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Author Topic: Timing of the Lead  (Read 3037 times)
cornutt
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« on: September 08, 2009, 09:21:33 PM »

My instructor said something interesting to me today.  I was concerned about part of a bolero step where it felt like my partner was always behind the beat (she's doing a walk-around behind me that ends in a ronde at my side) and I told my instructor that I felt like I didn't have enough time there and I was having to rush the next step.  She told me: "Don't wait on the woman; do your next step on time." 

Now, by that, she didn't mean "rush your partner".  What she meant, if I understood it properly, is that if you wait to lead the next step until you feel that the follow has totally finished the previous step, then you've broken the flow of the dance.  In computer science terms, we'd say that the follow needs the next thing "queued up" so that she knows what she has to do next as she's finishing the previous bit, so that she can seamlessly transition to it.  If she reaches a stopping point before she reaches the next lead, then the momentum is interrupted. 

Have I explained that in a way that makes sense?  it's a new concept to me.  It should have been obvious and I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't think of it myself.  It kind of goes with the observation that (I think it was) DSV that the lead must completely commit to a step, in order for the follower to feel confident that she is doing what is wanted.  It just never occurred to me that "completely commit" means not only motion but timing. 
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elisedance
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 03:57:36 AM »

The corrollary of that is that the follower delays - the lead initiates befpore the beat of the step and the follower follows slightly after - the effect is one of an invitation and a reluctant acquiecence.  IMO thats what gives some of the dances (notably waltz and ft) their yummy feel/look
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cornutt
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 09:39:07 AM »

By "reluctant acquiecence", I assume you mean that the follow always keeps something in reserve, per what DSV said.
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elisedance
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 09:48:10 AM »

I would be very cautious with that term and don't really agree.  its not reserve, its more like hysteresis (er, not hysteria though that can happen Undecided ), there is thick fluid between us and when the man leads I follow (metaphorically only) with weight, as if being drawn through molasses.  OK so I'm getting carried away with analogies.

I don't want to say in reserve because when I move the 'lead' has to follow me
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cornutt
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 11:57:59 AM »

Good input, Elise, this has me thinking in a bit different direction... will post more after lunch.   Cool
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2009, 02:47:48 AM »

Absolutely love bolero. So sad to see that it is so often so badly danced. Re the lead, this would apply to most dances, but especially the bolero. As it is danced in the amer style, the lead comes primarily from the body (in this case, the body roll). As bizarre as it might sound, think of dancing (leading) yourself rather than the girl. This results in innate movement before arriving to the actual step/place for which the lead was intended. If you have achieved this in a timely manner, you will be able to comfortably navigate the step. It would then stand to reason that so will have the follow.
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elisedance
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2009, 02:58:30 AM »

As bizarre as it might sound, think of dancing (leading) yourself rather than the girl. This results in innate movement before arriving to the actual step/place for which the lead was intended.

This is so important TD - if the man does his job well and clearly it is so much easier for the woman to do hers.  Many of the problems we have had have stemed from when DP tries to guide me through a step rather than doing what he needs to do.  I think its a misunderstanding of leading really is.
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cornutt
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2009, 08:37:04 PM »

As bizarre as it might sound, think of dancing (leading) yourself rather than the girl. This results in innate movement before arriving to the actual step/place for which the lead was intended.

This is so important TD - if the man does his job well and clearly it is so much easier for the woman to do hers.  Many of the problems we have had have stemed from when DP tries to guide me through a step rather than doing what he needs to do.  I think its a misunderstanding of leading really is.

My instructor always tells me, "The first aspect of leading is dancing your own part."  Lot of truth to that.  There's a point I need to think about.  My DW often says that I dance ahead of the beat.  However, from this description, it sounds like it is necessary for the lead to dance a bit ahead of the beat in order for the follow to be on time. 
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elisedance
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2009, 08:57:40 PM »

nope - the lead MUST stay on time - the follow is normally a little behind - thats why its called following I think Cheesy  Indeed, thats what gives ballroom its dreamy character...
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cornutt
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2009, 09:00:13 PM »

Hmm.  What about Latin/rhythm?  Seems to me like there, you want the follow to be on time.
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elisedance
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2009, 09:13:43 PM »

don't know Smiley  but I'm always late so you may not want to lead me there...
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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...
cornutt
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2009, 09:16:12 PM »

don't know Smiley  but I'm always late so you may not want to lead me there...

 Cheesy  I try not to be late, because if you're late, they make you dance merengue.   Shocked
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elisedance
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2009, 09:48:49 PM »

dance merengue?  I only eat them.  Mmmm.
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Some guy
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2009, 10:20:01 PM »

Actually, dancing is a huge illusion.  The man has to interpret the timing, whether it's on the beat, behind, ahead, etc., and dance himself.  The lady will "follow" (not a huge fan of the word anymore).  It's more like "conversation".  It becomes hard to tell who's initiating and who's following.  I've heard top pros say that they cannot find the words to accurately describe the real connection between a partnership.  "Lead" and "follow" is a very crude and rather inaccurate attempt at it.  The term "follow", being nowhere near the level of the top pros, is beginning to sound misleading even to me because it seems to indicate a time lag.   The second I stopped worrying about my partner and danced myself, my partner was able to follow and move quicker than ever.  We now have so much time with the music it's not even funny.  Earlier when I was "leading" her it was a race and so much effort was wasted trying to not get left behind by the music.  

My two cents: when you dance yourself, the lady becomes an extension of your own body.  For example, when you walk, you don't move each leg deliberately.  If you do that, walking fast or jogging would be quite difficult.  However, if you initiate the thought of walking, your legs begin to move.  Dancing becomes like that when you dance yourself.  As soon as you think of your next step and your own body starts to move, the lady starts to move also.  It's almost like my lady is "thought controlled".  As if dancing weren't addictive enough, I have yet to get used to the feeling of how awesome (and SO MUCH less physical and tiring) it is to dance via thought-control!

The tricky part to being able to do this is to know how to stand and use your body.  For example, leaving your lower back nicely relaxed creates an automatic magnetic effect between you and your partner.  It's been explained before how to leave the lower back relaxed but just to re-iterate, walk up and down the dance floor with a nice  tall posture and a nice big stride (not too big, just not whimpy).  Now walk that same stride maintaining your same tall posture but imagine it's in the middle of the night in your house and you don't want to wake anyone up.  You'll feel your lower back relax to act as a shock absorber while the rest of your body remains the same.  That lower back position has to be maintained at all times by both parties when dancing.  It's also referred to "athletic posture" on this forum.  It acts as a "tractor beam" between you and your partner when the man moves backwards. It also acts as a force field, "pushing the lady" (if you will), when moving forward.  If you do the opposite and thrust your pelvis out to try and make hip contact with your lady, she has no chance of following you without physical exertion and the use of arms on your part... not to mention, great discomfort on her part.  Similarly if the lady is thrusting her hips forward to make body contact she is only making things more difficult for herself.  
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 10:31:07 PM by Some guy » Logged
elisedance
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2009, 02:01:20 AM »

Actually, dancing is a huge illusion.  The man has to interpret the timing, whether it's on the beat, behind, ahead, etc., and dance himself.  The lady will "follow" (not a huge fan of the word anymore).  It's more like "conversation".  It becomes hard to tell who's initiating and who's following.  I've heard top pros say that they cannot find the words to accurately describe the real connection between a partnership.  "Lead" and "follow" is a very crude and rather inaccurate attempt at it.  The term "follow", being nowhere near the level of the top pros, is beginning to sound misleading even to me because it seems to indicate a time lag.   

I like the "conversation" term, I think it quite accurately describes a give and take.  what it misses is the emotion behind the talk.  Perhaps a better word is 'relationship'.  While it lacks the give and take that is specific to conversation, it embodies more aspects.  Its also close to the truth - in a way dance is always symbolic of a relationship between two people - we are projecting multiple aspects (obviously many are 'acted') of a male-female relationship.  Perhaps thats what makes ballroom so ineresting to watch when done well, we get to see the intimacies of two people's affair/love/soul mate/etc interaction.
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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...
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