Protect your partners: your first skill in bachata is to securise your girls.
If you do not protect your female dance partner, look what can happen.
“A few weeks ago at my favorite Saturday club, it was hot, crowded and intense with arms flying and dancers spinning frantically all around us. the place was pulsing with energy and I grabbed an attractive lady who was standing next to some guy who was not dancing.
We carved out a little space in the roaring crowd. She was above an average dancer with some ballet background but was relatively new to bachata. I had never seen her before but we had a great time.
Right after the dance she said:
” i had so much fun dancing with you. You were the first guy who made me feel protected. Hope we get to dance again”.
I was almost embarrassed by the way she said it. She was not “into me” or anything: as she introduced me to her boyfirend a minute later and I haven’t seen her since.
I realized i had not done anything special, but because the place was crowded, I went to my “small dancing, defensive driving, protect my partner” mode. In a few cases, i gave up my patterns or my footwork to make sure she was safe from the vultures circling around us. Guys: protect your partners,
A couple hours later, the club closed at 3am and I went outside. She was there with her boyfriend and the 3 of us talked outside. She said really liked the music but wished the guys would pay more attention.
“i had to ask one guy to quit throwing me into others. I kept getting hit, but he was dancing big and ignoring the people around us; He kept spinning me into another couple. With you i felt “I could dance” since you were taking care of me and watching for others”.
Now, frankly, i did not do anything real special with her other than moves that might put her in arm’s way, and clearing space for her during our bachata dance. I was driving defensively, trying to be sure she did not need to worry about being hit. I changed my slot several times based on the people around us. And I was dancing smaller than I would otherwize.
I realized the other guys she was dancing with had simply made me look much better because they did not protect her or even make an effort to keep her safe. Guys: protect your partners,
The one thing i hate i when my partner gets hit. So i have developped a defensive mode to create a safe experience on the dancefloor. Indeed, our job as a lead is to get her feeling comfortable and feeling like she can dance without worrying about the others around us.
From my experience, leads can prevent about 90% of our partners getting hit, stepped on or otherwise abused by the dancers around us. it all starts with you thinking about protecting your partner from harm, doing shoulder checks (looking over your shoulders before some moves). And developping a sense of conduct to the dancers around you. Stop moves if you have to and do not be affraid to to change your moves or put your arm out to prevent someone from running into your partner. Guys: protect your partners,
It is not something I could do well the first couple years I danced. As your dancing matures, you should think about defending your partner, even if it means simpliflying your combinations. Care of your partner and offer a good experience.
It is about a protective mindset and being flexible to alter your game plan if it looks like your partner is in harm’s way.
To conclude, i would say: you do not have to think about it at first, but it simply becomes another aspect of your dancing after a while.” Guys: protect your partners,
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