What is the worst thing a Follower can do while dancing with you in a Social Dance Party or Lesson?

It’s common to hear some Leaders complaining about certain Followers in Social Dance!

It has many reasons, and it varies a lot, also the situations change according to each community.
Many times, the Leaders don’t know how to act when they find themselves in situations which the follower is somehow compromising the dance, weather it’s because the follower isn’t really connecting to him, isn’t trying to feel the leading (when the leading is being precisely made, of course) or is anticipating the moves, predicting what the leader wants and ends up taking a wrong decision. Nobody want to sound rude or superior and sometimes, even a gentle feedback can be misunderstood, although sometimes it may be necessary, in order to keep the dance safe! Leaders can also get hurt!

Have you ever had any of these thoughts crossing your mind?

– My goodness! She’s basically doing everything by herself!

– She’s been over styling the whole dance, I can’t build a sequence of movements cos I have to improvise the unexpected everytime!

– I would love to dance with that girl but she seems to be only interested in dancing with the teachers or pros.

– Why does she put head movements in every single turn? I’m afraid of trying some moves and accidentally hurt her.

– I’d love to explore move closed embraced movements but if at least a deodorant had been…

– It would be nice if she held her own body, I’m making a lot of effort to move her.

– Why does she try to correct me all the time during the class? she is as new as I am and we have the teacher to correct us!

Well, here comes your chance to speak up and let every Follower know how they can please you better and then, improve the quality of the social interaction in both environments, parties and lessons.

Share your thoughts in the comment field below and tell us what you would appreciate if the Followers stopped or started doing with Leaders while dancing in a party or practicing in a lesson.
If you prefer not to identify yourself by writing your name, it’s ok to stay anonymous but just identify yourself as, for exemple: Leader in Bachata / Follower in Brazilian Zouk / Leader in Tango, etc….
So we all can understand and learn better what varies in the different Social Dance styles.

The Social Dance Communities and all dancers appreciate your time spent here to take part of this research!

20 Comments on “What is the worst thing a Follower can do while dancing with you in a Social Dance Party or Lesson?

  1. Followers who keep a way to heavy connection. Although they might be good at following, the amount of energy it takes to support them and lead them is double or triple of what’s really needed. At the end of the dance you feel exhausted. It’s not really enjoyable.

    Overstyling ladies with bad fundamentals are worse, especially when they try to fix your leading by giving stupid bad advice like “support me more” or “be more clear” (by this they mean rough).

    The worst of the worst are those who complain that leaders are too rough when they follow like a ton of bricks and force the leader to match their terribly heavy connection.


  2. 1) Spagghetti hands… That’s one thing that needs improving on many followers
    2) having to drag a person even through a single turn (gives me upper back pains) so ladies need to learn to carry their weight in general
    3) look at me and concentrate to be able to respond quickly and on the beat to various moves
    4) try and enjoy it. (Maybe even an occassional smile) If i sense a beginner i wont drive them crazy with complicated moves so relax and at least try and enjoy the simple stuff.
    5) Never throw your whole weight at a dip. A dip requires balance on both parties not big arms and strong back on the leaders side
    6) when a follower doesnt relax at all for a dip (possibly cause they r scared to let go)
    7) too much resistance on the hands ( some followers feel like am arm wresting with then – even some experienced ones )
    8) when followers think they know what am about to do and try and finish them move bythemselves …thus resulting in me having to let go grip/hand toavoid them injuring themselves. Eg reverse wrist grip or reverse elbow due to follower doing their own prediction on a move.
    9) please learn the basic beat. That is the most annoying. This applies to many leaders too.
    10) last but perhaps the most important : realise that there are other people on the floor. So dance closely,avoid moves that take 20 square meters, respect people next to you and try not to extend arms to far on an open break. Hands should be in a W formation during and open break. Make small steps.


  3. Brazilian Zouk follower

    The worst thing ever is when a leader shows you clearly that you don’t meet his expectations. That you are not good enough to dance with him and he is not enjoying. They show it with non-engaged face expressions and a general body language. Some more open, some try to hide it, but as a follower I always feel the energy. it’s bored, arrogant, not giving. And then I think: well, this is what distinguishes a dancer from someone who can dance. Because a dancer enjoys the simplest move, just for the sake of moving, swinging, feeling the flow. And someone who can dance, wants to execute everything he has learned 🙂


  4. Understand that it is not good etiquette to ‘teach’ on the social dance floor, so I’ll just try my best to communicate by feel ‘a light & constant connection’ at the beginning of the song. However, some followers just do not understand, and their connection just goes slack completely no matter how hard I try at my end to keep it constant.
    In the same way, if any leader is trying to do any advanced patterns and feels that the constant connection is compromised either by leading imperfectly or the follower unable to do the advanced movement, then the lead should modify to something simpler.
    Would be nice if there was more emphasis on feel & connection in Zouk classes 🙂


  5. Bad things are :
    – getting a “no” when u invite a girl Who has never danced with u or seen u dancing, and 2 seconds later she dances with someone else
    – when u stop dancing and she simply turns away without a smile or thank u
    – negative statements like “im not good, I cant do this, Im still begginer…” Just relax and focus on the guy.
    – giving up on a movement Just because a small flaw happened or because she has never seen it.
    – focusing more on beat than on your partner. I understand if u are begginer, but even some advanced girls start walking/sping the very first second the beat starts. Connect first.
    – when im asking her hand and she doesnt give it to me because she is doing too much styling, like with the hand on her hair or looking away
    – when she grabs u too much blocking your leading
    – when she (thinks she) has a good musicality and try to get all the details of the song without your leading. Lets explore the music together, otherwise try solo dancing


  6. I have danced a lot with many followers, and I could list so many things. Unfortunately, that would be like writing an essay here so I’ll probably stick to two things that are in my mind.

    1) One of the biggest things that really annoys me is when the ladies over style her movements to the point you can’t lead. It gets to the point that it could be potentially dangerous for both partners, example would be forcefully leading herself to a cambre, or deliberately blocking your movements for her to do her own movements. Even worse, they would dance away while you look bewildered, thinking am I dancing? For crying out loud, IT’S A PARTNER DANCE!! A Partner Dance is when two people dance together and communicate with each other via dancing. It’s not a show or anything. This completely destroys the enjoyment and connection. This is partly why I also disagree to some extent on ladies styling classes, if they were designed to be used on a movement that is happening. I might as well get a chair, sit down and watch the lady dance if she just styles herself….Having said that, the best ladies who can style are those that can actually compliment the guys leads, as well as not clashes with the guys movements.

    2) I am surprised this has not been pointed out, but this can apply to both guys and girls, its just unfortunate that I seen it more on the girls side. Cross dancing. What I mean is when a dancer from another dance background goes to zouk and arrogantly thinks they do not need to take a class. This is more annoying because they think they know the dance to the stage where they can jump levels. The biggest culprits tend to be those who came from salsa, bachata and tango. They would do one beginners class and jump to an advanced class. Yes, having a dance background outside zouk gives you an advantage in learning faster, unfortunately that doesn’t mean you know your basics or fundamentals. Zouk does have it’s difference in comparison to other latin dances such as the head movements, musicality, body rolls etc. I think anyone who switches to zouk or plans to learn the dance properly should commit to the beginners classes and learn the fundamentals, irrespective of whether they have a dancing background or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thankfully it rarely happens, but I’d say the death grip; THE WORST.

    Especially for someone who is tall like me, it weighs me down, breaks my posture, and makes it unnecessarily difficult to lead efficiently and lightly.


  8. I find that the worst is when the partner not being present while dancing, most obvious when the partner is looking around while dancing (a farewell or greeting to a friend not included).

    Also unpleasant (and scary) are those who add in (unlead) head movements and/or cambres but aren’t familiar enough with the technique and/or unfamiliar with ways to signal an upcoming hijack. A combination of those ends up unexpectedly pulling strongly on the connection, causing a need to either do some sort of balance recovery, or catch the follow, or both.


  9. The worst thing is lack of enthusiasm and not being present in the dance. In the most extreme cases, the follower has an expressionless face and no eye contact, no personal interaction at all during the dance. Certainly no smile. It’s very unpleasant. Having a dance like this will make me avoid dancing with the same person for a long time, unless I know her and know this is not normal.

    This can happen for many reasons. Sometimes I too am so preoccupied with something I can’t be as present in the dance as I should. However, sometimes I see a follow who is all smiles and excitement when dancing with an advanced leader turn into a bureaucrat from Soviet Union when dancing with someone who is more of a beginner. Of course, some people are better dancers than others and some have better chemistry with each other. It would be silly to expect people to enjoy dancing with everyone equally. However, attitude wise, the best social dancers are those who can give each dance their all, and enjoy dancing even with beginners.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s annoying when followers don’t focus on the dance. Sometimes girls say hi/bye to, blow kisses to, or wink at other people mid-dance. It’s disrespectful to the leader, but also keeps them from following well.

    It’s also annoying when followers only listen to the beat. They’ll interpret leads with great musicality as needlessly complicated and confusing combinations, and likely not follow them well.


  11. Justus (Bremen, Germany) Zouk Advanced Leader

    The most annoying thing is being rejected when I invite a lady to dance. Women mostly don’t invite for a dance, so they don’t understand that it really hurts, when they say “Oh, I just want to have a break!” and five seconds later you see them dancing with another guy. It happens 3-7 times each party; sometimes I only want to go home…


    • The only time I would ever reject a guy for a dance is if 1. I’ve danced with him and it was uncomfortable (e.g. using his thumbs, twisting my arms, being rough or being sleazy), or 2. the ladies that danced with him looked uncomfortable (for the same reasons).

      While the dancer is most likely not even aware of this, it doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable for the ladies. But since it’s impolite to give feedback during social dancers, such dancers remain unaware, continue to dance the same way, and therefore continue to face rejection.

      You have to consider that the frequent act of rejection is a sign that one’s leading is not pleasant (however painful this truth is). This is especially so if the follower then dances with someone else 5 seconds later, after saying she’s on a break.

      In my scene, followers will usually dance with anyone that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable. Leaders don’t have be great to have their invitations accepted; they just have to make us feel comfortable, regardless of our dance level. Sleazy, painful or crazy rough leads are an easy way to get rejection.

      So for leaders who face lots of rejection (assuming the scene is not snobby about skill level), perhaps one can ask a variety of friends for some honest feedback about why that might be happening. You may not always get the truth from everyone, but at least it’s a start to knowing how you can improve your lead and decrease the number of rejections.

      Taking a hard and honest look at the dance experience we give to others, and working on how to improve that dance experience, is a great way to start making yourself a much sought-after dancer. And this applies to both leaders and followers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fantastic reply! I’m going to share this 🙂
        And of course goes for followers not being invited to dance. If it’s happening all the time with you, it’s time to introspect. Or even ask for feedback productively.


      • On the other hand, I’ve noticed this is much much more likely to happen with people I have never danced with people. So, what exactly does that say?


        • In the case of dancers you’ve never met before, some ladies just don’t want to take the risk of possibly having a bad dance and getting hurt or hit on. They’re probably waiting for someone else to dance with you, and they’ll want to watch your dance level first, before accepting your invitation.

          Some scenes are more “snobby” than others, in that dancers will not dance with you if they don’t know you. Some dancers tend to hang out and only dance within their own cliques. In this case, there’s little you can do, except go to classes to get to know more people, or try to connect with one of the popular or regular dancers, who can then introduce you to other dancers.

          Do note that followers tend to share information about who to dance with and who to avoid… so if you see followers whispering, scowling and pointing you out to ladies you’ve never met before… well, they could be saying something negative.


          • “They’re probably waiting for someone else to dance with you” <= This. I used to indiscriminately accept all invitations to dance. Got sick of being flung around and getting my arm wrenched.


    • Who cares if they refuse.
      They might be tired or don’t feel like dancing with you / me.
      Then comes along their dream dancer.
      Whom they have waited for all evening, of course they are gonna dance then!

      I see it too when I refuse the girls.
      They get upset, angry, whatever.
      I might be tired, do I have to excuse myself all the time?
      I want to save my energy for the dances that I know I will enjoy.


      • And you really think you are a SOCIAL dancer?


  12. Flaccid arms and not even trying to match the force used in leading. When that happens, it often feels like dancing alone with air. Not to mention when there are movements that need counterforce, it makes it impossible to do them.


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