Communicating Through Dance

Communicating Through Dance

by Kennya Sanchez Power Communicators

Did you know dancing has its own communication style?

Many of us joined Toastmasters to improve our communication and leadership skills. As a Latin dance instructor, I help individuals improve their communication and leadership skills in a different format. Through my journey in Toastmasters, I’ve learned to be clear, deliberate, and able to read my audience when delivering a speech. Dancing requires a similar attention to detail.

Have you ever tried to dance with a partner only to realize you are both attempting to take control? Traditionally, a male partner is considered the Lead, and a female partner is the dance Follow. However, anyone can take either role as long as it’s clear before dancing.

Often, individuals taking lessons for the first time are not aware of how to communicate a movement or how to receive it. For example, my female students will abruptly turn themselves when they see me lift their arm even when I’m attempting to lead them into a styling move, not a turn. As Follows, we learn to listen to the moves with our body and pay attention to our Lead’s visual cues and the feeling of a movement. The Lead must guide the dance, help the Follow feel beautiful, and take care of her, ensuring she is safe from falling and bumping into others. We work on understanding each role.

Dance can be like therapy for people and couples who need help in their confidence and communication. Much like Toastmasters, practice makes better. We encourage students to practice leading or following with different people at different experience levels to see how they can improve their communication in dance. The transformation when they learn one or both of the roles in couple dancing is impressive.