General Dance Discussion > Women learning to lead

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by MadamSamba, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    Hello! Just a quick one this time. I've just started doing the male part in group lessons (so I'm learning to lead) and have found it tremendously refreshing and eye-opening as a female.

    What's the general concensus on the benefits/demerits of a woman learning the male part (and, if it happens, the male learning the female part)?

    Does it make you a better dancer? If so, how? (I'm positive it does)

    Also, for women who do it, how do you change your mindset from being a gal to a guy? I keep stepping the wrong way. I'm sure it will change over time, but it's bloody hard! :)
  2. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Well I know how to follow a bit and it has made my lead WAY better! Since I know where I'd like my foot placement when setting up certain moves, I can translate that to the woman I'm leading.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I've tried taking group classes and doing the lead, rather than follow. Two observations: 1. There's no teacher like walking a mile in the other person's shoes. Totally enlightening. :D 2. People are weird. You wouldn't believe the strange reactions I got from some of the women I was trying to lead. Clearly, these people had no concept of serious dancing. :lol: Just kidding. But they didn't know where I was coming from. That's for sure. :?
  4. msc

    msc New Member

    Body weight and height help a lot when you lead. There's also a serious difference in feel and mindset from follow to lead. Then again, pygmalion and MS have probably already discovered this.
  5. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    We're often short of leads in group classes - any woman who wants to try her hand at leading is welcome to. Oddly enough, not many men want to follow.

    Learning to lead certainly makes me more tolerant of newbie guys practicing on me. :D Poor things, getting familiar with the beat, trying to keep in time without tying their legs in a knot, and still remember a basic move or two.
    Last thing they need is a peevish partner.

    It also brings home the need for a decent frame - there's nothing like the frustration of leading (or attempting to lead) someone with a bad case of spaghetti-arms to make you swear that you'll never do anything like that again.

    Being able to lead a guy through a few steps is a useful thing too - you can say "this is how it's s'posed to feel like - now you try", which is easier than trying to explain thay you'd "like a little more firmness here please, but <ow> not quite that much, thanks, and in a direction that I'm physically capable of moving in, and kind of in time to the music if its not too much to ask...."

    Sheer force of will, I'm afraid. I just concentrate on starting on the correct foot and in the correct direction, and the rest seems to follow all right most of the time.


  6. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Or lead a male that's following! :lol: I was doing a cha cha workshop recently in which we were short women, so the instructor followed. I was the only guy that would lead him. The cool thing about it was the instructor kept complimenting me on my lead. He was like "man your good! Leading me is like leading a mack truck!"
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, youngsta. The same reaction I got when I was trying to do the lead part. People were so touchy about it. I was thinking, hey, it's just a dance. People are weird! :shock: :lol:
  8. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member


    Hi! Thanks for the feedback. Just FYI I just got back from a fabulous night of Salsa.
    I'm soooooo glad I decided to learn to lead. I only sat down twice, but both times I saw my friend sitting alone. She couldn't get a dance so I danced with was a fantastic feeling to let her have a dance and not make her be a boy.

    Also, at one point another friend couldn't get a move and so I showed him how to do it as a guy...I feel like this whole new world has opened up being able to's really quite extraordinary. I also realise how hard it is to be a leader...sheesh! :) Mind you, I think my wires got crossed and I kept falling between follower/leader mode!
  9. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Jenn...I think there's even more to youngsta's point. As much as switching roles may catch any number of people by surprise the general homophobia within the U.S. is greater regarding men then women. In dancing situations this tends to translate into even greater discomfort with male follows then with female leads.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, SD. That's a good point. You should have seen the reactions when my gay former teacher would take the follow part in classes short on women. Woa! The guys in class were terrified.
  11. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    I think we really do need an raised eyebrow emoticon because that is rediculous in such an annoying way.
  12. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Yeah I don't get it either Swing Kitten.
  13. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    I have noticed recently that newcomers to the salsa scene are suprised when they see two men or two women dancing together and are assuming that they are a couple. In some cases I had to laugh because the guys were known to me and they loved their ladies, they just liked doing the lead/follow thing to.

    This is so true Pygmalion. I found that the times when I did lead in the class I was able to see stuff that I might have been doing as a follower that would have made it more difficult fo the guy. I then took action to correct, such as putting my hand just below his shoulder rather than on his shoulder. :? :lol:
  14. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    I know how to lead and love it! If I cannot dance with a leader that I like, then I invite a girl and dance! They are soooooo surprised and flaterred! :)
    It helped my dancing, but I faced some problems related to following... I had a mind of my own and strong arms! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
  15. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Okay, I got a few eyebrows for taking the ladies' styling workshop in last weekend's salsa class. Oddly enough, I was one of TWO men taking this class! Hell, I paid for it, and I might as well learn it.

    If you have a teacher and group of friends who are so into dancing that they don't mind people learning both lead and follow parts, that's the ideal situation to be in on this topic. Also, I think if you want to medal-test, you must know both parts, right?

    I think the fear/homophobia come mostly in social-dance settings among not-so-serious dancers, or men who are really into dancing because they want to pick up girls. Granted, the societal roles are still engrained, but I'll just refer back to the Redefinition of Couple thread.
  16. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Okay a lady was taking the beginner AT class as a leader yesterday night. She told us afterwards that she really admires the leaders for all that we do!

    You know etchuck I did not think of this!! Next time they have a ladies styling class I'm taking it! :)

    And speaking of women leading I convinced a couple women to lead me on Saturday night! :banana: I ended up taking over and showing them moves, but at least I got a little following in. :D
  17. Lita_rulez

    Lita_rulez New Member

    I Wanted to do so, but I got kicked out of every Lady Style class I tried to attend...

    Oh well, that's okay, I can still take a few classes as a follow. That is, when guys taking the class don't refuse to dance with me !
  18. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    I'm really surprised to hear this. We are always short of leaders in our scene, both in classes and social dances, so women taking the lead part is a common sight, and (as far as I know), peole don't have any strange ideas about it.
  19. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Well, the class was organized as a styling class in which women were doing a combination of shines. I know I can try to do the same with the proper styling for men. Obviously it was a great hour for the other men to just watch as the women were practicing their gyrating. At least I enjoyed seeing it all up close. ;)
  20. megaproto

    megaproto New Member

    i like the word women ( my hormones is jumping today huuuu huuuu) *breathing heavily*

    No matter what your friends try to tell ya
    We were made to fall in love
    And we will be together, any kind of weather
    It's like that, it's like that

    you women can make me depress and shy with just your smile...

    I LOVE YOU WOMEN!!!!!!

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