There being no set sequence of steps in modern dancing, the responsibility of leading from one figure to another rests entirely with the man. The lady’s part is to follow, whether the man is dancing a figure correctly or not.


Most of the leading for the turns is done by the turning action of the man’s body combined with a very slight pressure with his right hand. The Right hand must not be used to pull or push the partner, but rather to keep an even pressure, thus ensuring that the lady feels from the man’s body action the amount of turn that is being made. This pressure should be obtained by a slight inward movement of the forearm and not from the hand alone. The base of the Right hand and the Right fingers are only used to turn the lady into, and back from, Promenade Position. The Left hand and arm must not be used in guiding. They must be kept still.


It will be seen that it is of the utmost importance for the lady to keep contact with the man and to keep her body perfectly still from the hips upward, in order to feel the lead for a turn at the proper moment. She must not anticipate – she must not have a mind of her own. She must just follow whatever the man does and not attempt to correct him. 


Contact with the partner should not be at the hips only, but from the hips and the diaphragm. If the lady presses her hips forward so that the only contact with the man is at the hips, the lady’s body will tend to be poised backward far too much and the forward movement of the man will be seriously restricted.


When commencing to dance it is most important that the man should indicate which foot he is using first. There is no rule; it is for the man to use the foot that seems most natural. To practise this, stand with a partner in the normal commencing position with the feet together. If wishing to commence with the Right foot move the Left foot very slightly to the Left and take the weight on to it. At the same time, move the lady slightly to her Right and she will automatically take her weight on to that foot and be ready to commence with her Left foot.


Here are a few more hints for men:


Don’t hold your partner with a vice-like grip; you will interfere with her balance.


Don’t hold your partner so loosely that she cannot feel your lead. A constant and even pressure is required.


Don’t take very long steps if your partner is physically incapable of doing so. Adapt your stride to the normal length of your partner’s.


Don’t try intricate steps in a crowded ballroom.




used in this book and in Ballroom Dancing Descriptions.


5 A slow step NFR No foot rise

0 A quick step Contrary Body Movement


Contrary Body Movement


LOD Line of Dance

RF Right foot PP Promenade Position

LF Left foot OP Outside partner

B Ball of foot PO Partner outside


Diag. Diagonal(ly)

T Toe(s)

IE Inside edge


Note. Descriptions of many of these terms are included in “Definitions of Technical Terms,” which follows.