5 Ways Follower’s Build Trust With Their Partner

February 4, 2016

While leader’s can build trust in their partners in a variety of ways, the follower builds trust in one way in particular: by showing their leader they are attentive, and will respond quickly to their leads. Leaders can then relax, knowing their partner isn’t going to do anything unexpected (or at least, nothing they won’t like!) ensuring a more enjoyable dance. Here’s how we can accomplish this.

1. Dance on a short lease.

What do I mean by this? If you have a dog on a leash (pardon the metaphor), and need to make it move somewhere, a shorter leash means you don’t need to move your arm as much to it. Likewise, you can maintain a stronger frame, stay balanced on the balls of your feet, and stay alert to your partner’s guidance, which allows you to respond faster.

2. Wait for the Lead!

The number one pet-peeve of leaders everywhere is a partner who hijacks the movement because they think they know where it’s going. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: wait for the lead, not just to initiate the step, but throughout the ENTIRE step. There are an almost infinite number of variations to every step in the syllabus, so why limit yourself to the handful you know? Your patience is the greatest gift you can give your partner.

3. Give as good as you get.

Some leaders lead more strongly than others, but that doesn’t mean you should let your frame collapse, or let them shoot forward across the gap like a zombie. To maintain your connection, you must match their resistance. Of course, if the pressure is painful, or too light to feel, you may need to say something (see below).

4. If you need to, take care of your partner.

Sometimes, a leader unwittingly starts moving into the space of another couple behind him. Instead of actually following a step blindly, do your partner a favour and give them some extra pressure on their back, while looking with your eyes at what - or who - is blocking the movement. This is dance lingo for ‘I just saved our lives’, and your leader, realizing what almost happened, will appreciate you protecting them for a change.

5. Be kind in your criticism.

There are times when you may need to say something to your leader in order to avoid being injured. If you are actually practicing together with intent to improve your technique, this can also include any ambiguous leads you receive. Be aware however, that most leaders (particularly men) are sensitive to criticism about their dancing. Ideally, you can inject a bit of humour in with your comment (‘that looked like it would have been fun, let’s try it again!’) This extra display of social grace, when delivered properly, will earn you serious bonus points.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.



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