Ballroom Dancing Basics: 10 Characteristics of a Good Leader

Ballroom dancing is all about partnership.  Without a good leader developing sensitivity to the needs and desires of his partner, dance is not fun – it’s a battle.  

A good leader in ballroom dance:

A good leader is bold.
1) …has the correct dance posture.  

A man leads a lady by transferring his weight from one foot to the other.  He will direct her with his body, either with body contact or through the use of his frame (arms) as an extension of his body.  

Good dance posture will have the ears lined up over the shoulders, shoulders over the hips, hips in line with the knees, and knees over the balls of the feet.

2)  …is comfortable to dance with.

He knows that by holding his dance posture with a nice, long spine he’ll be able to easily negotiate the team successfully through the song.  Consequently, there is no pushing or pulling involved in partner dancing.

3)  …has excellent communication skills.

This is not to say that he must be a witty conversationalist, although that would be nice.  The leader has many decisions to make and he must be eager to convey his actions to his partner. For example, what dance they’ll do, the timing he’s using, and the direction they’ll be moving.

4)  …is decisive.

Through repetition and practice, the leader knows what will or will not work with a particular partner during their dance.  He’ll act in a positive manner on his decisions and she’ll have no choice but to happily go along.

5)  …is observant.

A good leader will naturally have a feel for his partner’s abilities and will dance accordingly.  To begin with, he watches traffic (called floorcraft) and makes decisions based on the flow.  As he chooses his next partner, he’ll be sure to pick someone who has been sitting for a while.

6)  …practices safety on the dance floor.

‘Watch out for the other guy’ applies to more than just on the road.  It’s definitely considered a no-no to perform tricks, lifts, drops, or competition arm styling and kicks while on a social dance floor.

7)  …has lots of experience on the dance floor.

After putting in the time in class and at socials, he has become the type of dancer that women want to dance with. Good manners and dance etiquette come naturally to him because he’s a leader in an activity that demands superior social skills.

8)  …is intuitive.

A good leader’s instincts allow him to automatically pick up on his partner’s abilities. He also has a feel for the room – who’s dancing, as well as, where they are and what direction they’re likely to go.

9)  …is self-assured.

Many things go into developing the confidence that makes a good leader so self-assured.  Above all, it’s his experience.  Without a doubt, being on the dance floor on a regular basis makes the leader feel more relaxed.

10)  …must be BOLD!

Many men are, initially, afraid to move forward into their partner not wanting to step on her feet.  A good leader must be fearless and courageous on the dance floor.  He can’t be timid in expression, direction,  or intention.  Like this guy from the Dance Safari post, “Partner Dancing in 1776 – The Allemande“. I’d say he’s bold, alright.

Reminder for a good leader to 'be brave'.

Enjoy this terrific post from salsaselfie.com. It explains the importance of partnership in ballroom dance.

Think of how well these attributes will serve a gentleman in his daily pursuits.  Just some more reasons to enjoy ballroom dancing!

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great article!

  2. Thanks! Leaders have a lot of responsibility, don’t they? We appreciate the hard work they put into guiding us around the dance floor!

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