Verbal leads?

I often sing along with the music...I've thought that maybe this is rude, but I'm not doing it loudly. Just to myself. I've never gotten any shut-ups lol. But maybe I should start considering this as a no-no.


Well-Known Member
I wouldn't consider either of you rude, Swinginboo, Pygmallian! You can do that with me anytime. :) Though I don't know how much fun you would have with a newbie like me.

If your partner does not mind it and it does not distract from being in sync with the music then I don't see no problem with that. I totally agree with the lead/follow and the role it plays in dance as described in the article, but I disagree with some of the other things said. Not everyone is at that stage where it all flows as it should. On the social floor what works goes as long as it is acceptable to both the lead / follow. Isn't the point of the "social" dance floor to be "social"?

Yesterday night at the Latin social dance some follows who had never danced, or never danced latin, and wanted me to count so that they didn't have to look down at their feet. But then, in this zyedeo class it drives me crazy. The instructor counts so loud I cannot hear the music! The other people need that so I just grit my teeth and bear it all.


Active Member
pygmalion said:
Hmm. Here's an interesting one. An article which says one should never use verbal leads, never count, and never sing along with the music.
I must say I agree with the article. You'll never catch me verbally leading anything. I just don't get counting out loud if you're not in a studio learning situation. I think it would really annoy me to hear a partner counting while dancing with her...I wouldn't be able to fully connect with the music with that distraction. And singing along? As long as it's not very loud and you're still concentrating on your partner I guess it's ok...haven't experienced that yet.


Staff member
It all depends on partner and level I think... newbies can sometimes use the extra help and, if they seem interested in actually learning, I'm happy to help out with some verbal cues. But hey, if they just seem to want to enjoy the song and seem relatively oblivious to what "should" be happening, I'm not about to take that away from them either.

As for singing along... well, yeah, if it's a song that just really grabs me in the moment *and* if I have enough of a connection with my partner that I know it'll all be good. I do, however, do so at relatively low volume... especially given the nature of my singing voice and the abundance of breakable items such as ear drums, glassware, and buildings... :(


Well-Known Member
I've had lots of newbie guys use verbal leads with me, especially after a dance class, when they want to try that new combination, but aren't yet sure of how to lead it. Doesn't bother me at all. In a perfect world, most leads would be body leads. But arm leads, visual leads, verbal leads can all work, one way or another. Given my choice, I'd eliminate all arm leads, thoough. :?

And, although I rarely do it, singing along is one of the greatest compliments I can give you as a lead. It means I'm having fun, I'm comfortable with you and your leading ability, and everything's going well. So I can relax and sing along. At low volumes, though. :lol: My voice is definitely okay, but it's chorus quality, not soloist quality. :lol:


Active Member
Here's the thing, I don't try out things I've just learned when I'm out dancing at the club. To me that's not the time and place to test something new, but a place to improve on what you know. That's why I think verbal leads are out of place there, but that's just me :p
Well, it also depends if you're already having a conversation on the floor too. I could only imagine being led and every now and then, out of no where, hearing the name of a pattern... ha ha. "FAN"!!!

Once you're already talking and laughing though, who cares what you say as long as you're both happy with it?


New Member
I think verbal leads are OK for patterns not easily leadable; only a couple of guys I practiced with ever used it, especially for some interesting dips. Otherwise, I would consider verbal leading annoying: if you assume you follower is unable to follow particular pattern, just don't do it.
It's OK to sing along while dancing (one of my favorite partners does it all the time and I love it), but PLEASE don't do it if you don't have a good voice :shock: One of my worst dance experiences so far was with a guy who kept making this noise like if he was praying or crying (and it wasn't even close to how the song goes, no musicality whatsoever), so I couldn't hear my favorite song :cry: Well, I always try to be polite, but after about 2 minutes of torture I innocently asked if he always sings while dancing. He made big eyes and said: "Is there anything wrong with it?" Of course, I had to smile and say that it's perfectly fine, but trust me, I'll do all I can to make sure we NEVER dance again :?


Well-Known Member
youngsta said:
Here's the thing, I don't try out things I've just learned when I'm out dancing at the club. To me that's not the time and place to test something new, but a place to improve on what you know. That's why I think verbal leads are out of place there, but that's just me :p
I see what you mean here, youngsta. I can just see you at the salsa club "Hey, let's do the double spin into a death drop." :shock: You'd get laughed out of the place. :lol: There's a time and place for everything.

By the way, are you still coming to FL this month? If so, check out the link at the Dance Venues in Orlando thread. A couple cool relatively new salsa spots in there. :D

Vince A

Active Member
I also agree with the article . . . never have and never will give verbal commands, nor would I sing.

However, some songs have catchy phrases that I sometimes repeat or lipsync, either to my dance partner, or to the audience if we're faced to them in a move. Being on a dance team has taught me to act out some parts of a song while dancing if the words dictates the acting or lipsyncing.

This demonstrates that you are sure of your lead and that you are capable of having fun while dancing . . . which is why we are out there doing it!


New Member
I disagree with a lot of the article. There's nothing wrong with singing (lip syncing) during the dance though verbal leads are wrong outside of practice. I've seen Franco Formica sing to Oksana during the Rumba and thought it added to the power of the dance. Maybe the writer just experienced boorish examples of it.


Staff member
Adwiz... I'd say it probably depends on who, where, and when. Franco* is a master of imporivisation so, coming from him, in Latin, that makes sense to me. But I also think that there can also be differences between performative, competitive, and social scenarios.

* For those less familiar with the international ballroom scene, Franco & Oksana are now two time, reigning World Am. Latin Champions.
Social Daning...
Who wrote the article? The person seems to have a major uptight problem. It makes me think he isn't a social latin dancer by any means.

I love it when I dance with a girl who sings and at the same time follow and not lose the beat. If you can't then don't, but if you are at a stage where it is natural to you, do it. However, don't over do it, anything over done isn't good.

When the DJ busts out with a tune that I love, you bet your house, I'll will hum, or sing parts of the song. Just like if I have never danced with you but have seen you dance, I will edge you to take over the dance, I'll ask you to show me what you've got. I'll put my hands on your shoulders and fake a push on the 6,7 where it looks like I've pushed you. I'll entice you to leave the class room out of the dance and I'll ask you to show me what you feel.

I'll create a scene from the song and our dance while using the words of the song as well as verbal warnings of what I'm about to do a solo to let you know not to go anywhere that I'm about to bust out. Something like a cross body and I wisper not to go away. However, I never tell a girl what couple work I'm about to do or what she should do, if I am trying a new move on someone my eyes and face makes it obviuos that something new is coming.

You are a social dancer to depict your souls emotions with your body. If your are at a level that extra curricular activities take away from your dancing then don't blame the other person because that isn't your style, then keep your dancing with that person to a minimal. understand that not everyone displays emotions or dances socially the same. As long as the two of you stay as one, you two enjoy the dance at no cost to those around you and each other, then scream if you have to.

However, what does bother me, is when the dancers become 2 individuals instead of 2 becoming 1 individual. Those who try to carry a conversation, and those who spend their time looking around not concentrating on the music and each other.

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