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Feel Good, Look Great! -- Notes On Lead and Follow

by Tom Hicks

Smooth Dancing

  1. Man has 3 dance features to control while leading.
    1. Timing/Rhythm
    2. Movement/Direction
    3. Shape/Sway
  2. Man's lead suggests (indicates) the direction Lady should follow, but ultimately she dances the movement on her own.
  3. Tips for better leading
    1. Lady never moves or turns herself; she creates power to prepare for movement but waits for Man's indication.
    2. Man's arm and hands do not move a Lady; they move with the Lady through movement of his spine.
    3. Always be sure Lady is completely balanced over her own feet.
    4. Man talks with Lady through his body; Lady listens to Man through the contact with his body.
    5. Feel a strong connection from Man's right hip that is felt all the way to the Lady's head.
    6. Rule for leading (and life) Man suggests (indicates) the lead, Lady dances the movement, then Man follows.
    7. Men allow Ladies the freedom to continue body & head movement through extension until the Man indicates a new shape or movement.

Latin Dancing

  1. Man's job is to communicate in both open & closed position.
    1. Tone and Connection
    2. Compression and Resistance (Push and Pull)
  2. 2. Four different types of leads
    1. a) Physical Lead—the increase/decrease of pressure through a connection with the arm or hand position
    2. b) Body lead—the increase/decrease of pressure through the connection with a closed body position
    3. c) Weight Change—the change of direction and shift of weight in movement
    4. d) Visual lead—the movement of an action done without hands while the partner follows

Summary

Do you want to just learn the steps, or do you want to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GREAT. It is a never-ending process of exercising these principles, practice, and lessons, and this is a good thing, because it is fun, and it really does feel good.


From clinic notes prepared for the RAL Convention, 2018, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, February 2020.


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