Every part of her body was pressing against mine, from her forehead, her chest, hips and thighs. I could feel her rhythm but most times it was forceful, too vigorous. What surprised me is that she could not follow my lead despite her Lego-like attachment.
I’m broader, taller and obviously stronger than her but yet taking a step or two forward was just taxing. Should I grip harder, push with more effort? I did not want to. I know that Kizomba is a dance of subtlety and that a man should never force his way with a woman, in any way.
I asked for another dance, why I don’t know. I regretted the first time, yet here I was. Maybe it’s in my Aries nature to be dominant, to be right, to be followed, but not this time. She had her own idea, let’s call her Sarah.
Those watching were mesmerised by Sarah, I was irked.
According to Leigh Nathan of Salsa Addicts, a woman has to: “Be responsible for your own body – using your posture, arm strength, footwork, and hand hold in a receptive way that will allow the initiation of movement (or lead) to be translated into your body. Allowing everything to become floppy or muscling through movement with too much strength will mean that your partner has to work too hard to communicate movement.”
Needless to say, Sarah was not receptive and damn did I work hard, eventually though I just stepped on the spot.
Another thing Leigh said: “It’s important to recognise that your lead is sharing him with you, and being caught up in expectation of style, skill level or ability is both unfair and not fun.”
I know a few Kizomba songs, ohk I know more than a dozen. So when one of my favourite tracks plays I know exactly when to pause or just do a basic. I can feel the reaction from my partner and it’s a good good feeling. I’m in tune with the music but Sarah’s expectations, EISH.
“People feed off energy and reciprocate in kind. It’s important for a leader to make a follower feel comfortable and relaxed and to ensure that the dance is connected to the music,” says Edd Wyatt of BailaAfrika.
A connection is sacred to Kizomba, and to Bachata and Cuban Salsa. The music, your partner, you have to link to both to enjoy the dance. But she has to allow you.
Edd Says: “Poor technique and basics can never be masked by good leading/following. If a follower has their weight distributed incorrectly or their elbows pointing skyward, it doesn’t matter how skilful the leader is.”
Now I’ve heard ladies say: “I’m a feminist, I can’t be submissive. I’m bossy and usually tell people what to do.”
It’s not about being submissive; enjoying a dance requires one to lead, one to follow. The adulation is usually reserved for the lady but for that to happen she has to let me.
And besides the basics, it’s also the mindset, and clearly, Sarah’s approach was one of doing what she wants to do.
So lady, let me lead you, without your permission, I’m just a picture-less frame.