These tips are from the brilliant Salsa dancer Magna Gopal,
who has traveled the world and danced with more leaders
than probably any other female dancer out there.
So listen up guys.
The emphasis here is not only focusing on one aspect of leading.
This will not make you a good leader.
It is a combination of the following techniques that will make you a fine leader.
Frame - Use more of the entire frame (muscles of the core, back, chest, shoulders, lats) to lead instead of just small muscle groups like biceps, triceps, and forearms.
Tension - Particularly in the fingers because even without taking a step just a slight change of direction in your fingers if you have your frame engaged and proper tension can provide a signal to a follower (permitting that your follower also employs her frame in this manner).
Timing - You could have the above and not understand how to keep time while doing your patterns and the dance wouldn't be as rough to the follower but would be quite confusing.
Attentiveness - Be aware of the follower's dance level and challenge the follower without making them feel uncomfortable; this might mean dropping 90% of the moves you know but for 5 minutes, it's a small sacrifice we can all make.
Etiquette - This isn't stressed enough but asking a lady (especially if you aren't best buddies) to dance instead of just grabbing her hand and pulling to the floor is a courtesy that is sometimes lacking. And if you see people having a conversation and again, don't know them well enough to butt in, then come back at a better time to ask for the dance. If the dance floor is full and finding space to dance will risk injury to you, your partner or someone else in the vicinity, skip the song. Always say thank you, please, etc and if they mess up and apologize, an "it's ok" is also appropriate. We all make mistakes - yes..all of us - and sometimes it's not even our fault but we apologize anyways. Acknowledge it and try to have fun for the rest of the dance. Another point on common courtesy: if you hit someone, bump into someone, or someone does that to you turn around and acknowledge it. If you wouldn't conduct yourself in that manner among strangers on the street then the dance floor among fellow salseros and friends is definitely not the place to do so.
Ladies, if you have other suggestions to help make our leaders even better,
please share them in the comment box below.
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