Lead with the Body

In Brazilian Zouk, the leader’s body plays a great role in leading.

A lead that is done mostly with the body, as opposed to arms, is almost always far more comfortable and clear. Using the body to lead can also help the leader to dance himself, instead of just moving the follower around.

I do not lead with my arm.

He who leads with his arm has forgotten the face of his father.

I lead with my body.

– Part of the Leader’s Catechism, from Stephen King’s imaginary dance novel.

The body leads in at least three different ways: visually, through body contact, and as the source of a lead done with hand contact. Often, all of these play a role in leading the same movement.

Visual leading means the leader uses his own movement to indicate what the follower should do. This type of leading consists of intuitive

Continue reading Lead with the Body

A Love and Hate Affair

Head movements and cambrés; who doesn’t love them?

They’re one of the distinctive characteristics of Brazilian Zouk. Done well, they look very impressive and beautiful. They give us possibilities of expression, musicality and movement that other dances don’t have.

Well… I do love head movements and cambrés. I really do. But my feelings for them are conflicted; it’s one of those love and hate affairs. The problem is not with the movements themselves, but with the widespread abuse of them. By abuse, I mean people doing them badly. I mean people not

Continue reading A Love and Hate Affair

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 

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

Dance Etiquette – Tips For Social Dance

Those of us that have been in the social dance scene for a while know our basic social dance etiquette like we know the back of our hand.

For some though, dance etiquette doesn’t seem to come as easy, and those lacking these non verbal rules can come off as rude without even meaning to be.  These rules encompass almost all the social dances (Zouk, Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, West Coast Swing, Cha Cha, etc).  Here’s a few simple rule and tips to help you understand the best way to approach the social dance floor.

1 – My personal number one rule, and pet peeve, is no critiquing on the dance floor!  We are all always learning, and it is very rude to critique, tell someone they are not doing something right, give funny faces, or try to correct them while social dancing.  Even when someone asks me personally to tell them if they do something wrong, I won’t do it because it’s distracting and I’m not in the business of breaking people’s spirits.

2 – Make sure your outfit is “social dancing” proof.  Are your earrings too heavy?  Do the buttons on your coat/shirt tangle in girl’s hair?  Is your skirt/dress too revealing when spinning?  Test it out before you head out to dance.

3 – Wash your hands!  Not just when you go to the restroom, but every once in awhile too.  Remember that in social dancing, you’re

Continue reading Dance Etiquette – Tips For Social Dance

CONNECTION – Tips For Social Dance

There are many elements to creating a connection: the embrace, the music, technique… but the most important one is the intention of connecting. You are not dancing alone, you are dancing with another person. Forget about yourself, forget about making mistakes, forget about the coffee you had in the morning, and forget about your to-do list. Give the 3 minutes of the song to the person you are dancing with to make the dance “ours” and eternal. Live that experience and make it as the most pleasurable thing during this relationship that lasts the time of that song!