"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #134, Thursday, Feb 13, 2003
Follow My Leader: Old Vs New
Change is essence of Life. The Syllabi in schools and universities keep changing from time to time and this is necessary to keep pace with progress. The Dance Syllabi are no exceptions. Most of the time, "Change" is good but then sometimes if changes are made just for the sake of change it may not serve useful purpose. The "Change" presented here serves a good purpose.
Today's topic is Technique of Follow My Leader in Cha Cha Cha and of course we are talking about the way it is now described in the new Manual of ISTD.
What is Follow my Leader: Of course it is not about Bush, Blair or Saddam but it is a Gold Level (Fellow) Figure in Cha Cha. Simply said; You follow the Leader in "Tandem Position," doing simply Forward Lock Steps on 4&1 and turning 1/2 a circle each time.
How to get in Tandem Position? This was the most difficult and awkward thing for newer students as was described in the old syllabus. Let's just talk now what is new method to get into this position.
Entry: Starting with an open hold, man holding lady's right hand in his left, she simply does 10 steps of Alemana, RL, RLR - LR, LRL. In other words, on 2nd bar of music, she makes one complete underarm turn to right under his raised left arm. Man makes 1/2 turn on the same bar of music. How? This is interesting and you can come up with your own method but the ISTD prescribed technique is quite simple. You hook RF behind LF on 2, untwist to right and step side and slightly forward LF on 3 and then a lock step in Tandem position RLR (lady follows you, the leader, lock step LRL). At this time you have let her right hand go from your left .
For next 4 bars she chases you and you chase her in open position with no hand holds. You have done the figure "Follow my Leader."
Exit: You can keep it simple and just stop the turning and she will follow you and resume the basic.
I have presented a very simple and introductory version here. You have to talk to your teacher about the details and further developments. A foot change can be incorporated and the endings can be made juicy with lady's spin on the last bar of music. Six bars of music is the recommended technique.
Figure 8: Yes, it would be nice if you and her execute the turns and locks scribing a pattern of fig 8 as long as she is able to follow the leader.
What is new? In the old technique the step was commenced in Closed hold and man was stepping forward RF instead of crossing and this made transition to tandem most awkward. It was the most awkward and scary thing to do; now it is a piece of cake. What do you say?
With best Wishes, Max