When you go out dancing there are some things to be aware of that will ensure that you have a good time, enjoy yourself more and get along with others who, like you and I, love to dance. Over time I have been studying these points and in discussions with others and exchanges of opinions, these are the things that stand out
Here is my list of the top ten things to avoid on the dance floor
1) Dancing out of time.
For me being out of time is number one. You can’t enjoy dancing if you are not in time with the music. This is the main reason for disconnect with your partner and simply by correcting this problem, you can avoid many of the points that follow.
2) When either person (leader or follower) dances as if they were on their own, doing 1000 moves without taking into account their partner, who also wants to enjoy themselves. Salsa is a dance between 2 people and there should always be a connection between the leader and follower. Knowing how to use resistance will help with this problem.
3) Leaders who don’t protect their partners on the dance floor. This is a very common problem, especially in crowded places. The woman is following our lead and therefore we have to take care of what is going on around us in order to avoid running into other people.
For example, in a cross-body lead, if the man leads the woman and doesn’t realize that there is someone behind them spinning with their arms in the air or taking big steps, it is probable that the woman will get hit or stood on.
4) Followers (over-styling). Styling your dance is great and makes women look beautiful and sexy. However there is a time for everything and the idea is not to style every single beat. You first priority is to be able to respond to the lead and know when the leader allows time for styling.
5) Losing your balance
In a spin it is easy to lose your balance, and not keeping your balance is one of the causes of bad leading and, as a consequence, difficulty in following. For women the same applies, a women with poor balance will not have the time or the connection required to respond to the lead
We should keep our center/balance by having our feet firmly on the ground, this is what I call using the floor
When spinning or turning without control, we are more likely to bang into the people around us. Sometimes this happens and the person who is out of control doesn’t even realize that they have hit someone next to them!
6) Don’t hold onto your partner’s hands: as leaders we have to be able to flex our hands and wrists to maintain a comfortable, easy to follow connection for our partner. For women (followers), the same concept applies, if they hold onto the man with their thumbs, the man is unable to rotate his hands as needed to lead effectively.
7) Pulling and pushing. There is something I tell all my students: when dancing, we never use the words pull or push, but rather lead (invite your partner) or follow (accept the invitation). I often see women flying around the dance floor and the man working hard just to execute a simple cross-body lead. Leading and following is a question of harnessing your body’s own movement to create momentum that you can use to dance.
8) Respect. If we ask somebody to dance and it turns out that the woman is a beginner and the mans starts doing the most advanced moves he learned last weekend in a class, the woman will feel like this was the worst dance she had. By the same token if the man is a beginner and the women was expecting more, it is bad mannered to look bored and desperate for the song to end.
What I do when I dance with someone for the first time is to start with some cross-body leads and inside turns and then if I see that
9) Hygiene. Another thing to be aware of is that when you go out dancing in a club or a social or a party, and you know you will dance all night, at a mínimum you should arrive fresh and take some extra shirts so that you can change if you dance so much that you sweat.
10) Compulsory to enjoy yourself!. One of the main reasons for dancing apart from meeting new people, getting out of a rut etc is to have fun. Sometimes we forget this important detail, because we are so concentrated on doing incredible turns or seeing how fast we can spin the woman we are dancing with. Believe me, doing something simple is often the most fun. Remember it has to be fun for the person you are dancing with as well as for you. So every time we go dancing we should leave stress behind and dance for the enjoyment of it!
If you have read this article, I guess we have something in common: passion for salsa, so lets dance and enjoy this wonderful rhythm
Ralph Boakye Agyeman White
Dance Alive International