There are a million reasons to learn to lead as a female – you can learn because you want to be a better dancer, or because you want to be a teacher, or because you think being ambidancetrous is the way of the future.
But honestly, I’m not convinced. Plenty of amazing female dancers don’t lead. Plenty of top-level teachers have not cultivated competency in both rolesl. And realistically, while I think being ambidancetorus is pretty awesome, I don’t necessarily think it’s where the Lindy Hop community is headed.
Personally? I lead because it’s fun.
And in case you’re interested in becoming a Leading Lady, I just want to share some of the reasons I love – and I mean love – being a lead.
Potential energy is badass
The more I lead, the more I learn to recognize this awesome thing called potential energy.
Potential energy (n): 1. the energy that a piece of matter has because of its position or nature or because of the arrangement of parts; 2. the thing awesome swing dances are made of
You might remember this concept from physics (if you were awake in class), but have you thought of it in relation to dance? When I teach a class, a lot of the frustration I see in leads is “What do I do next?!” These leads have yet to discover potential energy.
Potential energy fascinates me intellectually and excites me emotionally. The more I lead, the more I recognize moments of potential energy – a split second of connection and momentum, which I can only describe as “badass.”
When I am aware of these badass moments (BAM!), there’s a chance to take that energy and do something amazing with it. Granted, just because I can recognize the potential energy doesn’t mean I’ve actually figured out how to harness the magic – but that leads me to my next point.
Repetition makes me more creative
I know, it looks like a contradiction. But hear me out.
I hate that moment as a follow when the variation I tried almost works, but ultimately fails – and any desperate attempt to get the lead to recreate that moment on the social dance floor is often annoying and unrewarding, for both myself and the lead.
In contrast, as a lead, I can recreate the same moment as many times I want, thus creating an opportunity to figure it out. More importantly, the ability I have to repeat a move until I understand it allows me to find ways to influence, change, and awesome-ify each moment. The cool part is that I’ve found follows tend to get really excited, too, because it allows them to play in the moment and be creative in their own right.
Leading is a constant exercise in exploring the many facets of a single move. I truly believe I am more creative as a lead than as a follow.
Leading is like magic, and it makes me happy
With all this potential energy, creativity, and ability to try things repeatedly, awesome moments become possible. Those awesome moments feel like magic – as if the Fairy Godmother of Leading has come down and blessed me with a new move.
When I finally get a move I’ve been working on, I get overwhelmed with happiness and excitement. I’ve been known to jump up and down with happiness, high five my follow, and / or yell with excitement (BAM!). It’s a feeling of accomplishment I don’t always get when I’m following.
Other interesting results of leading more
- I actually enjoy follow-heavy scenes, to an extent. I find leading and following to be almost equally exciting, for different reasons, so it makes me happy when I have ample opportunities to do both.
- I find it’s significantly easier to meet people, especially of your own gender. Which is awesome, because I love the women I’ve met in Sacramento and San Francisco.
- The creativity I find in leading has begun to seep into my following. While this is to be expected to some extent, it’s still exciting to see – I recognize momentum and rotation more readily, which means I’m more capable of influencing how I react.
I’m just curious…
For Leading Ladies: what aspects of leading do you particularly enjoy? Why did you start learning?
For Following Fellas: have you had a similar experience? Why do you love following?