Leading and Following
by Irv &
It may seem strange to
talk about leading and following in round dancing, since both
partners know their part equally well, and there is a cuer telling
both people what to do. However, if two people dance independently to
cues, the chances of perfectly matched dancing is slim. No matter how
good the timing of each partner, there will probably be a subtle
difference in interpretation of the music. Another problem is length
of step. If one person decides to move out and the other does not, a
bumpy ride is surely to be in store.
There is no substitute
for the man's lead, even if the woman is the stronger dancer. The
construction of the closed dance position has the man's lead in mind,
and the woman is in no position to lead effectively. The advantage to
good leading and following is nicely matched dancing.
The closed position
frame is the key to good leading and following. There are five points
of contact: the man's left and woman's right hand, the diaphragm, the
woman's left hand on the man's right arm, the man's right hand on the
woman's back, and the man's right wrist just under the armpit of the
woman. None of these points of contact should ever be used
independently. All five should be used as a single unit. The most
important points are the diaphragm and the man's right wrist. By
thinking more about these two points and less about the other three,
some common faults of leading can be avoided. These faults include
the independent pushing and pulling of the man's right and woman's
left arm, the grabbing of the woman's back with the man's right hand,
and grabbing of the man's right arm by the woman's left hand. All
three of these faults lead to poor dancing and should be avoided.
Putting the bodies into
closed position and locking the frame, and using body rotation and
sway is the key to good leading. Following is accomplished the same
way. The follower should not be putty in the leader's arms, but at
the same time, must trust the body cues that the leader gives.
clinic notes prepared for a URDC Teachers Seminar, 1984, and reprinted in the DRDC newsletter, December 2014/January 2015..
remain ever important.)