For less pressure on the dance partnership, seeing the act of leading as one of invitation, opens up new possibilities. I like seeing leading as an invitation because it gives choice. As with any invitation, you are free to make a choice – yes, or no. For example, an everyday life choice is 'yes I will go to your party' or 'no thanks, I want to stay home and watch TV'. Or on the dance floor, 'yes I would like to follow that momentum you're giving me' or 'no thanks, I'd rather do my own thing at this moment'. Taking a look at lead and follow from this perspective is really beneficial.
As a follow, I enter the partner dance because I want to follow my lead. I love following what the lead is offering as that way I feel connected to my lead and we make a dance together. But a follow can only make a choice to follow if there is an option not to follow. Without a choice, it's an obligation not an invitation.
This works for the lead as well. As a lead, my mindset towards leading becomes softer and more open, I don't feel that I have to make my follow do anything. Whoa, what a relief! I don't have to make the dance happen – the pressure is gone. I can simply give direction, in the way I feel in the moment, and then my job is done. The follow is free to take me up on my offer of direction, or not. With less pressure on myself as a lead, I feel like my lead is more open, creative and softer.
By taking the have to out of the partner dance equation, leading and following become less pressurized and the dance is one of collaboration and fun and not a chore of having to do anything. By seeing the partnership as that of offering and choosing, the dance opens up to become fun, explorative and playful. Where each partner can find their way in the dance and partnership in their own way.
With the invitation mindset, as a lead, you are able to give space for the follow to take your leads and do something of their own with them. You can let go of always having to be in control of how the dance is unfolding. You can relax a little bit and follow the energy of your follow; being inspired by how they interpret your leads.
So my invitation to you is to invite your follow to follow your leads; initiate a movement, but then leave space and curiosity about how your follow is going to take that lead. Maybe they'll follow just like you'd planned, maybe not. Are you able to be flexible in taking the unexpected road?