Leadership Lessons from Dance – One Step at a Time

I was fortunate enough to attend the 1 year dance studio opening anniversary for the Brownsville Salsa Dance Company. For the weekend of workshops, performances, and socials to celebration the milestone the organizers, among others, invited Jonathan ‘MamaszBoy’ Troncoso.

Jonathan is the director for Agapé Dance Company, is a multi-time champion at the World Salsa Summit, and is part of the first-ever same gender duo to compete on NBC’s World of Dance (Season 3).

Jonathon lives by the motto “the journey is just as important as the destination” and that message came through in his workshops.

In one of the first workshops he taught where we were learning to upgrade a basic partner-work move by doing it continuously (aka 360 cross body lead) partner. After a few repetitions Jonathan stopped us and made a general observation of the group. He said we were rushing our steps. He speculated that we may have been doing that because the leads (traditionally held by males and the person in the dance partnership primarily initiating the moves) were anticipating the difficulty of the movement and therefore rushing their steps however in doing so it actually made us (I was taking the class in the lead role) miss the timing of the move. What Jonathan suggested was that we enjoy each step because they are all there for a reason and serve a purpose.

Leadership Lessons

This advise was so simple yet so profound and right away I thought of its applications to general leadership and life.

  • BREATHE – It was a good reminder to continuously breathe and not hold our breath or hold in our potential. Jonathan talked about giving 100% to every moment even the moments of stillness. I loved that thought. We shouldn’t ignore or discount any moment! We need to give our all and acknowledge the importance of every moment in the process no matter how seemingly small. The outcomes is nothing more than the sum of it’s parts. Every moment, every breath counts and we should be full present for all of it.
  • FEEL – It was a good reminder to not just think technically about the steps and the outcome we wanted to produce but to also think about the feeling we wanted to convey for ourselves, to our audience, and with our partners. Especially when we are in a learning phase we can get so in our heads that we forget to connect with our bodies and stay in the moment.
  • TIMING – It was a good reminder that a pause or marking time are just as important as movement especially if there are parts of the music that you are trying to hit at a certain time. We need the up so that we can fully experience the down. The juxtaposition is necessary, important, and essential to the process.
  • ENJOY – It was a good reminder to have fun even when you are still figuring it out. To not let your face show the working it out process. In addition, as a lead it is important to pay attention to if your partner is having a good time and is comfortable with the movements you are inviting them to follow. A pattern could look technically correct and yet still not feel good to your partner. You are not only doing step you are creating an experience together so why not enjoy every moment?

No matter where you are going, enjoy every moment, breathe into each step, and always give your 100% because each step is important and necessary to complete the journey…


Below is a link to a demo from one of Jonathan’s workshops from the event: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBJSzLpBrVM/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link


Your turn! What are your thoughts, reactions, take-a-ways, or other examples? I always seek to create dialogue so please comment below!

If you liked this blog post please comment and visit others in the series: Leadership Lessons from Dance

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

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