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Author Topic: A different sort of lead/follow  (Read 1266 times)
cornutt
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« on: January 01, 2010, 12:19:05 PM »

Had an interesting experience at the studio's New Year party last night.  As most of you know, my DW had foot surgery in November and she has not been able to dance since.  Well, last night, there was a rumba on and I asked her if she felt like she could do a small rumba box.  We got up and did that and she was OK with that.  Then she said she thought she could do some other figures, but she wasn't sure which ones. 

So I gave her permission to back-lead.  I told her to do whatever she felt she could do, and I'd deal with it.  We started with some basic underarm turns and then did some other turning figures.  Certain ones she found out quickly that she couldn't do, but she did some other ones OK.  It was mostly improvised stuff; we didn't do many syllabus figures, and nothing syncopated.

It occurred to me as we were doing this that I've never danced in this type of role before.  I had surrendered some of the responsibility of leading, but not all of it; I was still setting the time and the direction, but my DW was selecting and initiating the figures and the variations.  It was quite a unique experience.  For some time now, I've been thinking of myself as being a rather impatient lead; it's a problem relating to my wanting to stay on time.  But last night, it was almost like I had told my partner, "OK, you're in charge of this part, so if we get off time, it's your problem."  And in this mode of thinking, I was able to wait at all of the places where I needed to wait.  The really remarkable thing: One of the few places where my DW and I sometimes have problems is that she can be, er, rather casual about staying in the vicinity of the beat.  It's not that she doesn't hear the beat, but she likes to emphasize stylings by holding them for extra time (a habit I think she picked up from disco dancing), and sometimes she'll actually hold clear through the next beat, at which point I'm hopelessly lost.  But last night, her timing was perfect.  She still held some things, but never long enough that I felt pressure to catch back up with the beat afterwards.  This is something I've been asking her to pay attention to for a while, and last night, she got it.
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elisedance
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 12:49:18 PM »

How interesting - sounds like she is actually a born leader.  Much as I love the throw-back romance aspects of ballroom, perhaps we need to remind oursleves every now ant then that the reason women do not lead has nothing to do with ability or even talent but all to do with convention and somewhat stereotyped sex roles.  Give the chokce I think 90% of women would prefer to follow (in dancing) anyway but there are still the other 10...
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
Some guy
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2010, 12:55:17 PM »

So Cornutt, you experienced DSV's theory of giving up control in order to gain control! Great isn't it?! Cheesy
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elisedance
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 01:07:03 PM »

nice take...
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
albanaich
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Posts: 236


« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 02:45:18 PM »

Interesting - on the 27th I was dancing with a long time dance friend who has a 'frozen foot' (it was smashed in a car accident years ago and is physically 'locked' - like and

artificial foot or leg.)

She's a fine dancer who naturally back leads. She back leads because she has to stop partners forcing her to do stuff she is physically incapable of. You have to wait for her to do certain things.

It's worth noting that 'swing dancers' have to dance 'off beat' in order to align the patterns with the music, this is particularly so in Lindy Hop, which uses the same music as the Quickstep. Swing music is deliberately designed to force the dancer to Swing - that is 'hold the beat' rather than follow a rigid tempo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_%28dance%29

If you dance Quickstep (Lindy Hop) or Foxtrot (West Coast Swing) to a fixed beat you miss the intent of the music, which stretches the notes so they are 'off beat' whiich is what makes swing music 'swing'









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TangoDancer
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2010, 02:50:26 AM »

So Cornutt, you experienced DSV's theory of giving up control in order to gain control! Great isn't it?! Cheesy

Ditto that.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
phoenix13
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 09:14:29 PM »

How interesting - sounds like she is actually a born leader.  Much as I love the throw-back romance aspects of ballroom, perhaps we need to remind oursleves every now ant then that the reason women do not lead has nothing to do with ability or even talent but all to do with convention and somewhat stereotyped sex roles.  Give the chokce I think 90% of women would prefer to follow (in dancing) anyway but there are still the other 10...


Amen!!  Amen and hallelujah.
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Dona nobis pacem.
elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 09:38:21 PM »

So now I think we better sing a hymn...

"'cause I'm a woman.."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWFhlVvYOno

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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
phoenix13
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2013, 10:14:06 PM »

W O man.  Got to say it again.  Cheesy
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Dona nobis pacem.
elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2013, 06:50:40 AM »

its a brilliant song - and then was commercialized (and trashed) in that 'angoli' ad
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
phoenix13
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2013, 08:06:10 AM »

The first time I ever heard it was in a spoof on the Cher comedy/variety show.  Not exactly a classy rendition, I must say, but it stuck with me.
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Dona nobis pacem.
phoenix13
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2013, 08:08:47 AM »

What struck me about the original post, btw, is that cornutt seems to "get it."

Even though his wife's injury is what brought on the change in approach, I think that his post hints at something more fundamental.  Even though the lead initiates movement and the follow responds,  the lead also has to remain responsive to the follow's movements, as well,
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Dona nobis pacem.
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