Driving in Manhattan While Making Love / by Ben Weston

Here’s what I wished someone told me when I first started learning to lead in partner dancing:

Learning to lead as a beginner feels like trying to drive an SUV through Manhattan while making love at the same time: perhaps pleasurable at times but you’re much too busy trying not to die.

(Note: dying for men = messing up and looking foolish in front of women)

While leading, you’ll be thinking about your footwork, where the woman’s weight is, what to do with your upper body, holding your frame correctly, the beat of the music, making sure you don’t run into anyone, making sure no one elbows your follow in the head (sorry about that, J!), what moves to do next, all the while wondering:

“Oh god. Is she bored with me only leading the same two moves?!”

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Last year, after taking a few lessons and classes, I went to my first Zouk social. During one of my dances, I was getting overwhelmed trying to keep track of the music’s fast pace and messing up as a result.

Before the song was over, the follow stopped moving, let go of my hands, said “thank you”, and proceeded to make a complete 180 and walk away.

Fuck this. This is stressful.

I stopped doing any Zouk after that for 6 months.

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If you’re a dude looking to learn partner dancing, please know the following:

1. You will have to go through the valley of public suckage in the beginning.

2. It's so fuckin worth it.

I just came back from the world’s largest Zouk festival. Every night, in every room of dancing, the walls were lined with beautiful women waiting for a man to be available to dance with.

And if you're a decent enough lead, *you* get approached.

Welcome to heaven, my friend  :)