12 types of dancers you don't want to be

I was laughing at one comedy video the other day about “6 types of guys you’ve danced with”

6 Types Of Guys You've Danced With

Posted by SOML on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In case you can’t open the video, here’s what you would see: A typical bar dance floor where a lady is approached (failingly) by six different types of guys;

  • “The shower” whose dancing too excitedly with a drink in his hand, showering the lady with it.
  • “The creep” who lurks in the shadows and with no warning drapes over the creeped-put lady.
  • “The talker” who is yammering through the music with meaningless conversation.
  • “The grind” who loves to grind up against the lady.
  • “The razzle dazzle” who aims to sweep the lady off her feet with a bunch of dramatic dance moves.
  • “The competitor” who think the dance floor is for competitions only.

We all know these types of bar crawlers, don’t we?

But the (not so) funny thing about this is that these bad habits sometimes crawl from the “normal” bars to our dance floors too. In fact, I could recognise seeing and dancing with all of these types of leaders during my zouk years. Being a great, courteous leader is a tough job - and it’s not fair to assume that being 'great & courteous' is only the leaders’ job! Followers can just as often exhibit bad behaviour on the dance floor.

We all fail sometimes - why not laugh about it (like in the video)! I put together this list for both leaders and followers. I used and suitably adapted the examples in that oh-so-helpful video, and added 6 others others I’ve also encountered!

Want to be the most wanted dance partner? Here are some brutal tips on what not to do - and how to improve!

Note 1: Yes these examples are for both for followers and for leaders, for ladies and gentlemen alike.
Note 2: The scales are subjective.
Note: 3: The examples are slightly (or highly) exaggerated.
Note 4: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental :D


Presenting: 12 types of leaders' and followers to avoid, A.k.a:


1. The Salty Shower

Danger scale (1-10): 1-2
Annoyment scale (1-10): 5-8

Salty Shower is a dancer whose perspiration you can feel and smell on you long after the dance - at least until you  take a shower and replace your shirt. We all sweat, but some of us sweat more than others and dancing next to a Salty Shower is not intolerable but not desirable. Typical side effect is the unwanted wet-T-shirt look or “half of my the head has melted” styling after an intensive cheek-to-cheek dance.

How to improve: If you sweat a lot, carry a small towel and plenty of fresh shirts with you. Take breaks to wash you face & hands on occasion - your dance partners will thank you.

2. The Creep

Danger scale (1-10): 1-2
Annoyment scale (1-10): 6-10

Creep is a dancer who lurks in the shadows and with no warning drapes over an unsuspecting dancer. The Creep prefers approaching the other person from behind, and pulling them to the dance floor without question. Sometimes you can hear distant cries from the Creep’s target along the lines of “wait, I was just heading the bathroom”, “no I hate this song” or “I don’t know how to dance this style” - followed from the Creep with “you can hold it”, “oh come on” or “I will teach you”.

Sidekicks: Creeps fast moving friend is the Hawk, who is known to dash across a ballroom in only a matter of milliseconds, to secure a partner of their liking. A Creep can also sometimes turn into the Smoocher who tries to slip a subtle kiss (or a less subtle lick) during a dance; or the Thong Raider, who sneakily tries to get to get a hand (or whatever body part) inside the partner's pants in mid-dance. Complete and utter no-no!

How to improve: Firstly, ask a person for a dance, don’t force a dance on them. Secondly, “no” is always an acceptable answer. And thirdly, don’t assume that a person who has come to dance, has also come to go home with someone (you) - they haven’t. Sometimes, good friends or people you’ve already experienced great dance connection with can be Creeps to one another, but don’t try to test your newly made friendship by creeping it out.

3. The Talker

Danger scale (1-10): 1-3
Annoyment scale (1-10): 1-10

Talker is a dancer who is motor-mouthing through a song with meaningless conversation. Talker can be talking about their day, next week’s plans, about dancing now, about dance technique in general, a video they saw, about a dog they saw - anything.

Sidekicks: More annoying friends include the Voice Controller, a leader who tells you what moves he is about to lead and the Expert, who ‘knows’ what you should be doing, and (as he perhaps fails to lead it properly) tells you after the move what you should have done, or asks you “why didn’t you do what I led you to do”. Among the followers you may find the Commentator, who provides play-by-play descriptions and questions to the moves the leader is doing.

How to improve: Most times it’s not too upsetting or dangerous to come across with a Talker on the dance floor. But for most of us like to sink into the dance, focus on the music, the movement, the connection - and a conversation can distract from the pleasure of enjoying the moment. Save the conversation for outside the dance floor, especially Commentators, Voice Controllers and Experts! Pro tip to leaders: if your leading is not translating into a move you thought about, this is something you should not bring up during the dance (you’re most likely just embarrassing yourself).

4. The Grind

Danger scale (1-10): 1-10
Annoyment scale (1-10): 4-10

Grind is a dancer who has been diagnosed with OCBD (obsessive-compulsive-bodyroll disorder) or loves one specific dance move above others and repeats it over and over again. Also could be the only move they know well.

Sidekicks: The Grinds sidekicks include the Bender, a leader who likes to surprise his partner with a cambré - the more the better.. and the deeper the better, too. (Also, he could be a drunk robot). Bender’s counterpart is the Suicide Girl, a follower who throws herself into a cambré whenever she gets a chance, sometimes pulling the unsuspecting leader with her.

How to improve: It’s ok for beginners to do the basic step many, many times in a row; it’s always better to stick to things you know rather than testing out loads of new moves you’re not ready to handle. But no matter how well you know the move, there are some moves that run out on their charm faster than others, those including for example bodyrolls. One is fun, two nice, three bearable, four reaching the limit, more than that unforgivable. Even less with moves that put pressure on the follower's body (like cambrés and some head movements). With the right technique and variation more can be done but this shall be reserved for professionals only.

5. The Razzle Dazzle

Danger scale (1-10): 7-10
Annoyment scale (1-10): 10

Razzle Dazzle is a dancer who aims to the impress their partner with clearly too dramatic dance moves, some they’ve probably picked up from Youtube. In the Razzle Dazzle’s perception the more moves they do, the more complexity and speed they contain, plus the higher the legs and the lower the heads go, the better. Usually you see people running away, saying their hail-Marys and getting their helmets attached when this dancer enters the floor, but rarely the Razzle Dazzles themselves realise this.

How to improve: Social dancing is supposed to be an interaction between two partners - a dialogue, not a monologue. Or a fight where one voice tries to be louder than the other. Followers love gentle leading with a nice flow and good connection; softly sinking into the dance, not violently drowning. Leaders appreciate a light and focused following, not drama & danger.

6. The Claw

Danger scale (1-10): 6-10
Annoyment scale (1-10): 10

The Claw is the dancer who insist that their partner’s fingers are his/her personal property and holds on to them no matter what. Also in the process, risks removing those fingers off from their partner. The Claws can be found on most dance floors, sadly.

Sidekick: Friends of the Claw include the Squeeze, who likes to hold their partner in a tight squeeze, inhibiting their normal spine movement or - sometimes - breathing.

How to improve: Trust your partner, trust your skills. Leaders: The softer you lead, the more attention the follower has to put in her following, and in result you’re forming a the better connection. If you think the follower is not in your control and you need to hold her from the fingers, the odds are 1) she is really trying to follow you but you’re not leading clearly enough, 2) she she really didn’t want to dance with you in the first place in which case your time would be better spent dancing with someone else or 3) she’s just learning to follow or is avoiding some move for a specific reason. You should be attentive to her level, not using any force on her fingers or her body to make her do something she cannot do or does not know how to do. Followers: The same goes for you; your connection should not rely on gripping to your partner. Also remember that you should be in charge of your own body, don’t hang onto his.

7. The Odorizer

Danger scale (1-10): 1
Annoyment scale (1-10): 5-10

Odorizer is a distant relative to The Salty Shower, carrying with themselves an odor so strong they are hard to be close to. The worst kind is The Sneaky Odorizer in which case the potency of the smell is only revealed once it’s too late to back out of the dance respectfully. The odor can be a too old or too sweaty shirt, a too strong cologne or perfume, lack of soap, way too many cloves of garlic in the previous meal, etc.

How to improve: If you’re suspecting (or even if you’re not) that you might be an Odorizer, ask a friend who you know will give you an honest answer. Usually there’s a simple solution: a shower, fresh shirt, light dose of deodorant and a breath mint. You’re cured!

8. The Talent

Danger scale (1-10): 1-10
Annoyment scale (1-10): 10

Talent, a relative to the Razzle Dazzle, loves to make a show too. But there the partner is is not the object of their attention or the highlight of the show - the Talent is. Talent is more impressed with their own solo moves than anyone else’s (also not impressed with leading or following either).

Sidekicks: Friends of the Talent includes the Jester, who tries (too hard) make every dance a comedy act. Some partners loves a fun(ny) dance, but not every single time. The Competitor usually manages to make the dance into some sort of dance-off - and we know who's the winner there (no one).

How to improve: No social dancer ever loves to be item on your show - and no one likes to be the audience either! (The off-chance that someone actually does, hold on to that partner for dear life and please stay away from the rest). If you ask someone to dance with you, then dance with them. Or it just might be the last dance you have with that person, or any other person in the vicinity.

9. The Racer

Danger scale (1-10): 3-8
Annoyment scale (1-10): 4-10

Racer finds that no songs are too fast. The faster, the better. In fact, no matter what the tempo and the rhythm in the song, the Racer has planned to finish the song first. At least that’s what it feels like, since the Racer is constantly a little faster than the actual rhythm of the song.

Sidekick: A counter-part of the Racer is the Sleeper, who is a little bit (or a lot) late of the music.

How to improve: Every song has its own rhythm and pulse. Yes, even the ones with no clear beat, the pulse is there. Respect the pace of the music, enjoy using it. It makes it so hard for your partner to dance with you, to try to catch up with you, to ‘fix’ your rhythm or try to guess the beat you are using. Likewise, if the beat is too fast for you, first practice on maintaining the pace. Racers and Sleepers, read more here: Patience as an active tool in social dancing.

10. Terminator

Danger scale (1-10): 10
Annoyment scale (1-10): 10

Terminator is a dancer that has no regard for the safety of others. Sometimes it even feels that the disregard is intentional, to get more space or to make the Terminator noticed or who knows why. Terminator shows no pity either for their partner or the people around.

Sidekicks: Terminator's cousin is the Stylinator, to whom styling is always #1 and safety comes later on the priorities list. Second cousin is the Hairminator, whose hair extensions have been known to sweep off a face or few on the dance floor. Also be wary of the Hurricane who is known for wildly spinning his partner / spinning herself to conquer more territory.

How to improve: Watch your space - no matter if you’re a leader or a follower. The dance floor safety belongs to everybody’s responsibilities. If you don’t care about safety, you shouldn’t be on the dance floor. Having said that, accidents do happen, even to the most careful ones - if an accident happens: instead of first looking to who is to blame, say you’re sorry. More tips here: Floorcraft in practice - 14 tips for the dance floor.


A leader special:

11. The Pinball

Danger scale (1-10): 1-10
Annoyment scale (1-10): 3-10

Pinball is a leader who thinks the lady is a machine full of buttons and controls waiting to be pushed on, at various combinations and speeds. The Pinball likes body isolations, especially on the ladies - perhaps since he’s not so familiar with doing them himself - and uses every chance to turn the lady into a human pinball machine.

Sidekicks: The more dangerous friend of the Pinball is the Puppeteer, who is convinced that his job is to make the lady dance by pulling and pushing her, usually to every possible direction at the same time, quite rapidly and with force.

How to improve: There’s a time and place for body movements and body isolations. Also, there’s a logic behind the way they are led, the combinations of movements you can do that feel good for the lady and that fit to the music as well. They can be a nice complement to different musical cues (often found in e.g. dubstep music) but should not be an activity in itself, just a little spice in the dance. The Pinballs and Puppeteers should remember the ladies come to dance to connect with you and to have fun, not to feel they are machines or toys for you to play with.


A follower special:

12. The Bored Princess

Danger scale (1-10): 1-4
Annoyment scale (1-10): 7-10

Bored Princess is never satisfied - she wants entertainment and she wants it now! To this follower the beginners are boring and the local leaders are boring; probably also the music is boring, the floor is boring… Above all, she comes to parties looking for great dances and expects that leader’s first priority is to entertain her. If the leader doesn’t do any interesting new moves, the Bored Princess is not happy.

Sidekick: The step-sister of the Bored Princess is the Dead Fish, who thinks not only should the leader entertain her, he should also carry pretty much her entire weight.

How to improve: Don’t automatically assume it’s the leader’s job to make you happy, to make sure you have a great dance. Leader’s have a pretty tough job (feel free to try it any time!) You should be active in the dance, actively support your weight, focus on making each step, your each move perfect and focus on having a razor sharp connection with your partner. If you do your best at those, there’s absolutely no time to get bored.


Your worst case scenarios

What are the worst types of leaders or followers you've come across with?