West Coast Swing Addicts Dance Society supports the idea that dance roles (lead and follow) do not need to be tied to gender. Men can follow, women can lead. As well, its totally OK for the same gender to dance with each other: men to dance with men and women with women.
Anyone can dance with anyone – you can just ask them if they want to lead or follow.
Why would you want to switch roles?
Here are a couple of good reasons:
Getting to know the other role will make you a better dancer. “Oh, is that was that feels like!” Knowing how that move is lead – or how it feels when its lead to you – will give you greater empathy for the other role. Not to mention learning new footwork will expand your capabilities.
Often at dances, the numbers are never even. There are inevitably more follows or more leads. When the numbers of leads / follows are unbalanced, it means people sit out and don’t dance, sometimes for many, many songs. It also means the minority role can get overworked – feeling like they need to dance more because of the offset numbers.
By having more dancers with the ability to switch roles, it means more people get to dance!