"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #99, Thursday, April 25, 2001
Lead and Follow-Part I
Letter: Would love to see an article on general principles of lead and follow
particularly in latin dancing. Might save a few "arguments" on the floor :o)
Why not? Even though it is a little redundant and hackneyed subject but all the more important and ever so immortal topic. We will discuss ballroom today.
What is meant by Leading and Following? I think if you can tell your partner (unspoken words) which direction to go and at what speed and what foot, that simply is Leading. In other words, Direction and Timing are important elements of Leading. Following is simply understanding this information and acting unconsciously and "reflex-ly" to achieve a desired effect.
Assume for a moment that your lady neither can see, nor she can hear (blind and deaf). You take her in your arms and lead her to dance. If you are a good leader, her eyes will suddenly open and she will see through your eyes and she will hear music through your ears.
What is Center:* All Lead and Follow information is given by the movement of the Body and to be more specific, the *Center. Where is Center located? Universally it may be said that it is located somewhere at the pit of your stomach or where the chest joins the stomach area. You have seen the British or Northwest Airway maps where all the routes are connected to a Hub. Similarly all parts of Body are connected with abstract lines to this Center. Then, you connect your Center to your partner's and every little movement of your body can be transmitted to her in this fashion.
Arms Hands, Leg and Feet should not be the primary elements of leading and following; though they do have a secondary role. Sometimes it is a good idea to practice without hand holds.
What about Latin? No different. O' Really?...Well let's discuss that next time around.
Some Quotes from Alex Moore: "It is of utmost importance for the lady to keep contact with the man and to keep her body perfectly still from the hips upward, in order to feel the lead for a turn at the proper moment. She must not anticipate-she must not have a mind of her own. She must just follow whatever the man does and not attempt to correct him. Contact with the partner should not be at the hips only, but from the hips and the lower part of the body-the "diaphragm*"
Some Tips (Alex Moore):
1. Dont hold your partner with a vice like grip; you will interfere with her balance.
2. Don't hold your partner so loosely that she cannot feel your lead.
3. Dont take very long steps if your partner is physically incapable of doing so.
4. Don't try intricate steps in a crowded ballroom.
I cannot imagine how all this can be said differently; how very simply and wonderfully explained by Moore. Best Wishes, and keep dancing with a good and gentle lead....Max
Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.