I would love to get your feedback on these questions:
What makes you want to dance with someone? What turns you off to them?
There are many things that can make a leader enticing to me, and they don’t all appear in every leader. It’s hard for me to even say that I like one thing more than another – and thus one leader more than another. I expect all leaders to respect me, to be polite and kind, to respect my limitations (either ones that I impose or ones that are imposed on me by my inexperience), and to not mix talking and dancing. But leaders who will draw me in again and again have great musicality – some will be slow and luscious, some will be quick and playful, but all will have a sense of musical phrasing and rhythm. They will have soft but very present frames, with good posture. (Oh the pain of refusing a dance with an otherwise good leader who always leaves me with an aching back!) They will listen for the times when I want to play, rather than steamrolling my contributions and dictating every move. They will also respond to our moods and the music, giving me something slightly new every time we dance.
Things that turn me off are, I think, fairly common: Poor posture, lack of any sense of the beat (although I will certainly dance with beginners who are just learning how to use the beat and rhythm of the music!), teaching on the floor, talking through the dances, dragging me off balance, insisting on wild moves when I am clearly asking to avoid them, running me into other people, etc. I won’t hold beginners to an impossible standard, but I do insist that they focus on what is important (staying on the beat, navigating safely, respecting me) and not jumping into crazy moves when they don’t have the foundation for them. And I won’t blacklist a leader for a minor infraction. I also don’t concern myself with the other followers that a leader chooses to dance with, unless I see him consistently running for the Pretty Young Things (a term I’m pretty sure I picked up somewhere … ?) and ignoring better but less conventionally attractive followers.
On what points do you disagree? What have I forgotten? And, very importantly, what do the leaders think?
*This post inspired by Alex’s recent post about how you decide to dance with someone … and what makes you decide not to.