Leadership Lessons from Dance – Leaders Rotate!

Often in dance classes the instructors will ask the students to pair up and form a circle around them. Then as the instruction continues the participants will be asked to rotate partners so that they can try the pattern with another person. I have observed recently that instructors will default to asking the follows to rotate. Perhaps because they have seen others do that so they follow suit without much thought (plenty else to be thinking about) or because they reorganize that the follows catch on quicker to instruction who knows.

As I’ve thought about this practice I would recommend instructors consider asking the leaders to rotate instead because they are the ones that have to see the instructors to be able to execute the move while follows need to focus on what they feel from their partner. In the current practice if they lead gets stuck in a corner that the instructor doesn’t face so they can see hand or foot positions or if the instructor’s voice doesn’t project through out the circle then the leader is stuck in that situation for the entire class. If the leaders rotate then st least they have a chance to see or hear the instruction from different angles to assist them in understanding the content.

I came to this realization after facilitating a lesson about paradigm shifts and perspective checking in a cultural competence workshop. We talked about how sometimes to see someone’s perspective you have to walk over to where they are standing or situate yourself in their viewpoint in order to see or even consider a perspective different from what you are naturally drawn. This is illustrated in the optical illusion featured on this post.

In this instance I am taking lessons from leadership and applying them to my dance instruction. Happy dancing!

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*Note: I use the terms “lead” and “follow” as all genders/gender expressions can assume either role at any point.

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