Bachata is often danced as a contact sport, but that's certainly a choice.
In one of the comments on my previous bachata article, Joe mentioned "partners who don't want to dance close are missing out."
My first thought was: "Maybe... If she’s comfortable with you then she’ll enjoy your amazing journey, otherwise she’ll be mentally fighting you the whole time. As a lead we should earn their trust before getting too close.”
Too many guys abuse the close concept, getting very close too early because they want to be close and bachata is the perfect excuse. This same concepts apply to salsa, but since it’s not usually danced so close, it’s less of an issue.
We need to be competent enough to lead open bachata moves very well, respecting that some partners are not going to enjoy the dance if we are too close too soon. Some may never want to dance close and I'm fine with that.
Be sure it’s a mutual thing, and she wants you as close as you want to be. I’ve seen some amazing dances that stayed primarily in open position, and both partners had a fun, sexy dance. You can mix open and close depending on the situation.
Of course, anytime we can hold a woman close, we are likely to do so. That’s just part of our natural leader instincts. However, if it’s done without a mutual connection, it can quickly backfire. Most guys don’t pay attention to their follows response, but you can see it in their face and body language if you’re attentive.
This is also interesting to watch when you are taking a break and watching others. Figure out which follows are enjoying the close dance and which are hating it or simply pretending they are fine with it. If you watch enough it will become pretty obvious to you, and then you'll recognize the signs with your partners.
Don’t assume that if she is close to another guy, she will love being close to you. That couple may have had twenty dances over the last six months, and that is a different class of dancing than partners with just a few dances.
Close is fine and appropriate for repeat partners, but I still see lots of guys who don't get a second dance because they think doing their great close moves will seal the deal. That will occasionally work, but anything works some of the time. If you play the odds, a measured approach is a stronger strategy.
Just to be clear; If you and your partner want to be as close as lovers on the floor, go for it. It’s also appropriate to start more open with new partners and get closer as the dance progresses or during one of the follow-up dances.
Your job as a lead is to have her want you to be close, because it feels great for her and she’s enjoying your lead.
Ladies: Your thoughts? (Guys are welcomed too.)
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