Swing Discussion Boards > beginner lead

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by css, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. wcsjon

    wcsjon New Member

    The way I've heard taught latest, by Robert Royston, Kyle Redd and a few others, is the step moves the center.
    Think of it this way, the "center" is a theory, you can't find center in any medical book about muscles or anything. Center as we refer to it, is our center of ballance. As a lead, you center can't change on the first count of any pattern, untill a step is being taken. Why? well, because if you stand still, and you are in an upright position, and then change your center without moving your feet, you will fall. Control is the key to movement, weither it be dance or any other movement.
    As a follow, as you said, IS a bit different. Because as a follow you are actually reacting to your lead's movement. As a couple, your center changes when he moves.......thus pulling you off of your center (this is getting deep, lol) causing you to react (in this case, step) to maintain/regain your center.

    I give credit to Robert and Kyle for this explination, as this is how they explained it in a question answer session at Bill Robinson's swing event in Atlanta a few months ago.

    For a lead, moving before the step, or anticipating the step is a bad habbit, and I'm struggling with that one. I didn't even realize I was doing it untill Laureen pointed it out to me at Bill's event. If any of you ever get a chance, take lessons from her, she's a great person and easy to work with..........as well as Robert, Kyle, Ronnie, etc etc etc.
  2. css

    css New Member

    I think I get it. The lead involves the arms but comes from the entire body. So you have to move with the lead you're doing. Thanks again to everyone for helping.
  3. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Two words: "advanced footwork".

    But the general idea has been communicated, and there's no need to get micro....
  4. luh

    luh Active Member

    yeppers, that's right. If you wouldn't have written this i would have :)

    Your feet move because your center moves. @wcsjon - there is no medical center. though the center in dancing is quite clear what it is, and where it is located. The center is pretty much the lower part of the belly.
    p.s. @chandra again: it's the same for leads - we also have to move out of the center.
  5. chandra

    chandra New Member

    ermm... Your center of gravity changes with each person. It is absolutely possibly to have it in your chest. (generally lower stomach though I guess, just wanted to say it wasnt written in stone)

    Im going to be really obnoxious and point picky. This has less than nothing to do with dancing. */disclaimer*

    You CAN actually move your center before your feet. Stand up and try it. Thats probably not what you do when your dancing.
  6. luh

    luh Active Member

    sure you can have your center somewhere else - it's just probably themost common place to be. but you are right.

    normally, you move your center before feet :)
  7. fenixx

    fenixx Member

    I know I am a latin dancer getting in the middle of many swing dancers, but I am going to talk a bit about connection. If I take a step without my body initiating the step (forget about with a partner, a simple forward walk will do) my leg will swing out but I will go no where. If I let my body lead (taking me to a tipping point) then my leg will react and I will take a step. This is how we walk down the street. This can be extended to show that all movement from foot to foot must start with a body lead. But what about between steps? Between a step, the pressure of one foot, the back foot, takes you forward to the front foot (the foot you just placed due to the body lead).

    So what does this have to do with a discussion about leading? Well, my previous paragraph talks about the body leading or starting all movement and footwork continuing the movement. Thus, if I want to initiate someone else's movement I too must use my body to initiate the movement in their body so we may both step. Thus the body, which is really a change of weight is the "leader" and not the step. This is so because there are figures that require a lead but do not require a step. For example, if I want the lady walk into me, change direction and keep walking I simply lead her 3 movements with only 1 step. The reason I can do this is not my arm or my steps, but because of my body. I change my weight three times, which initiates body action 3 times, which cause her to make 3 distinct actions.

    Thus, do not think of you arm because your arm does not command your weight. Also, your step is not really the reason for the lead because it is your body movement that is causing it. The fact that the body movement initiates a step for the leader as well does not mean the step is doing the leading.

    I hope this helps
  8. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Lots of info here. My guess is that most beginners will be very confused by now. :shock:

    Moving and leading is done from the body. Not from feet or arms. That I agree to 100%, and it's important to know. Arms and legs play second roles when it comes to dancing.

    But that does not mean they are not important parts of moving and leading, because they are. They still have a lot to do in supporting the movements and the leads. You should lead using your body, yes. But the arms are very much part of the lead. You should move using your body, yes, but the legs are very much part of that movement.

    Leading and following involves the whole body, and includes arms and legs. The body is the center and the most important, but legs and arms are important too.
  9. Benjamin

    Benjamin New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I am very new here so forgive my possible ignorance :) .
    I would just like to say that all this info has been really helpful for me. I am 7 months into west coast swing and right now I feel like I am swaying between too much connection(Pretty much my arm stays by my body and I don't have any elasticity) and not enough connection to the point my hand feels like a dead fish . :roll:

    Again, I just wanted to state my appreciation for this thread and hopefully I can contribute to this forum later on when I get a little better :)
  10. luh

    luh Active Member

    glad it helped - that's what it's for ;)
  11. Alias

    Alias Member

    Stand in front of the door holding the key which is in the door lock, and then turn the key to unlock the door, there isn't any needed body movement involved or change of center of balance (and as long as you practice body isolation you can do crazy things with your legs or your body without moving your hand and interfere with the process of turning the key), this is just done with an in place rotation of your wrist or even with a movement of your fingers without even moving your wrist.

    This is an analogy for spinning a follower for example, then leading doesn't compulsorily involve your body.
    There is a vast field of possible techniques, let's be imaginative and open minded.
  12. luh

    luh Active Member

    yeah - but spinning is probably considered advanced stuff. (at least plenty of spins). - but for most of the leading, you'll need your center, and connection, as well as tension in the arms and a good frame. - and as far as i got it - the topic is "beginner lead"
  13. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Don't confuse rigidity with connection. The connection is dynamic, sometimes you use more strength, sometimes you use less. And even when you use a lot of strength, you should still not be rigid. And even when you use very little strength, there should always be a connection.

    The difference between having a rigid connection and not comes from how you use your antaonistic muscles. For example, try puling at something. You can pull at it, using only the muscles that pull. Or you can make your arm stiff by activating more of the muscles in your arm at the same time, and sort of locking it in place. You should almost always to the former, and almost never do the latter, when dancing. This makes a dynamic, non-stiff connection, even if you happen to use a lot of strength during some pattern.
  14. chandra

    chandra New Member

    There is one point I feel has been neglected.

    Weve talked about body leads, and what that means. If it comes first from your foot or your center. Ive been told both by pros, and Im sure either works. (to some extent they are not seperate of on another just different ways of saying the same thing)

    One point that Kyle made is an interesting and good point (erm, did I say one?)

    He commented that dancers these days had an over obsession with body leads. In actuallity, you do have to use your arm, the momentum is, however, iniated by your body.

    I think a more important point (for ease of following for me) for "arm leaders" is if they lead with their arm outside of their body. Out of control, out of where our wieght could be plausibly transfered in one step.

    Keep in mind Im just a silly little novice girl dancer. THis is all just opinion and collaboration, not fact.
  15. luh

    luh Active Member

    i thought that we had skipped momentum because this was too basic.
  16. chandra

    chandra New Member

    *shrug* replace momentum with motion. The concept still works.
  17. luh

    luh Active Member

    hey - why aren't you online atm?
  18. chandra

    chandra New Member

    Im at school
  19. luh

    luh Active Member

    that is NO excuse ! ;)
  20. chandra

    chandra New Member

    I dont AIM at school...

    MSN, but not AIM

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