After dancing with many amateur & pro dancers, both as a leader and a follower, it became very clear what specific qualities are essential to leading with greatness.
These are some of the tips you can use to make your dancing feel incredibly connected to whomever you dance with.
Besides learning the skills of Salsa dancing steps, timing, frame and patterns (all learned at www.LatinDance.com) you must also have these particular traits to truly connect and make it a great overall experience.
1.Presence! When a leader is present or aware of the moment, he has connection to the music, environment and his partner. Some of the most memorable dances I have had was when we were both so into the moment of being in each other's arms, listening to the inspiring music and yet aware of the dancers and spectators around us. If you are worried about how great the guy beside you is dancing, or how sweaty your face looks or who is sitting at the table...etc, you are not being present and it is not enjoyable to either one of you.
2. Eyes. Look at her! Seems obvious but I have danced entire songs where I felt that the man did not look at me once, either due to concentration of his steps, looking around at all the spectators, being shy or just being unaware that he needs to connect with his eyes to each partner. It felt empty and almost a waste of energy to try to flirt with a man that wasn't even paying attention!
3. Mixing it up between quick turns and slow flirtatious steps. The greatest feeling of dancing at a high level is the mixing of the challenging turns and quick patterns with the seductive simple body rolling and flirtatious moves. Salsa should not feel like an exercise machine or tedious aerobic work-out. Give it the 'eb and flow' to allow her to enjoy the entire dance without fainting and gasping for air.
4. Leaning In. In Salsa, our heads should be closer to our partner than our feet. This allows lightness in our lead/follow and keeping the weight forward over the balls of the feet keeps our ability to turn quicker as well. When we take our head away from our partner, we often lose hand connection and completely disconnects our unison in movement.
5. Smiling. When someone is enjoying themselves and in a feeling of ecstasy, it is natural that a smile happens. However, when we are doing something difficult that requires a lot of concentration or fear, we tend to be too serious. Often when I am dancing with a beginner, I will smile at him and then I feel the tension disappear from his hold and he begins to enjoy the dance and actually clears his thoughts to remember moves easier.
Women like it when you connect in the middle of the dance catching each other's eyes and a smile. It is very sexy.
6. Gentle Embraces. In order to dance and lead very quick patterns with efficiency and clarity, the man must keep his arms relatively relaxed and gentle as apposed to stiff, rigid and muscular. After a series of quick passes and turns, it is always essential to bring the lady in close and a gentle embrace is a great transition and allows the lady to catch her breath.