (zouk, bachata, beginner in wcs).

    Play nice. It is social dancing. Don’t try to teach/correct on the social dance floor. In class try to figure things out together and otherwise ask the teacher instead of blaming each other. Try not to reject anybody for no reason. If you do reject, only give a reason when this is actually true (tired, thirsty, hate the song) because you give the impression you do want to dance with them on a later song (so don’t turn around and dance with somebody else – unless you promised someone and this is the reason for your rejection). If for some reason you don’t want to dance with someone, simply say no thank you.

    Personal hygiene. Of course you sweat when you dance. I’m one of those girls who do not mind it so much when the guy is wet, because it’s natural. But if you sweat a lot, simply bring some extra shirts and change regularly. We do appreciate that! Make sure you never smell. There are simple solutions for that: deodorant, perfume (not too much!) and breath mints (no gum – that’s disgusting to hear in my ear or to see for that matter and it is not even safe).

    When you dance together, connect first. Start slowly, even if you know she is a good dancer. Especially follows need to adjust to every lead they’re dancing with, so give her that time. If you don’t know your partner (well), slowly increase the level of movements and see how she follows. Always, always adjust to your lady! I always tell my students that if something goes wrong, put her on her right leg and give her a left turn to go back to basic and start over again. It’s so simple. Be clear, but soft or be soft, but clear (the order to hear this in depends on the lead). Compensate a bit for beginners by making your moves even clearer and better timed; they can do more than you think if you do this!

    More on connection: dance WITH your partner. I sometimes really prefer to dance with beginners who try so hard to do 3 patterns very good instead of a so-called teacher or advanced dancer who wants to show off or is not even looking at me on a regular basis (I know you have to watch your surroundings, but not all the time). I also don’t like to dance with follow who are only looking around. Heck, you cannot even dance properly when there’s no connection at all.

    I can go on and on, but I will stop now. Please guys, do me a favor and make sure I will never hear this sentence again: “you lead better than most of the guys”. I feel honored, but I really wish this was not the case! So go on and prove them wrong! And have fun while doing it 🙂

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  12. The dance quickly becomes uncomfortable when the lead sweats a lot or smells bad including bad breath. Sometimes a follow can keep the distance through the frame but some leads really try to draw you in to their sweaty t-shirt and bad body odour and it is the worst…

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  13. One thing is he looks uninterested, starts on a high level, throws you around with difficult moves and you get more and more insecure because there is no click and he loves the feel of beeing better. You apologize that your not good enough and then he dunps you half the song making you feel worse.

    Secondly, even advanced dancers that you normally dance very well with, get these moments, or attitude they can suddenly show off with(also teachers) you. They dont give the time to adjust to eachother. They dance on power and on show, while you dont even have time to breathe. There is no connection togehter.
    They keep smiling how good it is going while i dont feel i dance, gets trown around a more insecure and block in my moves. Sometimes i even say it but their ego dont hear my help call.
    While i know that when the ego is switched off they are excellent dancers. Such a moment makes we rather want to dance with a beginners who does not have that ego.
    Nothing wrong with showing off, but “permission” of your partner would be appreciated.
    Just like they dance you to a photographer for their picture taken with you, Freak i hate it!

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  14. In my experience the worst thing is feeling left out while being danced with. When partner is too abrupt while leading, without sensing his own strength or doesn’t even seem to attempt to get connection – just looks around (maybe for other girls?) or does some grim faces when something goes unplanned, then it makes to feel insecure and gives the feeling as if I was just a cloth-puppet being pulled around or the worst dancer. Maybe I am a not that advanced yet, so it is probably fair to expect that I do not grasp everything and can be a bit shaky in following some moves, but when someone is just pulling and twisting hands so hard, it really hurts. It is not that I cannot feel the lead it is just that my delay in action comes from thought that tries to preceive things and make the patterns ready in head before performing them. Also being beginner, I do not feel comfortable to have very close distance while dancing, so it really would be nice if partner understands and connects considerately, as lack of distance can place extra nervousness and pressure.

    Also I agree with Susie, it is very unpleasant when you invite a guy to dance and he says no but then takes that same dance with someone else. I am a bit old fashioned and very shy so usually I do not ask guys to dance and after few such failed attempts wouldn’t want to do that at all.

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  15. Leaving me in the middle of the dancefloor (it happened to me dancing zouk and kizomba, by the way I am very advanced in kizomba, so for me to be left out on the dancefloor in that dance just shows the lack of proper leading skills from his part, because I am an excelent kizomba follower), its rude and tasteless and chances are I wont ever talk to them again.
    Also saying no to me, and then dancing literally one second later with another girl, at least “wait it out” for 20 min or go to the bathroom, hotel room, car or whatever. In general I dont take rejection very well, so If a guy says no to me, I basically cross him off not just my dancing list but also any potential friendship.

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    1. A lot of people are so judgemental.
      They feel so rejected and in return then judge and condemn that person for ever and ever.
      There might be multiple reasons why someone says no.
      It’s not necessarily because of the person in question.
      He might have been waiting for that other lady to be free for a long time.

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  16. O boy….I think the worst thing is what I call “the smell the fart face”. The leader is too concentrated or lost in his own thoughts..or disgusted….that does’nt have the time to enjoy the dance. Very unpleasant. So guys, Smile, and relax for crying out loud.

    Liked by 1 person

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