@FancyFeet. Your response is illuminating. Answer this then (not a rhetorical question). What is the value of more complicated figures for a follower in a social dance? Specifically, what are the pleasures of being lead more advanced figures? (let's assume good lead).
Seriously, at a social dance, I'm expecting nothing above bronze/early silver. In rare occasions, maybe the odd simpler gold figure used to get out of a jam, emphasize the music, or just for kicks because the lead know that I can do it and wants to give it a whirl.
When I am at a social dance, I just want to chill, fool around with the music, and have a good time. I'm not there to work on the seven million things that I'm working on in lessons/practice.
To give an example of "bad" behavior by a lead - there is a leader in our area who has been social dancing for many years. He has collected a lot of advanced patterns (complicated silver amalgamations, some gold figures, etc). But he has never enjoyed working on technique, and it shows. When leading, he typically does all silver figures and above, even with a newbie follower, even if they can't stay on time in a basic. Rather than revert to basic bronze figures, he tries to "help them" get through the patterns he feels like leading, either verbally or by being more physical with his lead. I don't think I've even seen him do a box step.
Some of these newbies get scared off, never to return to a social dance. Other newbies get to experience what it feels like to have a dance go very badly, and survive the evening. Ladies from the local area that encounter him regularly get used to his leads and eventually know what to expect on a number of the figures, so the dances sort of improve a bit over time. But I don't think he is anyone's favorite partner.
Some of the advice in posts above is an attempt to keep you from becoming "that guy" or a similar variation on the theme. Leads that are "that guy" rarely realize it, and blame any problems on their partners.
[QUOTE="twnkltoz, post: 1095889, member: 785"Unlike an actual practice session, you can't stop and talk about what's going wrong, drill a step or technique, do the move in slow motion or break it down into pieces, etc.[/QUOTE]
Actually, people can do that, and some do it. But the rest of us hate it when that happens. Don't do it!!!!
But when I am social dancing I want to use what I have already learned, either figures or following. Social dance time is not practice time; it's play time.
.... When social dancers do not have practices, they end up trying to practice at social dances.
There is distinction in what practice is (and can be) done in and out
of social dancing. But, what social dancing offers _is_ the opportunity to practice with different
partners in different settings, to improve one's understanding of movements, refining the way(s) they trained to do things, and perhaps even rejecting
certain things they thought were right/good. So, even good dancers use social dancing to practice.
ymmv. The only people who sit out at our practice parties are generally either (a) new people there for the first time who need to be cajoled to get on the floor, and (b) people without partners because there is a gender imbalance.
This is a valid approach. However, I do want to state for the record that I (and probably others) use social dances both as chill time and to work on one of my seven million things, and it varies from dance to dance depending on my partner and the dance. Although I do have a "no technique on Saturdays" rule that I enforce with instructors who start critiquing me during party on that day of the week.