Personally, I have never understood the aversion that men have towards learning to dance. Granted, in the beginning, the learning process is quite humbling and rough on our ego. But the rewards far outweigh the struggle. In any dance setting there are always more ladies than there are men. When a man is a good dancer, he is easily the favorite in a dance setting. Being a good ballroom dance leader is the secret to success on the ballroom dance floor.
First of all, in my opinion, there is something extremely empowering in being a good ballroom dance leader. As the man becomes a good leader he can walk into any dance setting and feel at home. Knowing that you can lead anyone into any ballroom dance pattern is an amazing feeling. It’s as if you have the “code” to speaking any language in existence.
Secondly, one of the keys in being a good ballroom dance leader is being a strong leader. In order to accomplish this, you must learn to have a good and strong frame. The frame is how you hold onto your partner, and is the equivalent of the steering wheel in your car. When I started training to be a teacher one of my mentors told me that for as long as you train, all that you will learn is how to have a good frame, and how to improve your frame. Now that I’ve accomplished all of the levels in dancing, I realize how accurate that statement is. What I also learned is that a man doesn’t really become a strong leader quickly. It takes a long time.
On the dance floor, the man has many responsibilities. The most important one is leading. As he dances, he also needs to keep time with the music, think of what pattern he is doing, what pattern to do next, and pay attention to all of the other couples on the dance floor so that he can maneuver between them. Ultimately as he becomes a very accomplished dancer and learns many variations to each dance as well as having learned phrasing, he would then lead the lady into patterns that match the music that is being played. This would make it look as if he is dancing a choreographed routine, or that he is choreographing as he dances. Next week I’ll continue this look into what it takes to be a good leader in ballroom dancing.