Question by User Elaol
Do you have any advice for leads that are as tall as me (6’6”)? Average height of a girl here is 5’5” – 5’7”. Do you have any tips for how to look good (besides her having super high heels)?
It is really difficult for me to do some move like to wrap her arm around my neck, or do basically any movement where I have to pass under her arm. Also, when we dance sensual, her head doesn’t go higher than my chests.
Are there any tall guys here who can help me out?
also very tall here:
– the number one item is to focus on dancing more with tall women. i find girls under 9 inches below my height including their shoe height is where it starts to break down. at over a foot below, it’s just really unfun. unless it’s a rotating class or a small venue, i very rarely dance with short girls.
– you’re going to increasingly realize there are certain moves that just do not work because of the height difference. certain wraps, as well as the sets where you’re standing in front with her in shadowstep… they just don’t work. there’s one where the guy hammerlocks himself and then bends forward to let her swipe over his head… that doesn’t work either. especially in sensual bachata, a lot of moves where your leg is in between hers and you’re guiding her body with your leg/hip movement, it just doesn’t work when she’s too short.
– especially with women in a certain height window, you have to be rather reserved with certain moves and women who don’t really know what they’re doing. never had it happen before with this move and have done it a ton, but one girl completely misread it and she clotheslined herself on my outstretched arm. i had my feet planted and firm frame because she was supposed to hold onto my other hand and could have done literally anything that wasn’t to smash her face into my arm. i caught her so she didn’t fall but that’s super embarrassing regardless. basically for this move it’s girls whose nose is roughly at your shoulder height.
I’m 6’3”, been dancing bachata for 10 years now, teaching for 8 or so. It’s 100% possible to become very skilled and very desirable as a dance partner despite being so tall. I know 3” makes a difference but I also dance with plenty ladies who are very short, including some of my favorites and some with whom I have the most amazing dances. Some thoughts:
-IMO, if you’re taller, your learning curve will be steeper. If something is a little off, it’s more noticeable on a taller dancer. With that said, there are benefits like the ability to create longer lines and move across the floor. You’ll also get noticed way more easily. There are a LOT of tall ballroom dancers and they really benefit from those things.
Never compromise your posture and frame for a shorter follow, unless you’re dancing with someone kid-sized. It’ll make your dancing look bad (and again it’s very noticeable if you’re tall), it’ll also make you look less confident, and follows may feel you’re in their space. So focus on standing tall by default, and being proud of it.
-Know that even with large height differences, you can still do most things. For turns under a hand, you shouldn’t have to compromise your posture bc you only need the follow’s hand to barely go over your head. If you have the right distance, you’ll find most can do that no problem with their arm extended.
-As with others, find what looks good on you. That’ll change over time as you learn more and more, so you’ll have to continuously adapt.
Most importantly, know that you can be a great bachatero, it’s absolutely possible. Go in with that mindset, looking to enjoy yourself, building confidence as you go.
I have videos of my 6’3” dancing on my YouTube at Daniel Collins Bachata if you’d like to subscribe and check them out 🙂 Hope it helps, feel free to ask questions!
Update: Oh one last note, if in closed position your frame is open to the left as it should be anyways (meaning your upper bodies create a V shape), your follows won’t feel like they’re forced to stare directly at your chest. It’ll allow them to be more comfortable getting close. Sometimes you’ll find that they even pull you in closer, or in more relaxed songs/dances they may rest their head on your chest. It can be really nice.
I’m less gifted than you are, also a SF style fusion dancer.
With your height you won’t be able to lead some moves but you’ll be able to do things like picking up follow and setting them on your hip. You also can’t go under her arm but you can go under your arm which is connected to her’s, maybe. Have some fun and play/practice with a skilled partner sometime to see what you can do with your height.
Your height will not define your dancing. Do not try and force close embrace. I’ve danced with girls from 6’4″ to 4’8 and even girls with identical heights will not always be able to dance time same positions. Most the time I keep short girls in open but there is one that can do micro with me. Focus on having great technique in open. It will be easier to learn to dance there and then adapt to close embrace than to try and learn to dance in close and adapt for the height difference at the same time.