"Why are most intermediate Salsa and Bachata leads only interested in partnerwork classes... Don't they realize guys who can move their bodies and their hips are the ones that ladies find most pleasant to dance with?" - Anastasia
Anastasia brought up this interesting topic recently and I thought I would answer as someone who learned, and now teaches, salsa and bachata dancing as a lead. Styling is a big part of women's dancing in latin dance, but not for men, why not?
I think think that we often confuse leading as dancing. I know I did for a long time. I thought that there was leading and there were shines, and "I don't want to do shines on the dance floor so I don't need to work on it as much as leading."
Meanwhile I couldn't do my basic body movement well, my sensual movements were all segmented, and I couldn't do a turn in any less than 4 counts.
Leading is not dancing - it's leading
Partnerwork classes give you ideas and explain some hand foot coordination, but you need to learn to "dance" for your lead to really come from the body. When the lead comes from the body you avoid roughness [see Pablo truly lead from the body - my favorite Bachata dancer ever!].
When you have good understanding of balance and timing (learned in solo footwork classes) it becomes easier to lead it [see Ataca use his footwork to compliment his leading, not replace it].
I'm definitely not claiming to be great at these things, but I recognize that as a lead one of my biggest areas of growth is my own movement. And as an instructor I spend more time trying to explain to guys how to move their bodies than how to do a pattern.
So when you see a solo class don't think "this is a shine", instead think about how this will increase your ability to lead through your body. Which is what all the ladies love the most!
Check out our latest solo men's styling class. Those of you who take our partnerwork classes will literally see moves we use in partnerwork!
I think a big part of the issue is that instructors need to name their classes "footwork" or "shines" to make guys show up. Guys are afraid of the word styling, even though it more clearly expresses that this is something to ADD to your leading, not replace. So maybe we need to be less afraid of that word.
Want to learn how to DANCE, not just lead. Check out or Men and Lady styling classes, and all of our other classes on our site.