even if it’s not exactly common, nobody cares.
F/F pairs were a constant view over the years, and recently I’ve noticed a significant increase of M/M ones. At a recent European event I attended, the MM dances easily outnumbered the F/F ones 10:1, which was somewhat unexpected.
male lead here
In our bachata classes we have plenty of female dancers who also learned to lead and it never was a problem.
I made some huge progress when a good leader (salsa class) stepped in to equal out numbers and danced as a follow. He was able to explain me a lot!
And I sometimes dance salsa as a follow with friends. And I feel like it also helped my salsa skills as a lead.
As soon as there are 2 more follows than leads, the argument of that dance teacher was nullified.
Plenty of macho-centric thinking in all kinds of dancing. But then again, Tango was once practiced in male-male couples with the beginners starting as follows and women basically didn’t practice at all, unless they managed to get some other woman to help them out. And then the milonga was more of a social event.
Only thing I mind about switching roles is that don’t switch during the class. Choose one role for the day and focus on it. Also, if it is an ongoing class, it’s not conducive to switch every week either since you now lack the things that were taught the previous week.
It is hard to be good at both. I know several follows who become worse follows as they picked up leading. But I also know several who didn’t but perhaps they don’t focus on leading so much, or were already very good follows.
To elaborate, learning both parts is good for your development as a dancer. It also comes in handy when there are not enough leads. Honestly I’d never come back to a studio where the teacher called me out for dancing as a lead and insisted that I should only dance as a follow.
I’m not sure how it is in other cities, but a lot of people serious about getting better will learn other roles. I think its more ‘accepted’ for follows to learn how to lead, but its more common for leads to learn to follow. I’m trying to learn to be a better follow buts hard to do it organically due to lack of partners.