In a group dance format like tribal belly dance, changing up the lead is very important.  The shifting of the formation is visually interesting, and the variations in interpretation of the music from each leader will also add interest.  (Everyone has a few favorite moves that they tend to choose often, so if one person leads the whole song, you may not get as much variation in moves as you will get if multiple dancers take turns leading.)



  • Leader will begin to move backwards with any traveling move.


  • Within a few steps (especially if the formation has previously traveled forward), the second row has the option of following the leader in traveling backwards (if there is room), but after a few steps, the second row must come forward (the person who determines when the second row comes forward is the person on stage left – who would end up being the new leader after the lines switch).
  • Duets fade as usual AND then switch sides so that the new leader is on the left.


Cue into the circle:

  • Leader will begin whatever move they wish to circle in and then do a quick, un-cued half turn to the right to face the rest of the formation.
  • Everyone will make eye contact, back up slightly to prepare, and then begin moving in a circle on the next downbeat.

Cue to take the lead:

  • New Leader will yip as they approach the front left corner of the stage (or performance area) and turn away from the chorus to face the audience.
  • Everyone else will fall into standard formation (they should already be very close to their positions).


  • If the circle goes around once or twice and no one has taken the lead, someone should cue to take it back to the chorus.
  • See circle guidelines for options, guidelines, and cues for other things to be done in the circle rather than proceeding straight to another leader.


  • To keep performances interesting, leaders should (as a general rule) keep their time short and then pass off the lead to others.
  • It is always a good idea to know who is behind you and next in line to take the lead to avoid passing it off to someone who you know is uncomfortable leading (in performance).
  • If you are uncomfortable leading (or your mind just goes blank) you can always just fade back or go into a circle.
  • It is important for EVERYONE who performs outside of the chorus to understand how to change leads (including how to cue).