Dance Like Your Partner is Injured


An easy way to improve your lead

The other day a young man asked me to dance.  I could tell immediately that he was either a beginner or had never learned to lead because he was a yanker.  I have an old shoulder injury that I need to protect, so I told him to go easy on that shoulder.  He promptly adjusted his lead and his dancing improved dramatically.  “If you pretend that everyone with whom you dance has a shoulder injury, you’ll be a much better lead.” I told him.

First learn to lead

Because he knew he wasn’t a very good lead, he told me he thought he had to lead extra hard to get his meaning across and that he was trying so hard to remember his moves that he couldn’t think about his lead at the same time.  My advice to this earnest youth who really did want to learn how to be a good partner was the same as I tell everyone.  Learn to lead a few moves very well and forget about expanding your repertoire.  A few basic moves led well will make you a sought after partner.  A lot of steps badly led will make you the guy everyone avoids.

It happens all the time

This guy is far from the only dancer whose lead improved when he was concentrating on not hurting my shoulder.  I see it all the time.  I can’t stress this enough: Learn to lead FIRST.  Then add more moves to your repertoire.  Nail your basics before building your step list.  It’s not the variety, it’s the skill that makes everyone want to dance with you.

Take a private lesson to find out where your lead is lacking and practice what you learned until the feel of the right lead is in your body.  The rest of the dance will fall into place much more easily once you’ve done your due diligence and meanwhile you’ll be rewarded with happy partners who tell their friends to dance with you.  I guarantee it!

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

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