Dear Social Dancers,
today I write to you with a plea. A plea to be kind to your fellow leaders and follows. A plea to respect your partners limits and to always treat your partner as if they were a truly valuable, precious and fragile artifact.
Social Dancing is, for all of us, a chance to show what we've got going on. It's a possiblility to put our hard work on trial, to test, to try out and to see what we are truly capable of, when we don't know our partner inside out.
However - it is sometimes forgotten, that social dance is an offering of trust. And in any life situation, offering trust comes with a certain vulnerability. Followers in particular, are required to give up their control of the situation (to some extent). Now how exactly do we trust someone we have never danced before? LEADERS: it's up to you!
The Intro. It's there for saying hi. To introduce yourself. It's the moment we establish our initial connection to the person we are dancing with. Be nice. Make yourself interesting! Seriously, in the first 20 seconds of a song I usually have some Idea how these next 3 minutes are going to pan out and if I am ever going to give this guy another chance. Sound harsh? Well.. the world is a cruel place. If your Ego can't handle a dancefloor rejection, then find another hobby. You're not going to vibe with everybody and that is ok!
Remember: the followers Body, their health and their wellbeing is the most important good. You must always consider, that you do not know if someone has had some sort of injury so safe dance practice is of the utmost value - don't forget to take care of each other!
Remember, social dance is all about your partner. Whilst us followers have to give up the control of which steps are coming, its also the leaders job to make sure the steps you are leading, are actually doable for the follower.
Here are your ten commandments for successful social dancing:
For the Leaders:
Use Deodorant, Perfume, Chewing gum ;) (and if it's very hot - bring a spare shirt or small towel).
Remove EVERYTHING from your righthand Pocket.
Kindly ask for a dance, smile!
Earn your followers trust first, be respectful. No creepiness allowed.
Take it easy on the sensual stuff if you realise your follower is not up for it (Not everyone wants the forehead to forehead touch).
It's your job, to make your follower look good (not yourself!).
Leaders: DO THE MOVE. You cannot expect someone to understand your following if you do not initiate the move and move WITH your partner.
Respect your followers limits (No Show-Dips on the social floor! No Lifts on the social floor!).
If the Dancefloor is crowded, use your levels and protect your follower from being hurt by others (this is your job!).
Be patient and DO NOT use force. Not every dance will be perfect and not every follower will understand your leading, but don't force it - in any case!
For the followers:
Use deodorant, Perfume, Chewing gum ;) (Do not wear heavy necklaces or beads in your pony tail that could hit your leaders or knock their teeth out - or make sure you have a good insurance policy).
Surrender (relax and Breathe - but please not into your partners ear, again: no creepiness allowed).
Continue your basic, always.
Don't overdo the styling.
Hold your own weight, ALWAYS! (Do not throw yourself back into an uncontrolled dip - you do not know the power of this guys biceps and you do not want to learn how hard the floor is by landing on it head first).
Keep your elbows close to your body when turning - we don't want any broken noses :)
Try not to anticipate the steps: this is the one time we let the leaders (usually the men) be boss ;)
Not every move is a wave. The Leaders will usually make it clear if a wave is what they want.
Be patient. Even if you don't quite understand what your leader wants, stay open to (dance) communication and don't tense up. Keep Smiling!
That's all for now Folks! Looking forward to seeing you on the social dance floor :)
P.s. Feel free to write your experiences and / or your own important commandments in the comments!