Do We Need to lead In Ballroom & Latin Dancing?

The art form that is leading is dying a slow but real death, leading to the question, Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing? A couple of years ago, the World Champions Michael and Joanna kept leading and following alive. Every time they went on the floor their impressive displays of seamless movement and connection wowed anyone that watched. Most of the time they made it look like an exotic mating dance of some colourful bird.Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing 1

Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing? – In Essence

Their movement seemed perfect. The connection was almost tangible. They drew you into the dance and mesmerized you almost to the point of hypnosis. You came away with a wonderful memory of what dancing can really look like. If we strip everything else away, like a physicist stripping everything away down to the atomic level, then we can see the foundations of their dancing.

Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing? – Foundations

One of those foundations is leading and following. For me, this is not just the subject of this blog but also the essence of the look they had as a couple. It is what made them stand out from the rest of the dancers and why they always beat Ricardo and Yulia!

Ballroom and Latin Dancing has moved on since then. I completely support the fact that dancing has to keep changing, however, should it evolve to a point where we start to lose the very essence? I personally think not. We all as dancers want to have the best routines and the flashy steps, but without technique, those steps are useless. Some of the choreography that we see now simply cannot be lead and or followed, you would have to have a telepathic link.

Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing 2Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing? – Blame

So who is to blame? The average dance teacher? I too have been guilty in the past of producing routines to be flash rather than sticking to the basic foundations. Do we blame the dancers for wanting routines that are so flashy that there cannot be any leads or follows? Or do we blame the top 20 professionals in the world because they are the ones that set the fashion?

In reality, I don’t think blame can be placed upon one section of the dance world. I think we are all to blame is some small way. A lot of small changes eventually become a big evolution. That’s how we arrived where we are today where we don’t know whether we need to lead.

Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing? – Difficult

The horrible unforgiving side of my personality, which my wife doesn’t allow out anymore, would simply say that it is lack of talent! Lack of talent because Michael and Joanna showed the world how good they were because of the leading and the following. To dance with that much control takes an enormous amount of talent and practice. So the cynical side of me would say that most people don’t lead and follow simply because they can’t.

The kinder version of that truth is just that leading and following is difficult. The temptation is to ask – do we need to lead?

Do we need to lead in Ballroom and Latin Dancing? – Always & Forever

However, we must not abandon the art of leading just because it is difficult. Do we need to lead? Always and forever – yes. Leading and following is the essence of Ballroom and Latin dancing. That will never change. Less flashy dancing with beautiful leading and following will always win the day.


To read about Leading click here

To read about following click here


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