Leading & Following

Leading & Following: Partner Dance Styles.

Social dancing in couples is mainly a phenomenon of Western European culture. Social dance has structure but is not executed in the form of routines i.e. basic rules which once understood allows two individuals to dance together and flexibly determine their choreography, even if they had never met before. This demands that each move element of the dance posses a unique identifying start signal. Initiation of the signal and comliance with it result in the co-ordination of the move element by both partners.

When a couple takes to the dance foor, both partners cannot initiate at the same time, neither ca they both comply. Therefore one partner initiates and the other complies. This is known as leading and following respectively. Traditionally the lead role has been assumed by men and the following by women.

The lead (known as la marca meaning "the mark" in tango) for a move can take a variety of forms, usually presenting itself as a change in pressure (increase/decrease) as the point of partner contact. or in the body position of the leader relative to the follower. The most elegant leads are clear and considerate to the follow without being obvious to the casual on-looker. The challenge to the follower, in choosing to comply with the signal, is in finding ways of self-expression whilst dancing within its constraints.

Consequently salsa demands the abilites of lead and follow of its dancers in order for it to be executed on our club floors in a social context.

Find out more about the History of all Partner dance styles, yes there was an absolute beginning to all partner dances. see here >

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