Dance Secrets - Leads and Follows

Posted by Diane Smedley on May 04, 2011

The Secrets to Leading and Following.

Every time you partner dance the art of Leading and Following is a critical element in the enjoyment for both dancers!  

We need to connect with our partner to be able to Lead or Follow.  This connection must have tone, be active and equal.  We need muscle tone, flexibility and to have both partners responsive.

The dance position you are in determines the type of tone etc that we need.  For example a Closed Hold requires different elements to an Open Hold or Single Handed and Double Hand Holds.

However there are constant elements that are always needed.  For the Follower the keys are:





As Followers we need to Wait for the Leader to prepare the move, if we "Jump the Gun" then we lose that all important connection and we are now not following.  We need to Feel what the Leader is doing, so we know where his weight is and which direction he wants us to go.  Trust is an important element, we need to let the man lead us and not undermine his confidence by second guessing him.  Trust him to know the right lead and the right move.  Even if he makes a wrong move, so long as the Follower goes with him it will still work and be fun.  Movement comes as the last element in following, not the first.  Once we have received the connection and the messages of where to move, then we go with the Man.

For the Leader the keys are:





As the Leader we must have our Weight poised forward over the front of our feet.  We must have a clear definiation of which foot the weight is on.  Only in this way can the Follower know which foot to move first.  The Connection is all important and should be toned and concentrated towards the Partnership Centre.  (I will talk about the Partnership Centres in a future article.)  The Follower needs to be able to Feel your tone, poise and balance to be able to follow your lead.  As a Leader you need to be Considerate of your partner at all times, putting her needs above yours.  Only in this way will she be able to Trust you on the dance floor and be willing to give over the control of the situation to you completely.  The last of the keys is Movement.  Once you have established the correct connection the Leader initiates the movement, first throught the body and secondly through the feet and the "Hey Presto" your partner will Follow you anywhere!

Remember dancing is through the Body not the Feet!!

So enjoy your dancing and we will continue in the next article with clues on how to establish the Partnership Centre.

Bye from Diane at DanceFactor






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