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What is the purpose of the dance terminology One and Two in lieu of Leader and Follower?

January 1, 2010

The terms Leader and Follower are associated with the system of communicating called Lead and Follow and currently do not accurately reflect the ideas of Partnership Dancing™

Too many dancers associate the terms Leader and Follower with ideas like boss to employee, in which there is a heirarchal relationship with Leader being in charge.

Partnership Dancing™ is a partnership, hence the name. Each person has an equal role with different responsibilities. No one is the boss.

To impress upon dancers the idea of partnership and get away from the idea of the Leader being the boss, I have introduced the terms One and Two, since they are gender neutral.

Being a basketball player, I am comfortable with identifying the basketball positions as One, Two, Three, Four and Five, so it is easy for me to use the same terminology for the two roles in social dancing.

Since men and women frequently dance either role, social dancing may benefit from a terminology that identifies the role and is not gender biased.

In the current version of the book, I use Man and Woman in place of One and Two most of the time, because the public is not familiar with the One and Two terminology.

In future writings, I may use One and Two more frequently if the public becomes more comfortable with these terms, or maybe other terms will make more sense.

I can see returning to the terms Leader and Follower once dancers associate these terms with partnership.

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