Social Dance Studio: Different Types of Dance Partners

November 25, 2014 by
Filed Under: Blog, Dancing Tips

Different Types of Dance Partners: Social Dance Studio-

dancing at ballroom and latin eventsAs you start to venture out and try your new skills on the dance floor, you will notice all different kinds of leads and follows. Rather than get overwhelmed by the fact that the dancers are different than your instructor, I am here to help you identify the differences and learn how to handle each type of dancer, depending on how they lead and follow.



1. The Manhandler

A man who has an aggressive lead tends to be a bit more harsh in how he directs you and can at times be too harsh. Ladies, when you feel an aggressive lead, it is important to follow with a similar aggression. Now, if a man is too aggressive, that may not be something easy to follow. But if he is aggressive in an intentional way, it may mean he is wanting to try harder moves with you. As you follow, follow with confidence. If he hits moves hard, do the same. I don’t mean to get super hard in you follow, but to add tension. Don’t get too soft on him, otherwise you will not be able to keep up with the follow. If he is too aggressive, just try your best to follow with strength to get through the dance.

2. The Control Freak

This can look like a few things in a girl. Aggression and confidence are two different things in a follow. If a girl is too aggressive, it may be because she is trying to lead. If she is doing this guys, I apologize, but try to go with it. If you fight this kind of girl, you will just be playing tug of war the whole dance. Girls should let you lead, but if they don’t, try to soften up your lead a bit and go with the flow. If you find that she is simply not listening to your signals, it may be because she is not sure of what you are doing or needs a stronger lead. Give her a more obvious signal to help her out. If she still doesn’t listen, you tried your best. Now if the girls aggression is in a confident way, that is a good thing. Just be confident and enjoy.

3. The Gem or The Hard to Read

Light leads can be a good and a bad thing. The good in it is that it can mean a strong leader who is confident enough in his dancing to know that he only needs to give the correct signal in order to lead the girl. Keep this in mind guys, you don’t have to be forceful to tell a girl what you want to do. If a guy has a light lead like this, it is a gem. So ladies, listen well. Follow lightly so that you can make it easy on him and you can read his signals. It will make the dance flow easily. The negative side to a light lead can be that it can be hard to read the signals. Especially if they don’t know how to make the signal light and obvious at the same time. If you have a guy with a light lead and you can’t seem to read his signals, try to give him as much control as you can. We should be giving up control when dancing anyway as ladies, but even more so when you need to read that light signal.

4. The True Follow or The Fragile One

Light follows usually have a tendency to be a good thing. A light follow means she lets you have control and is easy to lead around. The problem that can arise with a light lead is when you are trying to lead her in a fast move and she is following too lightly to read what you are doing. Rather than telling her to give a stronger follow, try to adapt to her a little bit. Don’t loose the strength you have in your moves, but move her through them a little lighter but with an obvious signal so that she can pick them up. Most light follows will adapt to you, since they are good at following your lead, but if it is too light, be fragile with your leading.

5. Limp Noodle vs. Bricks

When people are new to the dance floor, they tend to have one of two things happen. They don’t know how to have tension, so they are to limp with their movement, or they are nervous and make their bodies stiff. It is very hard to lead or follow someone who is having these issues. If limp is the problem, it will not be a blast, but try to lead her as strongly as you can or follow lightly. If they are a brick, lead lightly and follow cautiously. These are the types of leads that can be literally painful to follow.

6. Good vs. Bad

If you have ever gone out dancing, you know when someone is dancing well and when they are not. There are going to be men who are too rough or beginners who are still learning how to signal you. There are going to be girls who control too much and don’t follow well, or are just divas and don’t let you lead. Be prepared for everything when you get on the dance floor! Even though it may not always seem fun to dance with some, see it as an opportunity to improve your lead or follow by learning how to dance with someone who isn’t is a strong dancer.

They are so many different types of people in this world and there are going to be different kinds of dancers as well. So be flexible, focus on your own dancing and how to adapt, and recognize that each partner is an experience that gives you an opportunity to learn something. Have fun!

– Bella Ballroom Instructor, Tayler