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Lessons I Learned on the Dance Floor (On Feminism, Part 2)

It’s been well over a half a decade since I’ve regularly been on the dance floor. Now, I’ll see it on an instagram feed or peer through a studio window by as I hustle along with my kids. It’s a whole different life for me now. 

As I recall some things that were instilled in me back then, I wanted to tag them along on my recent post, On Christian Feminism. So consider this a Part 2.


Things I Learned on the Dance “Flo'” (as my late gay dance partner “Jazzy Jeff” used to call it.  Side note: he was the one that taught me how to shimmy. God rest his sweet soul.)

  1. There is one lead, and one follow. And as God ordained it, it should always be the man to lead, the woman to follow. I learned much about how intimidated men would feel as a lead when they didn’t even know the steps and how their eager beaver female partners so badly wanted to just get up and shred the dance floor. That could lead to a bit of a problem! Men have to learn the steps AND learn to lead at the same time. It’s much harder than it seems to a beginner. 


As a female dance instructor, 90% of my time was teaching men how to dance. I would “backlead” until they were confident with the steps and then push them into that leadership role, and shut off my backleading to become the follower and train for confidence in him. Being in high heels and dancing backwards while entrusting your exposed toes to a beginner is not a joke. 



Many times on a lesson,  the follower would watch me instructing the lead on his position, then she would go into full blown “lemme-tell-you-how-to-do-it” mode to her partner every time a mistake was made – which as you can naturally guess, would discourage him.Hold your horses, sister. I’d make a quick joke to diffuse emotions and get back to work. We women have been ingrained since Disney that our prince will come perfect and fully equipped for every dance move. How can he know if he’s never been taught? And what if his role models have been the passive type or all too macho-masculine heros where here in America it’s more socially acceptable to watch football then lead in the ballroom? 

Has that ever happened in life? In your relationships or marriage? Impatient with what he’s not doing right and tell him how to do is job? 


      2. Patience is needed for every role. At times, I would teach couples, maybe for an upcoming wedding, cruise or just having fun when music comes on. Having two newbies is lots of fun! Different skill levels, some have natural rhythm, others just slap “I’m an engineer” introduction on themselves and I’ll know exactly what that means. Now, I have the privilege  to “marry” you two on the dance floor so you can learn how to move t o g e t h e r.  


The Bible talks about marriage as “the two becoming one.” For any engaged couple, that sounds like a dream! We’ll be the same!  Anyone who has been married longer than 10 minutes knows, it’s a clashing of personalities, backgrounds, baggage, cultural differences and more til we reach harmony. Unfortunately, you can be married for YEARS but not ever become one unit. Praise God, when two humble people work it out its a beautiful thing once the rhythm is going. It takes time. 



 “Anything with two heads is a monster.”
                          Professional Dance Coach Joe


3. Women want to be led.  So badly, that sometimes they’ll sacrifice their own role in the partnership just to get it done. But at the end of the day, the follow was meant to be style and artistry while their partner is the stable lead. (Yes, even women with strong personalities want to be led!)  If the man-lead is doing his job well, she can focus totally on her own role- getting thrown around on the dance floor and having the time of her life. If he doesn’t lead well, she feels the burden to do both at once. Don’t lead us off a cliff now man, but a good woman can be faithful to cover any  mistakes with a hearty “shimmy” and both together can laugh off anything and turn it around. 


As J.Lo so eloquently said in the movie Shall We Dance, 

“Men are the frame, women are the picture.” 



Let me be clear- Feminism- the equality of the sexes, and women’s rights is a hot topic of today. And turns out, it was even a few thousands of years ago. Turns out, Jesus was a feminist. He spoke directly to women and treated them equally in a culture where that was certainly not the norm. What I do not agree with – is the handful of loud voices in our culture advocating that women  are not only equal, but better.  This kind of thinking destroys respect between the two and sets us on that slippery slope as a culture that we’ve been sliding down for decades. And if you haven’t truly seen real men represented biblically in their God-ordained role, it’s easy to become embittered and cynical as I once was: 


Well, as the Genesis story unfolds God pronounced the curse on Adam and Eve for sinning against Him. To Eve, He states in Genesis 3:16: 

And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you.


And haven’t you seen it? Certainly on the dance floor for beginners, or even when I park cars at at the church, I see women in the drivers seat  unable to let the dude lead his wife, his family. (Don’t get me wrong, there are times I drive my husband in our swagwagon. I’m talking about having serious control issues, ladies.) 



Maybe this is why I’ve always loved boys. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s something about little girls that’s absolutely magical and I’m nuts about  my daughter.) But as I think about how blessed I am to have boys that I can “backlead” until they are confident on their own.  Women have a powerful influence in a boy’s life. As well as men.  We can choose to use our “feminine wiles” to seduce and manipulate or be critical to control.  Shall we with patience and  kindness, show them what we need on the dance floor? 




There is no room for that weird kind of feminism on a REAL dance floor. No one is better than another, everyone has their role and if fulfilled can be remarkably stunning. What do your feet say about you? 



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