Within our Bangkok salsa community (www.salsabangkok.com) we’ve been discussing what
makes a good follower. Much attention is given to clear leading in partner dancing but following,
traditionally the woman’s role, has its challenges too. Heidy Robinson from
Salsawild gave “a few tips on how to be led well”, which Atip summarised for us. On reading this I
was struck by the similarities to ‘dancing with life’.
You might have noticed that we are never in complete control of our lives. There is always a
chance for something unexpected and unplanned to happen (this seems specially true in Asia!).
To avoid the discomfort of the unknown and unpredictable (or sometimes just out of habit!)
many of us do all we can to stay in control, or at least give the impression we're in control.
Attempting to control other people, events and even ourselves is hard work and drains our
energy. It means missing out opportunities, limiting your spontaneity, conflict when others don’
t comply and
disappointment when things do not go according to your plan.
Dancing Through Life
If you are not in control, you might be wondering who or what is? Some say life is pure chance, some believe in fate and others
name our higher selves, God or the Universe. The more I coach, the more I see how perfectly situations and people come into our
lives to teach us and serve us. I do not believe this is chance, I believe we are 'being danced'.
Whilst this dance is choreographed and led for us, I do not see us as merely puppets. We have the opportunity to ignore the
lesson, in which case it will return to us in a different form until we can’t ignore it, and to dance in our own unique style using
technique and flourishes to enhance our experience. In salsa dancing we can not be led if our arms are limp and floppy, in life we
can not laze on the couch and expect life to be brought to us on a plate! Here are 3 tips from Heidy…..
The most important thing to remember is to loosen up. The looser you are, the simpler it will be for you to be led. If you are When you hold on to life’s events too tightly you’re not in a position to be led. Let go of expectations, be flexible. Ask for what
stiff, then it is difficult for the man to lead you to the proper spot that he wants you to go.
you want, but stay open to different possibilities of how this will be delivered.
Be aware. If you are aware of your partner and how he moves you will find it a lot easier to be led by him. Pay attention to In dance we’re usually led by the hand. In life we’re lead by the heart. Pay attention to your feelings. Adopt a process for tuning
when he reaches for your hand and what direction he is pulling you. If your attention is elsewhere, you will not be ready for
the move he is about to whip out for you.
in and connecting with your dance leader. This could be mediation, walking in nature, swimming, journal writing, whatever it takes
for you to switch off your head chatter and be guided your heart. Clear out old feelings, childhood patterns and limiting beliefs so
you can be attentive to this moment.
Smile! It will make the man’s job much easier if you look like you are having fun. Who wants to lead a
woman around the dance floor if she looks miserable? Get out there and have fun!
If it ain’t fun why are you doing it? Do things that make your heart sing. If there’s something you have to
do- find a way of making it fun! Smiling and enjoying each moment is the quickest way to attract others to
dance with. Let your partner know what you like and you’ll get more of this! Soon you’ll be spinning,
wiggling and shining like a pro!