- FINGER CRUSH
Unfortunately, executives are subject to the dreaded “Press finger“By women who support their weight and balance by squeezing their partner’s fingers as if they were milking a cow. If you’re a finger squeezer, you are a potential source of injury to your partner. Make it a priority to improve your balance and own your steps to avoid him sitting on the bench. Injured men mean less dancing for the rest of us and we don’t want that!
- MAC TRUCK & INVISIBLE CONSEQUENCES
This is not about weight, but about tension / tone. In order to let the expression flow freely, it is necessary to establish a beautiful, fluid and pleasant connection with your partner. If it feels like the leader is basically dancing FOR you (physically dragging you everywhere, keeping your time and balance), it’s a workout. You could weigh 90 pounds but be the heaviest trailer in the club. Managers don’t want to dance TO THE you, they want to dance WITH She. Listen to music, stay on time, and manage your own balance. Imagine having to wear it to dance … for 3-5 minutes. On the other hand, if a Follower is too easy, she can feel invisible. He feels like he’s chasing you. It’s like dancing with a ghost … it can see you, but it can’t sense your presence enough to guide you. (This is not the same as returning). Whether salsa, bachata, cha cha or kizomba, you need a certain amount of elasticity in your connection so that a real lead and follow comes about. When you find the right level of elasticity, will it feel like you are actually dancing together, and isn’t that about that?
Trying to guess what a leader will do fails to serve the purpose of following. And it can ruin your connection with your partner. Big followers are great at responding to the leader’s … well, lead. Women often fear being behind or missing out on the lead, but sometimes we think too far ahead and anticipate what will happen. That way, you’re likely to miss the lead, disrupt its flow, and screw up the timing ruin your connection. It takes skill to wait for this hint and have the right level of responsiveness. This ability can differentiate good followers from great followers. Your first job as a follower is follow. There can only be one driver 🙂 So don’t try to “guess” what is going to happen because you will miss out on the fun of “feeling” what he is going to do in the moment and where he is going to take the dance.
Kidnappers take back and lead to another level. Included in the kidnapper bucket:
- Overstyler who use every opportunity to slam every styling element they know into eight for the whole song, whether it goes with the music or not.
- Social performer who expend excessive energy (often turning their partner off) eyeing the crowd and potential viewers.
- Self-dipper who drift into dips without guidance from their partner. This is an accident waiting to happen. And can hurt your unsuspecting leader.
- Crazy who always try to squeeze in additional turns … just cause. He leads 2, she leads 3. He leads 3, she tries 6 as he chases her wobbly, immaculate spins across the dance floor, ready to catch her completely off-beat and unmusical fall.
Don’t be a kidnapper. Managers don’t like to dance with them.
- THE WILD HORSE
The wild horse devotee usually has no timing, musicality or following technique, so she has Steps at random with no particular connection to music or what their partner leads. She may be completely unaware of this, have fun in all the randomness, or may freak out because she doesn’t really understand how to follow (yet). The wild horse is one of the hardest to lead because you just can’t control them. Her lack of frames means you can’t even help her stay on time unless you put her in a Kizomba storage room and lock her up. Ladies, if you are new to dancing, keep it simple and don’t be “extra”. Tip: Practice your timing yourself, take courses, learn shines, Listen to music, get feedback from a trusted teacher and keep it simple. If you’re experienced, you know your # 1 job – to follow, and you establish a connection that allows for a more controlled “extra”. While there’s tons of freedom in salsa, there are certain rules that keep it flowing and help your manager know where your weight is. If you take extra steps / take missing steps or bounce back at 5.5,6,7.75,8 leave your poor guide suffering in confusion. Moral of the story, don’t be a wild horse.
- DIVA DANCING
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Do not smile
- do not make eye contact to show interest in the dance
- looking bored / looking around other dancers
- lazy tapping / following as if you were too good for this dance
- give negative energy
- Throwing hideous looks when a move doesn’t work / blaming them for everything that doesn’t work
Outside of tech, your setting could be to turn it on or off. Men like confidence, a casual atmosphere, a sexy attitude … but not an “I’m too good for you” attitude. Sometimes it’s just plain tasteless, but it’s possible that some women don’t know they are doing it. Be a friend and let your best friend know if she’s a dancing diva. Whether you’re dancing with a beginner or someone you think is a superstar, it’s good etiquette to give them a positive, happy vibe 🙂
It may seem like women are the ones to complain about bad breath or BO, but it goes both ways. Have some mints ready (prevent choking by chewing gum), a change of clothes, deodorant and body wipes. Don’t make hygiene the reason he won’t come back.
- “SECRET” WEAPONS
This category is more about awareness and has nothing to do with actual dance technique, but it’s worth mentioning.
- Sharp jewelry (Great point suggested by several readers): Rings with sharp stones / edges or flying necklaces can make your partner feel like they are on a battlefield. Similar to the “jump” test, we do not make any unwanted surprises with our outfits, test your jewelry on yourself and see how it feels to scratch yourself with it. If you see blood or scratch marks, it may be better to find less dangerous options.
- Braided ponytail weapons: If you are planning on dancing that might involve twists, high braided ponytails can be considered a weapon. Imagine a stiff, tightly coiled rope whipping you in the face with every twist. Save yourself this hairstyle for kizomba.
So girls, let’s do a self-test every now and then and make a few adjustments if necessary. Let your dance speak for itself and make you want to come back! Have fun dancing!
Thank you to all the men who have shared their stories and opinions over the years! Let’s make our dance experiences even better 🙂
Guys, did we miss something? Comment below!
Related blogs:8 reasons she hopes you won’t ask for a second dance
Caryl Cuizon, co-founder of iFreeStyle.ca.