Leading and Following - By Rebecca Hadrill
Senior teacher, Rebecca Hadrill, writes a fantastic blog on the art of leading and following in Latin American dancing. Rebecca's experience as a teacher clearly shines through in this explanation of the rights and wrongs of one of the most misunderstood subjects in dancing. Rebecca is available for private dance lessons and wedding dance lessons.
When teaching my clients I often stress the importance of knowing how to lead and follow when a couple are dancing together more particularly in closed hold. One of the key things to help you enjoy your dancing more and to understand your steps is knowing what makes a good leader and follower.
The easiest way to explain it is to think of dancing with your partner like a telephone conversation, the better your connection, the easier it is to have a conversation. A connection must be active , mutual and have tone. It is the leaders responsibility to be clear about what he wants his partner to do so the leader is thinking in the future planning his routine and observing the dance floor at the same time. The follower is waiting for the signals and is not to anticipate what the lead will do next. Some followers may have a tendency to try lead their partner. A simple exercise to help you listen to your leader is to practice basic steps with your eyes closed. That way you are forced to come more into your body and into the present which enables you to tune in and allow your partner to lead you. So what kind of signals does a follower need?
In Latin American dancing a leader can use four different types of leading to signal the next figure or position to his partner. A leader can lead through transferring weight which will cause the follower to react to this. Another type of lead is a physical lead eg raising the left arm. This does not have to be forced - subtle physical movements are sufficient. In addition, a leader can shape a position to indicate to the follower what is coming next and finally we have what we call a visual lead which is basically a movement that the follower can see and then react accordingly.
The key thing to being a good leader is clear communication and hand connection. The best leaders are those who can communicate their intentions . For a follower , it is being able to respond well to your leaders intentions.
When you reach that stage where really feel present and connected to your partner. .oh what a joy it is to dance!
The London Academy Of Dance also offer group Ballroom Classes. Click on the link for more information.