Yesterday KT posted a discussion on our forums regarding Partner Preferences that said:

“When I first started dancing salsa over 2 yrs ago… I used to prefer flashy partners… those who can lead me into crazy turn patterns, dips, and all kinds of moves I’ve never seen before. Even amongst friends who are in the same level, from the same class… it seem to be more fun dancing with those who can execute moves they’ve learned outside of class (even though often it is not executed well). As time passes, I notice my preference in partner changed… these days I don’t care so much about crazy turn patterns as I do about my partner dancing on time, or being playful with the accents of the music, or executing a move that’s clean and simple instead of sloppy and complicated. What do you think makes a good partner? Does your preference change with time?”

I responded to that post because that is exactly the development that I went though. When I first started dancing the stronger and flashier the lead, the better. I loved dancing with guys who did crazy dips, neck drops, danced big and strong. But to be honest sometimes dancers dance this way to hide the fact that they are not versatile with the lead, musicality, body movement and after you dance with gentle, layered dancers who can add body movement, accented leading, styling, shines, playfulness, speed variations and much more, you realize how much more interesting and challenging this style of dancing really is for a progressing follower.

Now it is much harder for me to go back and dance with the flashy dancers…and sometimes it actually hurts as they are so rough! Dancing should definitely not hurt and be aggressive so remember that next time you are leading or following!

I was reading a salsa blog on the San Diego Salsa Dancing Website and it had a list of pet peeves from a woman’s perspective. Here is pet peeve #3:

“(3) The rag doll leader. OMG, one of the worst possible ways of encountering rejection on the dance floor is to obtain that reputation of tossing your partner around like a rag doll. Guys should be gentle in their lead. If she’s a beginner or inexperienced, forcing her through moves is not the solution to the problem. In any case, an experienced dancer can still suffer from the rag doll effect. I know this long-time instructor (and good dancer) who got her shoulder dislocated by dancing with one of these guys. It’s a serious problem, not just a pet peeve. No one wants to go dancing to end up injured.”

So gentlemen, now that you know what women are talking about, please know that if your dance partner looks like a rag doll, you are not dancing salsa correctly! The dance is close, sensual, textured and gentle and should leave the woman wanting more.

Looking forward to seeing smoother salsa on the dance floor!