General Dance Discussion > As a Woman, Do You Ever Lead?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by KPomPom, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. KPomPom

    KPomPom Member

    I understand why a teacher certainly needs to, but I'm curious what other people think is appropriate.

    Sometimes I find myself dancing with a partner in a social setting, and I am a MUCH better lead than him. It's often more fun for me if I can take over at that point. It doesn't happen often. I'm nothing more than a casual dancer, so I certainly make a lot of allowances when people are learning. Sometimes it's... just... so... painful though! And we'll be off beat, and my toes are trod on, and I have no idea what my partner is wanting to do, and I just want to save us both. And I always make sure I ask first.

    Can anyone else relate? Anyone have an opinion they'd like to share?
  2. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Yes, I lead at parties, in the following circumstances:
    1. Surplus of women, in which case I will lead another lady, generally either a beginner or someone I know who is amenable to this.
    2. I might lead an instructor (male or female) for fun to practice what I know.
    3. My husband knows how to follow, so occasionally we will trade roles to mix it up (e.g. after the 3rd cha cha...).

    However, I'm honestly not sure what you mean by leading when your partner is a man... are you saying you want to backlead (big no-no), or actually switch roles so that he is the follow? IME, very few men are willing or skilled follows (they definitely exist, but it is not common). So I can't imagine that most guys would be receptive to what you are suggesting. ymmv, I guess.
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  3. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I'll switch roles now and then. Actually I do it rather often in lessons, because if the instructor wants to demonstrate to me how something should be led, and I need to feel it from the follow's perspective in order to get it, the best way for me to do that is to follow properly -- I don't learn anything from being back-led. I used to do it more socially than I do now. There's only two women at the studio currently who seem to have enough confidence to try leading with me, and they are both popular follows that I'll usually only get one or two dances with per night. So I hate to "waste" one on my rather poor following skills.
    IndyLady likes this.
  4. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Hmm. If you and the gentleman have established a relationship in which you know it to be appropriate to suggest swapping roles, well, that's OK.

    If there's a newbie trying to figure out how to lead during a social dance, I couldn't advise that you volunteer to get in the way of his learning experience. That would have been awful for me, when I was just starting out -- exactly the opposite of the kind of support I needed to become a fluent social leader. Of course you're free to seek out skilled leaders at socials; but know that every one of them was born out of the patience certain followers had for (eternally grateful) newbies.

    As for back-leading, the only time I experienced that in a way that seemed "good" to me was when the follower was literally a national champion. In a cramped and crowded room, I was quite pleased with how skillfully I was leading fluidly through one fleeting opening after another. About halfway through that foxtrot, I realized that it was all her doing: she was, not *exactly* backleading, but somehow "following in advance" (if that makes sense) exactly the right figure at exactly the right moment to make use of space that would be available by the time we occupied it. I didn't let on that I'd noticed this, partly because I was embarrassed that it took me half the dance to become aware, and partly because I thought she might be disappointed that I noticed at all. If you think you can do it *that* well.... :)
    RiseNFall likes this.
  5. SwingingAlong

    SwingingAlong Well-Known Member

    I am happy to lead another woman in a social situation if she is Ok with that. I ALWAYS ask her politely first. It was very exciting the first time I managed to lead a double reverse spin in waltz - we stopped (out of the traffic flow) and did a high five:) Likewise on my first go leading VW.....I have SO MUCH respect for my leaders!!
    Leading in the role of follower in a social situation, absolutely not.
    RiseNFall and IndyLady like this.
  6. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Sometimes, at a ballroom social, I will lead my friends. All three of us are taking beginner classes as leads, and all of us have at least six or seven years' experience as follows, so it's as if we're practicing. Last social I went to, a couple of women led me, and I asked a total stranger if she'd like to follow, and she did! Swinging Along, you led a double reverse spin? YOU ARE DA MAN! so to speak. that's harrrrrrddddd.
    RiseNFall likes this.
  7. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    After I figured out how to lead that figure, I went through a brief phase where I wanted to lead it repeatedly for an entire short wall, just because I could. :)
  8. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    When a follower tries to be helpful and back leads, it makes things much worse. Most do not get the timing or the movement correct. It is very difficult to do correctly. Leave back leading to the pros. It takes decades to get good at it.
    KPomPom and IndyLady like this.
  9. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    Admittedly, I sometimes back-lead at a social, particularly in standard. New leaders sometimes need the encouragement, and I have been doing this long enough to interpret their non-existent, late or just plain odd leads... and they can get flustered in heavy traffic. When I do it right, they have no idea, and it's not something I do with more experienced leads.

    I also sometimes plain-out lead, because it's fun. The ladies are happy to let me experiment on them, and some of the male pros will let me too. And sometimes I lead a little in lessons so I can feel what pro is feeling and figure out how to fix it. I'm also highly likely to be leading if I'm in a group class or seminar - actually, took a waltz seminar with a highly regarded judge a few weeks ago, found the steps basic, and there was very slight gender imbalance... me taking the majority of that seminar as a lead balanced out the genders and meant I wasn't bored (and apparently, my "boy-frame" is good :)).

    I'd actually lead in a competition if that were allowed under the rules here. Because bronze or silver standard, in pants and comfy shoes... what's not to like?
    Lioness, SwingingAlong and raindance like this.
  10. SwingingAlong

    SwingingAlong Well-Known Member

    I second that! I was going to sit my Bronze medal as a lead, before I got sick. Still on the agenda once I am well again.... and I have a feeling that we are allowed to lead in the PE (Partner Excluded) events in NZ, but would have to check that.

    :eek::wacky::rofl: I only got as far as doing one, followed by a telemark! VW, the hardest bit was trying to go straight, and it wasn't my partner's fault..... when I stopped for a moment, she hopped up and down, wanting to keep going:wacky::dancingbanana:
  11. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    One of the "old great" Blackpool champions (Maybe Stephen Hillier?) tells a story about how, when he was a kid, he had a piece of choreography in which he had to do twelve double reverse spins, down the center of the floor. He could never manage it.

    I made the error of mentioning this story to Teach, who had to prove it could be done. I started laughing so hard at about #11, I couldn't finish the 12th. But it was fun.

    But lead them? Not I.
    SwingingAlong likes this.
  12. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    I've had to lead quite a bit - same situations as others, not enough leads at a social. or not enough leads in a partner formation. I don't mind it, but I'd rather not. However, i am planning a showdance next year with lead switching in the middle of it. For once, i get to choose to lead, instead of having to do it out of necessity.
  13. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    If I'm dancing with a man, and he is leading (or at least trying), even if he's doing a terrible job, I do my best to follow and boost his confidence while allowing him to practice. He'll figure it out eventually or quit dancing. I would not hurt his feelings by suggesting I take over.

    If I'm dancing with a male friend and he's learning how to follow or wants to try, then sure I'll switch roles. I also lead women all the time--at ballroom dances, I probably lead as much or more than I follow. I like dancing with my friends, and I like being able to dance well to a song/dance I like, and if there are no good leads available, there is likely to be a good follow sitting around wishing she were dancing. Or I'll jump into the mixer as a leader to help even it out. I lead at swing and tango events occasionally, but not as much and I'm more selective about my partners because I'm less confident there.
    IndyLady likes this.
  14. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    Usually when I do lead, it's with friends that don't know how to dance that I'm doing it... such as at a wedding.

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