Gentlemen, you are in control on the dance floor! You are like the President, the pilot, the one with the power and responsibility to guide your partner through the dance. Your job is to initiate and anticipate everything and warn your partner of your intentions. When leading, it is better to be decisive than to be right. In other words, you are always technically right as long as you clearly tell your partner what you want her to do. You can dance offbeat, go the wrong direction or make up a new step and as long as your partner is adequately prepared, she can accommodate you and make you look good in front of the crowd. After all, your guests don’t know your intentions or your repertoire! If you are hesitant the woman will stumble. Leading and following evolved from the Victorian era. During this era, women were thought of as precious, yet fragile and likely to fall down at any time (corsets had many women fainting from lack of oxygen)
The Bride, The Follower
Ladies, your job is to smile and avoid getting stepped on. The more thinking and analyzing the follower does, the more difficulty she causes her Leader. Empower your Groom with the permission to lead. Often women will try to be helpful by “back-leading.” Back-leading is giving the leader hints or suggestions, moving him around the floor or setting his tempo. Any Leader will lead poorly when they are insecure or distracted by outside pressure or too much input and stimulation. Leaders are inclined to allow back leading because of their deep love and respect for their partner. It is the Follower’s job to be the “wind beneath the wings” of your leader and let him do his job. A Follower does herself and her Leader a disservice by back-leading as she compromise the unified look of the couple and her partner will not have fun. The end result of back-leading risks frustration and dampens enthusiasm for dancing together at future social events. If you are tempted to back-lead, try closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths as you dance. This will relax you and force you to rely more on the energy transmitted from your partner rather than visual crutches. Whenever discussing dance, it’s best to focus on the positive and couch criticism with constructive feedback. Or better yet, relax, let the dance teacher handle the mistakes and simply enjoy the ride!