Saturday, 9 April 2016

Salsa, modern jive and other partner dances

The subject of leads who show off advanced moves, throwing their partners around and potentially making them very dizzy, has reared its head again.  As it came up on a group dedicated to salsa, and I'm very much a beginner in that style, I didn't feel confident enough to comment in the group.

The feedback I receive, as a beginner, is that keeping to the basic rhythm of the music and giving clear signals are far more important than whether the moves are basic or more advanced.  This makes sense to me.

I see dancing as a form of personal expression, rather than a purely technical exercise.  I always try, when dancing with a partner, to give her the space to express her own particular style.  Believe me, every woman has her own individual style and, for me, getting to see her express herself through dancing is a joy.  Why would I deprive her of the ability to express herself, and myself of the privilege of seeing it?

So, manhandling her into position is not something I want to do.  My task, as a lead, is to give a signal - a suggestion - of what will happen next, and her task is to interpret that how she may.  As one partner said to me, if she has a smile on her face, you're doing it right.  Really, it's just having some consideration for your partner.

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