Sharing Dancers’ Insights

There are times when I wonder if I’m off-base on this metaphorical comparison of dancing and marriage. But I was reassured when I discovered a couple of dancers’ blogs recently. I am posting some of the comments I found reassuring so you can decide for yourself.


The BEST leaders … are the ones who are highly skilled and pay attention to their follower. And the BEST followers are those who can respond to the slightest movement and share in the creativity of the dance.

Every dance you have, the person you are dancing with should be your top priority. Connecting to the music initiates a common rhythm. Then what the dancers bring to the floor and share with each other creates the completely indescribable, inspirational, temporary piece of moving art.

Although social dancing is lead-follow, the percentage that each person contributes to the success of a dance is about 51% leader to 49% follower. The leader decides what move to do, but the follower has to respond. In order to have a decent dance, the leader needs to understand his partner, know what her skill level is and listen to her. Followers can send signals if she has a good idea or if she’s not happy. The follower has to give up some of her own control and trust the leader. Trust brings some amazing surprises and delight.


… as a leader you have to take care of your follower. You are dancing for her, she is not dancing for you. I’ve found that when I think this, when I approach a dance and make it about her and her enjoyment I have a lot better dance, I am much more creative, I connect much better, regardless of her level. But when I approach a dance with an expectation that I’m going to get something from the dance, and look to her to connect with me the way I want to, when I expect, or worse, demand that she follow me a specific way, the dance is usually crap; it becomes wholly unfulfilling.

I expect the reverse holds true too. If I were a follower I would have much better dances if each time I worked to connect with my leader exclusively and regardless of my leaders efforts to connect at my level.

And then the theory holds true, if the leader strives to reach the follower where she is, and the follower reciprocates, but each independent of the other, that’s when there is magic on the (dance) floor.

What marriage advice could be drawn from these comments about dancing? Click on the “responses” link below to add your thoughts.

Copr 2009 MarriageDance

Thoughts on Following

Occasionally in the dance world, I’ll hear a follower say “All I need is a good leader” or “The follower doesn’t need to know the steps, she just has to hang on.” While I can speak from experience that a strong leader enhances the dance and may be able to compensate in some ways for a follower’s inexperience, the follower cannot be overly dependent on him. Expecting the leader to carry her weight around the floor becomes overburdening and tiring to him. When a leader must push, pull or drag a follower through the moves, it is no longer a dance.

Following, whether in partner dance or marriage, is not passive. Once the dance lead (an invitation) is given, the follower executes the move by her own effort. In marriage, consider the wife of noble character described in Proverbs 31. “She is energetic and strong, a hard worker,” reads verse 17 in the New International Version (NIV). “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness,” says verse 27.

In Christian marriage, the scriptural references to a wife’s submission to her husband may be misconceived in a similar way to the follower’s role in dancing. While wives are instructed to submit to their husbands’ God-given leadership, it is not meant to be a passive stance. It is voluntary, intentional and active.

“Wives often tell me that if they submit to their husbands, it means burying their brains and becoming a doormat,” writes Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in Love and Respect, addressing a misconception about submission. His book explains the biblical definitions of hierarchy and authority by which God created marriage relationships to work. To submit “simply means recognizing the husband’s biblically given authority,” he writes, and does not mean being a doormat.

Copr. 2009 MarriageDance