Take the lead (or follow?)

Posted on over 8 years ago

One of my favorite things to see when I'm out social dancing or watching a performance is a woman who can lead or a guy who can follow. I think there's a bit of pride, maybe a bit of machismo (sorry guys) and a bit of apprehension (sorry girls) when it comes to changing the traditional lead and follow roles and I think that's really a shame. For one thing, learning to follow if you're a lead or vice versa is so helpful improving your skills. You get insights into the job of your usual partners that you just can't get any other way. For another, I love to see salsa that's off the beaten path - whether it's from fusion with another dance (Swing Guys, anyone?), themed performances, or doing a little lead/follow switcheroo.

Take a look at the next few videos. In the first Jorjet leads Jennifer Stein, in the second, David Stein leads Jayson Molina (sorry this one is rather dark), and in the third, two brothers perform a tango routine (note the repeated change of lead/follow - so subtle and so awesome).

Jorjet and Jennifer Stein


David Stein and Jayson Molina



In all of these examples, the lead and follow are the same gender, but that certainly need not be the case. I dance with a rueda group and we've got girls who lead and a few guys who follow and we like to mix it up. We even have a move called "ladron" (the thief) so that we can change up who leads mid-song. This keeps things interesting and audiences love it. The more options you have, the better, right?

So the next time your out at the club, ask a friend to indulge you in a salsa experiment and see how it feels to dance the way the other half does. If nothing else, you'll get a good chuckle and who knows, you might learn something, too.

What Do You Think?