To be better as a bachata follower it has to do more with how you show up than the level you show up with as a dancer.
Maybe you have been dancing for a while and you find you don’t get asked to dance as often as you would like on the dance floor.
As a leader, there are certain followers I appreciate and look for in followers and it has nothing to do with their skill level.
If you include in your dancing what I have written out below, you’re going to have everyone want to dance with you, and everyone’s going to leave with a smile.
So here are 3 BIIIIIG tips on how to be a better Bachata follower
First Tip: Be a better listener.
It’s one of the hardest things to do. I know because I have ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder), but listening is a skill set that you can get better at as a great follower.
I recognize that when we are dancing, there could be some tension, and you don’t want to miss a move; that is why followers are sometimes rushing and trying to get ahead of the leading.
I want you to think of a follower as a great listener. So, for example, you meet a friend at a coffee shop and have something that they want to get off their chest. And you’re sitting there sipping your tea. You’re receiving that message, you’re receiving those words, and you are feeling the energy, and as you become more present and attentive, your friend gets more excited and wants to offer more.
Has there ever been a time when someone is talking, and you listen, that they back off?
No, of course not; they get excited. They want to share more with you. And isn’t that the best feeling when you’re dancing and connecting with someone that they’re fully there with you? They’re offering and sharing and giving. So remember that as a follower, you’re in control because you listen. It’s not the leader.
So work on being a better listener, being more present and attentive.
Second Tip: Smile with everybody.
I have to say whenever I go on the dance floor, I will always ask the dancers who are smiling. I don’t care about their looks or dance level; that welcoming, open energy of a smile attracts me. Sometimes, we’re nervous, especially if we’re beginners going on a dance floor, but a smile warms everybody up.
So, smile at everybody!. Smile to the beginner; smile to the anxious leader; smile at the best dancer. Show your best smile because everyone will want to dance with you when you put out that positive energy.
I often regret at the dance floor when l ask someone to dance, and they’re not smiling, and we’re dancing, and I want to make this person happy. Still, they’re just not enjoying it. We all have bad days and bad moments, and I’m not judging that, but my message is don’t make it about you. As a leader is there to serve you, you as a follower are there to serve and give out that positive energy. If we use this approach, what else is going to come back? But more positive energy. And isn’t that what we all want? So it’s simple. Smile 🙂
Third Tip: Quarter, quarter, half and tap.
It’s so basic. But even intermediate dancers miss out on the easiest way to do basic turns, both left and right turn. Have you ever felt like when you’re dancing, you’re falling behind?. Or do you have a hard time keeping up?. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting your basic left and right turns in order.
And so, followers, whenever you do your turns, to your right or your left, it doesn’t matter, always start with a full twist of your torso into a quarter turn, then another quarter term, where you have your back to your partner, then a full half to come around and then a tap.
Even if I dance with a beginner, I just get more excited if a beginner does a solid turn.
It’s like driving a super-responsive car that when you turn that steering wheel instantly, it goes precisely the direction you want. And this hack you can practice on your own. You don’t need to be dancing with others; you can do it at home in front of a mirror or without one. And as you twist, just say to yourself quarter, quarter, half and tap,
It’s simple to hack. But it is a hack that I continue to perfect and get better at even now. So remember, dancing it’s about the foundational things, not the fancy crazy dips and tosses that we all see on YouTube. Solid foundations make Bachata feel smooth. Not the fancy stuff.
The above tips on how to be a better follower aren’t complicated and there are so many more tips that I can share with you.
Ultimately a lot of this has to do with the energy you put out, how present you are, and the foundation of basic turns. I would love to get a chance to dance with you on our dance floor at some point. And if you’re reading this from some other city, send us a message saying Aleks, “I’m from Singapore! or I’m from Montreal, and your article helped me”. And if there’s something I miss, your input is valuable for me, so don’t be shy and share your feedback.
I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you coming in week to week, having fun, connecting with new friends and letting lose to amazing Latin songs. Click here to check our current schedule.
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