Should I learn to To Lead or Follow First?

Question by User indigooo113

Hello! I am interested in learning Latin dancing both bachata and salsa (bc I play percussion in both) but I am a very dominant female and I do also date females. From maybe experience of female dancers, would it be better to learn to first lead or follow?


User dhit   

Start leading. It’s much easier to learn how to follow if you already know how to lead than the other way around.

Leading has a much higher difficulty curve tho. It will take more classes and time to be fluent with it but it will make you understand much better the movement dynamics of the dance.

User sabalennon97   

Leading is definitely harder. Which also means it could make you understand the dance a bit better than if you just follow all the time. But learning to do both makes you an overall better dancer. So I would recommend doing both starting with leading. That being said, following and leading have NOTHING to do with gender or sexual orientation, just do what you’d like and choose how you want to enjoy dancing. And have fun!

User Skragbiz   

That can be bit disheartening since followers often wear heels. My friend is a tall follower with heels and she says shorter leaders lead in different ways to make up for the height difference. Maybe if you can get advice from other shorter than average leaders. There are also some forumthreads on the subject

User Danceregal 

I’d learn to lead first. It’s easier, hear me out! As a leader you learn both your own movement and the followers movement but you only practice the moves you know so your vocabulary and skills take a little time to build.

However, as a follower, you will need to build your following skills much faster as you will be dancing the moves that EACH leader has learned and often without learning them yourself in class! Followers need to learn to balance, maintain axis, spin and do body isolations and they also need to learn a broad range of vocabulary movements on top of the following skills of being able to read the cues, feel the music, actively wait for the lead without anticipating the next step and adapting to each partner. Followers are always dancing someone else’s interpretation of the music until they get to a high level where they can start to express their own ideas.

If your preference is to dance mostly or exclusively with women then leading will be a better start as there is usually an excess of females choosing to do the gender traditional role i.e following. If you choose to learn both parts at the same time I would recommend not switching from one to the other in class it’s a head wreck switching back and forth.

(edited to add that dance preferences have nothing to do with gender or sexual orientation and there are plenty of straight women who prefer to dance with other women and there are gay women who prefer to dance exclusively with men. Absolutely nobody questions these choices because it’s about dance and enjoyment)

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