Question by User The818
Hello! I’ve been doing salsa/bachata for about 9 mo, doing lessons 1x/week, and socials 1x a week or 1 every 2 weeks. I follow, and around 4 months in I thought I should try to also learn to lead. I’ve since stopped, mostly because its intimidating and nerve wracking and also bc I thought it was hurting my following, I’ve got a lot still to learn, like copas and shines. I would like to learn to lead one day- at what point is it appropriate to learn the opposite role in salsa/bachata? Has learning both roles simultaneously ever been done successfully?
Salsa lead here.
Yes it is possible to do both. Once you fully grasp the followers steps (a bit beyond the basic, so including the copa and such) as well as the followers tricky bit (the connecting, relaxing bit, which allows you to follow) you can also start to lead, since a lead should be aware of/know the steps a follower should make.
I wouldn’t recommend learning it both at the same level, because then you will be struggling with both sides problems at the same time. So once you feel you have the basic+intermediate steps down, go try to lead the basic moves (side steps, left turn/right turn, inside/outside turn after).
If at any time you feel overwhelmed and that one role stops you from progressing in the other role, drop that role…
Just whenever. Nobody knows. But probably better to focus on one thing first so that you have some sort of stable base in it, and since we all learn at our own pace, there is no known good time.
I don’t know if leading skills will help you as a follow. Many follows I know have become less sensitive follows after they started to lead too. But not all. I don’t know why. Perhaps they had not reached a proper good follow level yet (and this is after years of dancing, not months). Perhaps something else.
As leader, following skills will help your understanding of leading and definitely in sensing some suggestions the follow might have.
I have to say I am a bit disappointed in the onesidedness of this. Help! :-/ 🙂