You're Not the Boss of Me!

#1
Okay, we've talked "around" this in alot of threads but I'd like to ask again. When dancing Salsa (or any other partner dancing for that matter), what is the real purpose of knowing your role? Is it to establish "who is the boss"? No, IMHO, it's not supposed to be. Boriken describes it eloquently:
borikensalsero said:
My aura, her aura engulfing each other making one seamlessly intertwined essence that we appear to be the whole instead of pieces of the total.
"Pieces of the total", how beautiful the dance when the two become one on the dance floor. So, why is it that we have these man against women wars? Why do we get these I'm the leader so I'm king of the universe OR before a lady even dances with the guy, you beat him up because you don't want "any" guy to tell you what to do ATTITUDES? I really don't get the competiveness in "social" dancing. What do you think?
 

Sagitta

Well-Known Member
#2
The purpose of knowing your role is so that you and your partner complement each other, becoming whole. This role is re-defined every time two people join together for a song or two, within the contextual framework of what a leader and follower do. This nonsense of who is boss/fighting etc is just crap!!
 
#4
I've noticed that a lot of "who's in charge" fights happen with someone you've never danced with before. Sometimes I can adjust to their frame instantly, other times its a lost cause. I danced with a woman last night who is quite advanced, and I've seen her dance as a leader and she easily does both roles.

But dancing with her was unenjoyable for me...I had to eventually follow her lead and it was a continual game of cat and mouse. Thankfully the song ended soon enough and I felt kind of bad because I never wanted to dance with her again.

There is something very romantic about the two roles working together, and I think most people forget that its a partnership. The leader can only lead if the follower allows themselves to be lead.

Another aspect is the differences in dance background. I only know on1 Salsa and I dance in a slot mostly. I've danced with women who do other dances like Cumbia and found that they tend to fall into these habits while i'm trying to lead them though a Salsa motion. There was a lady I was dancing with the other night that and I have no idea what kind of footwork she was doing...might have been Samba but she was in her own little world and I couldn't wait for the song to end. :shock:

The worst times that the 'tug of war' happens are when the woman is dancing on her own, or if she has bad frame and I end up dragging her around like a sleeping cat. I can imagine for the ladies that a very rough or aggresive lead is equally undesireable. :?

I always try and listen "without my ears", but it is a wonderful experience with both partners are listening to each other. ;)
 
#5
I have so many not so nice things to say about leaders, they are so nice that I rather keep them to myself. It seems that most of the times where cohesiveness is absent is because the leader has a completely distorted view of what leading is, or to be fair, they are on their way to learning.

The purpose of knowing each other’s role is to facilitate, and far more, to allow the transition of 2 bodies becoming one dance-soul. The better each dancer knows his/her role, the easier the transition to physical unity, or physical oneness. As SG has mentioned, without the consent of each other there is no union.

It’s like a married couple still married for the sake of everyone’s opinion but their own. Marriage says they should be together, act together, interchanging happy/loving moments and experiencing love to each other and for each other, but in reality all there is, is a fight to act married rather than being married.

Sadly even marriages have the head hancho who thinks my way is the only way, and even when married they don’t agree in how to even hold hands. The same happens with dancing, many leaders think that my way is the only way and the girl is basically there for them to toss around like a hot potato, regardless of what her roll is/should and must be; A sharing companion of all experiences for betterment of the whole.
 
#6
Hmm, I saw more of that "sack of potatoes" dancing last night Boriken...it amazes me what some women put up with. I am most certainly a fan of the smooth and steady lead...

I remember one girl last night who had just about the lightest frame ever...but I just went with it and led her very smoothly and slowly through the motions. I really focused on our connection during the basic and visualized the dance as being nuturing and supportive...she preferred a softer touch and that is what I shared with her.

Thinking back, it was my best dance of the night...and I've realized that as much I complain about lack of frame...I much prefer it to someone who gives me the death grip.

I also look for the little things...a while back I picked up a lady's hand in the two finger hold and I saw how she reacted so I asked her "do you prefer the palm to palm hold?"

She said "yes!" with a warm smile and so I switched and it made me feel good to know that she was more comfortable with this.

Its the little things that make the difference...:)
 
#8
I have danced where it seemed like we were engaged in a tug-of-war, and I have also observed this in others. I think it comes from either an lack of understanding of the fundamentals of connection, frame, lead/follow, and timing, or an inability to apply these fundamentals due to inexperience.

Many people learn to dance in group classes, and learning dance fundamentals is especially difficult in this environment. For example, it is common for a teacher to state that proper connection requires tone in the arms, but not tension or noodle arms. Unfortunately, the students have no idea where they fall on this continuum, so they may simply assume that they are doing it correctly because they recognize this advice from previous group classes.

As another example, last week I was at a beginning group class where the instructor was teaching underarm turns. One man asked, "Does the man turn the lady, or does she turn herself?

The instructor responded, "The lady turns herself, but the man leads the turn." Perhaps this response speaks volumes to someone who already knows how to lead, but such a person would never have asked this question. I'm sure this response meant nothing to the man who asked the question, who doesn't know what the word "lead" means and had never danced with someone who knows how to follow.

The most helpful response would have been, "Lead me in it 10 times in a row, and I'll tell you each time whether you're giving me too much or too little." Of course, that isn't feasible in a group class setting. I expect to see this hapless leader on the dance floor in the coming weeks arm wrestling with his partners because he doesn't know how to lead.
 
#9
scorpionguy said:
But dancing with her was unenjoyable for me...I had to eventually follow her lead and it was a continual game of cat and mouse. Thankfully the song ended soon enough and I felt kind of bad because I never wanted to dance with her again.

There is something very romantic about the two roles working together, and I think most people forget that its a partnership. The leader can only lead if the follower allows themselves to be lead.
I think the partnership thing should be taught and explained to everyone who has dance lessons on a regular basis. Some people just don’t get it, both men and women. I’ve witnessed too many non-partnership dances than I care to remember. Every time I see this I have overwhelming fits of awe. :shock: Both partners are doing their own thing, regardless of what the other person connected to them is doing. On extreme cases, you have something like this:

Bossy men: The guy thinks he is in command, has total control, has the right to inflict pain on his partner, leading means dragging her around the dance floor and spinning her is pretty much the same as stirring soup.

Bossy women: She is special, the centre of the universe, all dance partners rotate around her axis, she is in command, the person in front of her is just there to fill in the gap, everyone must succumb to her style, she is the master.

When you see these two species dancing with each other, it is like two meteors colliding. They really clash. I can’t understand why these people enjoy dancing. They must live in their own little self-centred worlds unwilling to share themselves with anyone else.
 
#10
Sagitta said:
The purpose of knowing your role is so that you and your partner complement each other, becoming whole. This role is re-defined every time two people join together for a song or two, within the contextual framework of what a leader and follower do. This nonsense of who is boss/fighting etc is just crap!!
You are so right. It is crap. :evil: But what promotes these attitudes? Dance schools, workplace, stress? Is this scenario present in freestyle dancing or ballet with your partner? Ballet? Is it because the roles are defined and people just concentrate on the role name and are just "title" happy? Hmmm....
 
#11
well its so true of bossy men and bossy women-some im sure could fix there problem if they want to-some nah. however there are so many different types of people with different feels that it is what it is, saying that i think that the men should loosen up more(not all men) because the women generally feel the music more and there not really dancing just doing robotic moves and whipping the ladies like rag dolls all over the floor.now dont get me wrong, sure i danced with gator grip women and women who are always styling ever second ahhhhhhhh ,but to acheive that oneness in dance- the flow together- seamless union- we have to stop thiking sooooooooooo much. i wish people who dance would step back watch a live band and watch(if there doing this) (the band) how they move together as one.
 

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