Three exercises on how to become a great Balboa lead by Mia Goldsmith Halloran

  1. A good place to start is by watching and really paying attention to your partner! So often I see leaders, especially in classes, looking at the ceiling or the floor or somewhere out the window while they are learning new moves. It’s the thinking look!
  2. Remember that the person attached to you is listening to the same music as you, and they can help you. Not just help you do the move, but maybe help inspire you to move differently, or approach something in a different way.
  3. Really pay attention to the music. It’s easy to get into the mindset of just having a click track behind us and we dance on top of whatever tune is playing. But the more you truly listen, the more you will discover, and so many new doors will open.

Describe he lead of your dreams
…pays attention to all the important things. If there is a live band and the singer is singing, maybe we don’t take that as the opportunity to be huge and crazy, but rather are thoughtful and calmer and leave space for the singer to have their moment.
… responds to my ideas. I love a leader who is relaxed and who is comfortable moving the way I like to move, instead of always trying to shove me into movements that don’t work for my body.
… is respectful, playful, fun, rhythmical, open to leaving space for me or the band.
… is a lot of things but doesn’t have to be all of those things for me to have a good dance! But it helps to have some of them.

And a great dance, and what it feels like…
…I love a smooth dance. Perhaps its my years of living with back injuries that’s dictated my style over the years, but smoothness is at the top of my list, no doubt. With that said, you can be smooth but also be energetic and exciting, so I don’t just mean smooth and boring. But there are many types of dances that make me happy.
…It could be one stepping or two stepping for a whole song, no “moves”, just stepping, and I could be perfectly content with that. I much prefer a simple, comfortable dance to someone who is trying to showboat and whip me all over the place, or someone who is more interested in showing themselves off and not really paying attention to what the music and the partner has to say.
…I love a dance that gives me the room to create, but I also love structure so that I know my boxes of room where I can explore. I love dancing with someone who genuinely loves dancing just for the sake of dancing, far above dancing with someone who wants to just execute a bunch of moves. Again….I’m a simple gal. Give me some space to be me, pay attention to what the music is really saying, enjoy the movements and the rhythms, and you can’t go wrong. 

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