Thursday 24 September 2009

Two women converse about leading

A conversation with a friend, posted with her permission and slightly edited for clarity and relevance and to remove people's names.

... i will look [Sway] up on line and maybe give it a go.
i tried to lead last wed.
it was interesting

I'll have the review of Sway done in an hour or two with all the links
Leading is very illuminating

i practiced the walk like [O] explained. it did seem to work
in that the follower moved her leg back.

Which explanation was that?

but the timing is tricky and you have to be careful the follower is giving forward intention otherwise she drags you back with her before you actually want to go.
so i am going to watch I dont do that next time I dance. Do you know what I mean

the other thing i noticed
is that as [O] says:

Yes I think I know what you mean

I lead, but I accompany

i.e. you lead, she goes, then you go with her
Is that what you mean?

yes, but it is so subtle almost happens in a breath. the connection is so so important.


so these 2 things, which obviously i knew, but became very very clear after leading. so i am going to lead more.
do you lead

I took about ten beginner lessons as a leader
It helped me quite a bit
The biggest surprise was how few women grasp the concept of following

yes - you are right!! about the women.

Leading a bit made me appreciate what I do right
It actually gave me a lot of confidence as a follower

Yes, you are right

I know I've always been easy to lead but I never understood what that actually meant till I tried leading [different people]
I didn't realise how much influence the follower has on how easy or hard it is.

and when i led this girl called [J], who has been to Mango, and has learnt along the same principles as me it was delightful. We both loved each other.

I agree - people say the same - that I am easy to lead - I never believed them, just thought they were flirting or something - but [now] I know they meant it.

And also I understood why people want to lead - it feels rather magic when it works.

Yes you are right - thats why i love [O] - he just walks me and doesnt try anything but its so interesting

It is, isn't it? And it so hard to explain exactly how

yes - with [J] i did just once, a weight change and she floated along - we stopped immediately and laughed because it was so lovely it had been achieved.

And it seems so simple

i have another lesson with [O] when he gets back - i cant wait. i emailed him to ask about music. what music should i listen to in order to place my step.
he said listen to disarli, dont worry about choreography. just place my foot on the beat. so thats my mission until he comes back.

Yes. I can lend you some CDs, I have more diSarli than I want
I found leading really helped with that as well
It changed my relationship to the music and made me more precise

yes you are right about the music. i am just beginning to realise it.
must go now - may go to portland later


also one other thing i just remembered.
about the forward intention with the upper body.
its actually in reverse for the follower.
now i know i know that, but somehow, leading has actually crystallised it in my mind.

It's tricky because it's not the way your'e going is that what you mean?

because when i led [R] as he extended his leg - it was very clear that his upper body came back a bit too quick and we lost connection and he dragged me earlier than i wanted to go.
now again, i know that, and people have said in the past that i sometimes do it. but feeling it in someone else hopefully will help me to take it on board.

Yes, it makes a lot more sense

oh its all so interesting. but i must go!

see you later!


ghost said...

“because when i led [R] as he extended his leg - it was very clear that his upper body came back a bit too quick and we lost connection and he dragged me earlier than i wanted to go.”

Yup, categorically that’s what makes the difference to me as a leader. “Dragged” is definitely the right word.

Any chance of having [O]'s explanation on the walk and getting the follower to move her leg back?

msHedgehog said...

@ghost, I don't know what it was either, but you know Flower, so you can ask her and she'll tell you.

LimerickTango said...

I have a dearth of leaders this season and am using it as an opportunity to show my dancers both sides of the coin so that they get a greater appreciation of the followers role.

ghost said...

Doh! The choice of "Flower" is very clever, thanks :o)

Anonymous said...

Well, although that all sounds very interesting, I will stick to following.
I make decisions all the time and it it a relief for me to just relax and let someone take the lead for a change.
Now I finally understand what a friend of mine meant (he joined the TA SAS training many years ago) when he said he could just switch off and let someone else take charge. I didn't think he was the kind of person who would accept being told what to do!
By the way, sometimes when a leader loses that connection, it can be because they are moving forward and stopping too quickly and not really paying attention to the follower. Listening is a two way street.
If you want to get your follower to move her leg back, try having her shift her weight back and forth to the music before you take that first step forward (leading with your chest). This way she will be 'listening' to you and will be prepared to follow. It's no good moving forward if your follower isn't ready.

ghost said...

Thanks. I'm also experimenting with starting walks on the "1" / beginning of a phrase, and seeing what effect this has.