"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #71, Thursday, Oct 11, 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
The AIDA, Lead and Follow

Three steps back RLR (Man, lady normal opposite) in Left side by side position is called AIDA. After an Alemana, we did 9 steps of Hand to Hand and then after 1/4 turn to right for man and left for lady, the Aida and follow with a Hip Rock and a Spot Turn to Left for man and Right for lady. This is the way I had learned it at my studio. The problem is that as we are finishing 7-9 of Hand to Hand how do we tell the lady that this time we will go back, back, back to do theAIDA. Well, every body had their own ideas and I enumerate them below.

1. Have an understanding that after 9 steps of hand to hand we will go back. Fine, if you are lifetime partners and have that understanding. If you dance socially with different partners this will be difficult, nor I believe that this is dancing. Discarded!

2. When you are ready, whisper or wink to your partner or come up with some gimmick signal and just do it..Really?..just kiddin. .forget it!

3. As you turn right 1/4 for AIDA, nudge the right arm of the lady to give a signal and go back! Actually the new ISTD manual has something like that "lower the arm, increase tone etc." and lead the Aida. Once in a while I used to do that, but that not feel good either. So, Thank you!

How, in the world then, do you tell the lady to change from Hand to Hand to go back for AIDA?

I recall a lecture by a legend in Latin, Alan Tornsberg and this is what I remember: He said QUOTE: "A lady will continue her direction in which she is going until this will be changed by the Man ." UNQUOTE

This applies as a general principle in all phases of dancing and naturally is an important element of Lead and Follow.

In Hand to Hand we must use a checking movement to stop the progression of the back movement as soon as the hip has settled on 1st, 4th and 7th step. Some might say that you will even check the full hip movement of the walk. This will then be the indication to transfer weight forward for the next step of hand to hand. I would call this a "checked backward walk". I feel this checking movement is then transmitted from the lower part of our body to our toned arms and finally to our hands and a certain stretching of arm may also be felt. Of course this will be so subtle that only the dancing couple will "feel" it but an observer will not "see" it.

So now the matter is quite simple if you check the back walk, she should know it is going to be Hand to Hand but if you just let hips settle and no other signal she should continue to walk back according the basic principle we discussed above.

Sometimes when I teach this in my class, initially it is a slight problem but very soon everybody understands it and results are gratifying.

Another little trick I use is that I delay "more" the last step of the Hand to hand then quickly carry the momentum to continue the Aida with the above Lead. It does seem to put a little more expression into this simple but exotic figure.

Same concept applies when you are using Reverse Top as a Precede to AIDA. After step 6 the lady has a rotational inertia to her left, just let it go and you open up by dropping your right hand and simply go back, back, back and AIDA is done.

I have also done a modified AIDA movement after a lady's spiral in which case you will go back, back, back as man but after the spiral lady will go forward, forward and back ending up as it was the end AIDA position.

Did it make any sense? Best wishes...Max

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.

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