The Process and Effort of Being a Dance Leader

By Claudia Delgadillo (Features Editor) -7/4/16

Dancing takes tremendous amounts of both confidence and patience
Dancing takes tremendous amounts of both confidence and patience

The definition of the word “leadership” normally brings to mind captains, teachers, coaches, bosses, and so on. But none of these really define being a leader.
Being a leader is the most important role in any organization. It’s the position that sets goals for the team as a whole, and the leader commits most of their time and effort to succeeding in those goals.
It does not mean that you’re in command or allowed to give orders, and it most definitely does not mean you’re in control. It means the group, the team as a whole, is in control but is led by someone.
To be a dance leader, or a leader in general, means you know how to communicate with the rest of team; communication is key. Sometimes, if necessary, it means speaking with teammates individually.
In dance, a full choreography sometimes comes from a group effort with the entire team pitching in their own ideas. To do that, everyone needs to feel welcome and comfortable. The leader needs to represent that they are open to new ideas in order to make that happen.
According to an online article from the Harvard Business Review, leaders who communicate often and openly create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack, [which] builds a strong foundation for connection.” This helps to bond team members and most likely create a connection to work together in reaching their goal.
A study based on that same article surveyed 195 successful leaders from around the world; they were asked to rate 74 different qualities that define a great leader and from those 74, they had to pick the top 15 qualities. 67% claimed that a great leader has high ethical and moral standards.
Kennedy student Melanie Lancheros is a one of the current leaders on her dance team. Although she’s gained some of her leadership experiences in dance, she also coaches girls in gymnastics.
She coaches students in her gymnastics class in what are known as “copper girls.” Lancheros explains that there are different levels based on the students; examples of other levels are silver and gold. Copper is around a level 5, as she explains
Lancheros affirms that one important characteristic in being a leader is to know “how to treat everybody, because everyone is different.” It’s also very important to separate being a leader to being a friend. Therefore, understanding how to treat someone during a class compared to how to treat them outside of the class is important to understand..
“You [have to] be confident,” she adds. “You can’t be shy to tell someone they’re doing something wrong; you’re only helping them.” But Lancheros also believes that being a leader means having a lot of patience and learning how to treat everybody, most likely because everyone learns differently.
Although it is great for a leader to push their team forward – which may possibly be strict sometimes – it is most important to have morals. They must provide the kind of commitment to fairness and instilling confidence that each member can bring to themselves and the team.
Support is just as important in the role of a leader. Failure can sometimes be necessary to learn, therefore a leader has to create the kind of environment where each individual can freely take risks.
Dance is the place where many choose to be a part of because of many reasons. Some join for the exercise, to stay fit, some are trying something new, and some are just having fun.
But the most passionate and interested dancers make dance a part of their life because of its different styles of cultures and because it’s a way for a dancer to let go of all inhibitions and bring their story to life. It’s the one place where these students want to feel welcomed.
As a dance leader, it is their role to understand both the rules of dance and leadership, and make the risk of bending these rules to provide what each individual has to bring in to the team.