Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Following and information

Having the opportunity to learn to follow before attempting to lead - which women do by social right, and men once did for practical reasons - is not only a matter of having better information than someone who comes to it 'cold'.

It also allows you to solve about 90% of the big physical problems of posture, axis, embrace, balance, coordination, control of momentum, cognition and proprioception, before you start worrying about any of the much smaller number of problems that are specific to leading. 

For me, leading is mostly just one quite challenging problem, which is training my brain to perceive and command a lot of quite complex and unexpected movements that my body can already easily do. And solving that one problem gets slowly but steadily easier with practice. 

Most of the other problems are relatively straightforward, when taken in isolation from the problems that are common to both leading and following. You can focus properly on the specific problems and solve them without confusion.

Another benefit is that you have already developed an accurate idea of what you might want to do, and why, which makes you unlikely to waste much time on classes that are not useful. I don't bother learning to lead anything I don't personally like to follow.

A third is that you have access to good followers and are in a state where you can avoid annoying them, if you have any trace of sense, and repay their investment in you quickly. 

And a fourth is that, with luck, you may also have found, or even become part of, one or more communities where the leaders behave nicely on the dancefloor rather than some combination of charging about like ants on coke, wrestling and pouting. This will reduce the stressful side, and also give you access to crucial information.

All these are blessings. But if you learn to follow well and then start leading and take it seriously, you damn well ought to be better than average in a couple of years, or you're doing it wrong.

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