Leadowing: Part 1 – The Benefits
Over the years, several students have been joing the leadower revolution, learning both roles to expand their salsa skills! In this two-part series, we have interviewed and highlighted the most common themes in their stories becoming Dame2Salsa leadowers. Here’s some of their takeaways in their own words from this past year. Part one is all about the benefits, so sit back and get ready to be convinced to join their salsa revolution!
Empathy and Improving Both Roles
The most useful thing I learned is how the follower feels. I now know that the difference between too much, too little, and perfect tension is really subtle. Learning the role of follower helped me understand my role as a leader. I shouldn’t force, but guide and respond to what my partner is saying through footwork and body expression
I think learning another role teaches you how to respect your dance partner. I realized how important it was for the follower to actually follow rather than do the steps independently (something I was certainly guilty of when I first started dancing). Dancing as a follower taught me how important it is to be gentle when you’re leading. I think when you understand what both roles are experiencing it’s easier to respect your partner. You know the detalles that make dancing together more fluid, seamless, and enjoyable. At the end of the day, dancing is a partner activity and if you can empathize with your partner, you’ll be able to move together in tandem.
One thing I’ve learned from learning the leader role is how important it is to be a follower. Being a follower and allowing the leader to lead is crucial. Nina always explained to us the importance of being a good follower not trying to lead, but having learned the other role I really understand it. Learning the leader role has 110% made me a better follower. I feel like I know what to look for and what feels right in terms of turns, tensions, transitions and all.
Knowing how to dance both roles helped me understand both the dance and the person with whom I am dancing better.
As a follower, you experience different types of leading. Then, you can choose the most comfortable one and then apply it when you become a leader…dancing follower helps me be a better leader.
Two halves make a whole and Rueda Switch!
I feel that learning both roles is, in a way, becoming a complete salsero. On top of that, when dancing with Nina or Damián, or anyone else who knows both roles, it’s so much fun to dance and switch roles fluidly over and over again.
It took me until the end of the year salsa party dancing rueda switch to really understand what it meant to know both roles. Being able to seamlessly transition from one role to the other without having to think made me realize that salsa is not following or leading, each is only one half of a whole. Salsa is comprised of both. Learning to dance as a leader was like finding a missing puzzle piece, a piece that I didn’t even realize I was missing. Now when I dance, it feels complete. I think to really learn salsa, to appreciate it and understand it, knowing both roles is essential.
Adding a second role also gives you more options on the dance floor. If your partner knows both roles, you have even more fun by constantly interchanging roles during a song.
You’re already halfway there!
The most surprising thing for me was how many moves you actually know after the initial shock wears off. Since I already know the followers moves, I know what to expect as a leader. Also, it’s crazy fun!
While it’s a challenge to change your footwork, it’s still fun because the moves aren’t completely new to you.
It takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you new things that help you improve both technique and style in your usual role.
More roles … More Dancing!
The one thing that drew me to learn in the first place was the freedom of dancing with whoever and whenever you want. I am not a fan of the fact that girls/followers typically wait for the guys/leaders to ask them to dance. I truly enjoy the liberty & versatility!
I loved the fact that it gave me twice the number of people to dance with.
I loved that I could ask anyone to dance, even with just the 10 moves I’d learned from level 1. An incredible and empowering feeling!
You’ll meet new people and then be able to dance anytime a salsa song comes on…as a follower, there will be no waiting around to be asked to dance! You can do the asking!
It’s so much fun to know both roles! If you feel like dancing, you don’t have to stop dancing all night long.
Above all, it allows me to dance double…changing from leader to follower within the same song is a lot of fun.
All in all, the votes are in and the results are clear! Leadowing helps your original role, creates better connections for social dancing, is easy to learn, and will leave you without any excuses to keep your hips moving during social dancing.
Are you a Dame2Salsaero leadower who would like to add your two cents? Send us a message with own opinion!