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Men Styling Steps Presentation
| || || | This article gives great information and tips for guys to be better at leading moves as they dance salsa, but applies to any dance. If practiced, these techniques and hints will help you became a great and smooth dancer in any occasion, with just about anybody.
- GUIDE, DON'T MAKE
Most girls will be familiar with guys making you do the turns and combinations. After all, when you go home after a night of salsa dancing, you feel that your whole body is sore as you if were beaten by a gang of wild monkeys. Guys! Lead as if you were showing the way, not as if you were making her play catch up. It’s ok to be toned and firm, guys, but not rough. There is a line between those two concepts and believe me, it’s not a fine one. There is a big difference when it comes down to making versus leading. Want to know what kind of lead you are? Do a survey among the girls you dance with. They’ll be happy to tell you.
- BE SPECIFIC.
This one baffles me: the guy places the hand up and somehow, by magic, he expects the girl to turn. What king of dance instructor teaches this concept to their students? Every move has to be specific guys. If you want to move a chair from point A to B, you have to make it happen right? So lead as if you were making the turn happen. But remember: guide vs. make. Be assertive in your moves as if she were to close her eyes and still be able to follow you.
- PUT YOURSELF IN HER SHOES.
Guys, guys, guys!! If she is falling after the same turn patterns, or she feels uncomfortable with some of your moves, then don’t do them. Try combinations and moves that help the girl feel more comfortable, and are at her level of dancing. Always adapt to her, without expecting her to adapt to you. It’s funny to see some guys doing the same endless turns until the girl is falling down. You guys, this is not your signal to stop those turns. If she is loosing her balance, don’t keep going on and on.
- IMPROVE YOUR LEAD VS. SHE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO FOLLOW.
Changing this perspective will help you see opportunities to be better at leading. Often times, I hear guys make comments like: “I don’t like dancing with her, she can’t follow”. Instead why don’t you say to yourself: “What can I do to improve my lead in this particular move, so that she can follow it next time?” After all you want to improve as a lead right? Then start by working on yourself. Thinking this way helps you be the guy who can lead everybody. And ladies will enjoy dancing with you because of that.
- BE CLOSER TO HER.
Let me put it in other words: be within reach. Dance at a distance that will make it easy for you as a lead so you don’t have to be running after her. I suggest a one-foot distance between your body and hers as you dance. You will feel more in control and this will help her feel your lead. In addition to this, don’t over extend your arms when you dance, especially in your open breaks. This creates extra distance between you and your partner, making it hard to reach or lead the next move.
- BE IN TUNE WITH THE WAY HER BODY FEELS AS SHE DANCES.
Pay attention to how she feels, her movement, her momentum, her resistance, her body language, her distance, and her styling. You will be able to place combinations and moves that flow and fit the moment versus placing moves or combos for the sake of the move.
- PAY ATTENTION TO THE MUSIC.
If you don’t, you are just going through the motion - you are not dancing. Remember that we dance to the music, and so does the girl. You will also be able to coordinate your moves better, and trust me, your dancing will improve dramatically.
- LEARN HOW TO BE AN EFFICIENT LEAD, AND THEN APPLY STYLING.
Many guys out there get so into the moves and styling that they end up forgetting about leading the girl, or end up confusing her. Sometimes styling can interfere with the girl’s following, so be aware of it. Assertive leading helps you be in tune with your dance partner. Do you feel in tune with the people you dance with or are you just dancing with yourself?
- KEEP LEARNING.
Learn other dances: It improves your favorite dance. Think you know it all? Then you must be a world champion and everyone enjoys dancing with you! Not your case? Not to worry! We can all improve and learn new things, even as a professional dancer I will always continue learning. Take some privates, work on your technique and try learning a new dance.
- LEARN HOW TO FOLLOW.
This is the best thing you could do, if you are really serious about dancing. Do you really want to be exceptionally good at leading? Then practice following. Take your dancing to the next level and understand dancing from the follower’s perspective. True leaders know how followers feel. What better way to know than by being one?
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at Salsa TV, Singapore
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