Confessions of a Social Dancer – Blog about being a Zouker

Trading Places

I have been dancing Brazilian Zouk as a leader lately. I just started little by little, goofing around with my girl friends, and one day some how I just took off dancing. Not the best of the leaders, but yes, leading through an entire song. In Zouk, it is common to see dancers trading places. I have to say I love it. I LOOOOVE …IT! Lots of new sensations that I feel I have to share here.
New sensations:
For you ladies that have never led a woman before, some news: Fishnet pantyhoses are a little bit uncomfortable. Guys are most often waring long pants. But if you are an girl or woman wearing a mini skirt, while leading a lady who is wearing fishnet pantyhoses, you might end up with a rash in your thighs. You use your thighs a lot in leading. Also the long hair getting in the way, you really have to close a head movement sequence in a very clear way for the long haired person to push the hair back in place. Hair, more than garnment, is a real marker in Brazilian Zouk. If the hair is right, the movement is probably right.
And to experience all types of dancers from the opposite side is…awesome. The light lady that swirls smoothly, and has a god arm positioning. Lovely. The soft lady that is like butter in your hands while manipulating her chest box, or waves; or the funky lady that responds to your funky feet. And my favorite: The very creative, independent lady that does not respond as you expect, and give you a challenge – How to lead more clearly. Trading places gives you the posibility to learn more, have twice as much fun and interesting dances at the same party!!!
Getting a happy follower
So what is the key of a good dance. Well, as far as I have experienced, with my tiny repertoar of moves, the most rewarding thing is having a smiling lady. It is priceless!. The last congress I attended, the Barcelona Dance Congress, was special for me because I got to lead through half of it. Luciano Gomes (teacher) approached me during one workshop and said…” Ahh let me se the girl, is she smiling? yess, she is – well done!”. It stuck in my head and it is going to be my goal from now on. Play with the dynamics of the music, funk it up, and get the girl to smile. Combinations will come little by little, but the more complicated they are, the less probable the girls will be smiling, since I have to learn them gradually to make them work on the floor. That is I don’t even try them. Yet.
Prejudice ( my own?)
My experience so far is that women are very helpful, and when leading women embrace hapilly that help. Maybe because we women are most accostumed to put ourselves in men’s position, be sympathethic towards them – these are thoughts that perhaps don’t belong here-. But sometimes, when I try to help men, it is hard for them to get what I mean. A leading lady understands right away when I help her. We are making the dance work toghether in harmony, while from men is more “why don’t you move as I wanted? move woman, move!”. My theory is that because we women have already done half the work following, when leading we have a lot of experience and instincts from it. Men that never try following, have not this to help, and leading and managing the dance can all the opposite to relaxed.
So I openly advocate for men to TRY FOLLOWING, you learn a lot new, from a new perspective, and it will help you to become a better dancer. A dancer that all followers like.
Yours truly: Lili from Stockholm