Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by css, Oct 3, 2005.
good to know - i'll sign in into msn in the future as well
Just to emphasize the importance of the lead:
Last Saturday I was at a country dance. A Cowboy Waltz came on and, even though though I hadn't done it in years and didn't remember a thing, I let myself get dragged out on to the floor -- but I did warn her. All I could do was the basic and to lead her into a right turn (after a quick mental calculation of which foot she needed to be on to pull it off -- and I did guess it right). She seemed pleased overall.
Later that night, when another waltz came on she was recommending me highly to her friends. When I protested that I only knew the basic and one move, she retorted: "He can lead. He stays in time with the music. And he knows when to turn you." and looked at them like, "What more could we ask for?"
OK, guys, now we know what's important. Let's get to work!
that's cool 8)
Maybe I should start a new thread for this question called Not-so beginner lead but I thought I'd try this thread first. When I took beginner East Coast Swing classes about three years ago I got nothing but extremely positive feedback on my lead because it was clear and confident (I'd taken ballroom several years ago so most of what I was learning was a refresher). As I advanced and started asking the more experienced follows to dance I got the impression from many of them that they wanted a lead to give them room to do their own things. The problem is my experience in the classroom had turned me into a Lindy control freak. How can I learn to lead an experienced follow without micromanaging her swing?
Experience and being comfortable with your dancing. Learning that it isn't about "control". Having the intention but not being attached to the outcome. My housemate siad yesterday night that she enjoyed being able to express herself while following me in salsa. That's what you are aiming for.
First, don't be harder than necessary in the frame and lead. You should use only as much strength as is necessary to lead what you want to lead. Lower the shoulders and relax the frame.
Second, play around. Swing is about having fun. Fun is not leading the partner through strict moves. Fun is playing around, making mistakes, improvising etc. As you relax the lead, you should relax the attitude as well.
Practice a lot. Dance a lot. We all go through stages before we finf out who we are on the dancefloor, and have we make the dance ours. As long as you are aware of what you're doing, it will just take time and practice.
Are you asking how to learn, or what to learn? The answer to the first is easy: practice, practice, practice.
Ideas for the latter:
1) Some patterns inherently give the followers more freedom than others. So look around you, determine which patterns the followers experiment with most often. Lead those patterns frequently.
2) Turn down the volume on your connection (i.e. lead less, without leading less often). The connection should still arrive at the same places at the same time, but with less pressure. Practice less secure hand holds, especially those with less surface contact - in other words, using hand shapes so that if you do lead hard, the hands will slip. Note that as you get the hang of this, you'll want to learn to shift gears - maxing the volume when you need her to step precisely where you are leading (traffic control), turning it back down to indicate the available freedom. The volume of the connection tells the follower how carefully she needs to be listening.
3) Make sure the flow of control gives her a fair share of the cool bits of the music to play with. While you are trying to learn this, a fair share=all the cool bits. Once you've gotten the practice you need, you'll start reclaiming some of these bits for yourself, or for the partnership.
Insert Standard Westie Disclaimer here.
- Swing Out!!! In a Swing Out I (as a follower) has 4 beats out of 8 to play with, 7-8-1-2. I love Swing Outs. I could do a whole song of them, but then I would get dizzy. When I lead (yes, I lead too) I feel boring doing the same thing over and over, but it’s just because I’m not such a skilled lead that I can play in the Swing Outs in the same way I do as a follower.
- Listen to your follower. Learn to follow her. If she wants space she will let you know and then you must be able to read her signals (probably variations in you connection).
- Open your mind. First you learn figures and moves in classes and then you should forget about them. Listen to the music and use it to build your dance.
I used to worry about this, but I'm a bit more relaxed about it now.
One thing I do (following a tip from some teachers in a group class), is:
1. Do a standard swingout
2. At the end of the swingout, with your partner in 'open' position, just rock back, i.e. 'back-rock, back-rock, back-rock, back-rock' on 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8.
3. When you do this, you should find that most experienced followers will start 'playing'
It doesn't tend to work with beginners, as they don't have the confidence or connection to 'play', but the more experienced followers tend to enjoy it.
Give it a try!
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