Swing Discussion Boards > the basics

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by goldfish, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. suek

    suek New Member

    Great question. When I was starting out I would get all caught up (in more ways than one!) trying to match the fancy footwork of my more advanced leads. I think it was Damon who told me that what's important is for our upper bodies to match. Likely fewer people will be looking at our feet -- if they're looking at us at all. Now granted we have this tendency to dance LH looking at our feet --wow cool look what I can do! -- and I still get into that Oh he's doing scissors I will too! thing. But if I miss it or I don't know it and even when I do catch it AND whenI know it and can match it my main job is to follow his lead, stay connected and match his energy and movement. What this means for me now is that my lead can break into some amazing syncopation that I just don't understand and I will do a little hip shake or mess around (jazz step that's a circular hip movement). Don't know how it looks; I do know I almost always get a smile from my lead. (Actually I do know how it looks and that's why I use it... insert evil grin here.)

    I guess I can just take this back to my basic foundation of being a world-class follow. Remember rule#3 from my earlier post: 3. Feet underneath my body and constantly moving (doing footwork). That and rule #1: Have fun. That covers it.
  2. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The leader does not lead footwork, he leads body movement. Some body movement forces your feet to fit into certain patterns/rhythms, others suggest a specific pattern/rhythm, others don't make any suggestion at all.

    Don't worry about your feet. It will just hold you back. The leader moves your body, you let him. When he leads something from tango, he should be making your body move in a very "Controlling" fashion in so far as your steps will be placed by his lead. When the figures are open like from salsa just keep stepping as needed, don't worry about triple-steps and step-steps, your body if relaxed will take care of itself, what it can't do is the responsiblity of the leader.

    Any pattern or figure that requires you to know what your part is rather than just following is choreography not social dancing.
  3. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    Explanations of patterns for beginning and intermediate Lindy Hop that I have been exposed to tell the follower to start by matching the leader's rock step or step step, as an example. She knows it's coming. It's a choreographed rock step. Do followers have to learn how to just do the post-rock step movement even if they don't catch the rock step, or does the leader's body tell her "rock step" and she'll catch it? Could we even go so far as to say she should never rock step in closed position unless it's led? Should we be drilling in closed position with suprise rock steps so she can get used to only doing it in the context of following? What it looks like in social dance floor videos I've seen is that the rock step or initiating step step is a leader's move/signal; the follower doesn't have to mirror it. She just takes it as a signal and does everything afterwards. Is that right?
  4. funkyfreak

    funkyfreak New Member

    In closed position if the follower tries to rockstep and the leader isn't leading her center into one, it either - a) hurts, or b) massively breaks connection, or both. Since there is no set number of steps one should do before a rockstep is put in (if there is one at all), you're right - the follower should not be doing one unless led. A closed position movement could be a 10-count movement that the leaders wants to do, for example, so the follower would want to continue letting the lead dictate her center instead of using an arbitrary number of counting to decide where her center is going.

  5. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The followers footwork is dictated by where her body goes... her body movement is dictated by where the leader directs it.

    Good lindy hop does not use signals, but a "body lead". The leader uses his body movement to create momentum and give direction to the follower. She should never have to guess, anticipate or fill in.
  6. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Well said!!!
  7. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    There was something where they explained follower's swiveling, and they said something like "she can now choose to swivel anywhere in which a triple step isn't an essential part of 8-count patterns". This was written material, so I may have misunderstood it, or I'm remembering it wrong. If I've got it right, this means she can almost always omit mirroring a leader's step steps / rock steps. If that's a bad idea...

    Would it be constructive, pointless or destructive to drill in closed position with the leader doing suprise rock steps? We could also add any step step variations not just rock step. The bulk of the dance could be the leader mixing 2 count single steps and/or triple steps, but putting in rock steps only sometimes rather than turning every set into a 6 count pattern. We could do something like this well beyond 200 bpm. Is it a bad idea, useless idea or a good idea? I'd like to get the followers to where they don't make step stepping a habit, yet quickening their response to leader's step steps.

    So, what's better? Let followers know they don't have to worry about religously following rock steps, or get them to practice instant response to leaders' rock steps or both?
  8. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Actually the follower can choose to move her feet anyway she likes as long as she ALWAYS follows two rules...

    1. She allows her body to be moved by her leader.
    Not just going where she thinks he wants her, or even where does he wants her, but where he puts her.

    2. She keeps her feet under her and commits her weight to each step while staying connected.
    Her physical connection and full commitment to her movement allows the leader to know which foot she is on without having to look down, as well as able to leade her in any direction despit epossibly being on the "wrong" foot.

    Lindy Hop is not really about moves, but quality of movement. The definitive interaction between leaders and followers is the Swing Out, the leveraged tension and transition to compression and back, creating that elastic movement. Dancing in closed and mixing up your steps between step-steps and triples is fine... what you want to remember though is the leaders body creates the followers movement giving her direction, speed, and often time dictating how her feet should move when in closed position.

    You cannot replace any step-step with the swivel in lindy hop. The follower attempting to swivel on 5-6 of the swing out will most often lead to "disaster". More than worrying about footwork the follower should really stick to just starting on the right foot and letting the leader guide her. If she keeps her feet under her, commits her weight to the direction the leader creates, and keeps stepping she will find it much easier not to anticipate, there will be absolutely no need.

    This would be so much easier to demonstrate all of this stuff in about 30 seconds. If I was in the Atlanta area I'd do it for free. *sigh* Well her's to you and your lindy crew. Its hard learning from written instructions and videos... You might want to invest in the first few video's in Steven Mitchell's series. I haven't found any tapes that break things down as simply that don't try and force a specific "dance style" on you.
  9. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    "Starting on the right foot", that clears up a good bit of it. I just need more faith in them quickly catching step steps & rock steps as we learn it. Once I see them consistently catching the first step steps inward of a swingout, bring back in, etc, I'll be much less worried about the followers.

    I know I can start on the wrong foot and fix it immediately. They can too even though I worry about 'em not being able to.

    What I meant by swiveling on everything except triple steps were more like half swivels -- one foot at a time. Stepping swivels not the official 2-footed hard swivel.

    We will be learning a lot about Lindy Hop lead/follow sync once we're doing the swingout.

    Too bad we have two shows April 2nd causing us to have to spend our rehearsal time doing East Coast Swing... locked in that 6-count box of make it or break it rock steps. I like ECS, but this is a bad time to be drilling on it like we are.

    Yeah if you ever do come to GA, we're there!
  10. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    how does this relate to even some of the more simple drops and "excessive" leans? Or does that come from knowing your partner and working it out in your own time?
  11. funkyfreak

    funkyfreak New Member

    On an excessive "lean" or "drop" the follow still has to be connected (rule 2) and let the leader move her weight (rule 1). Also, on most leans and drops the follow doesn't lift both feet, so she can still control herself with them.

  12. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    I understand the importance of connection (it's the entire point!) but rule #2 clearly states that her feet are to remain under her... hence my question.

    I could be wrong but I don't think a follow could lift her feet during a lean or a drop-- her feet are the folcrum... if she could without falling on her butt it would be a dip or some sort of lift no? the weight would be distributed differently
  13. d nice

    d nice New Member

    A lot of it is them "letting go" of their pre-conceptions. Once the follower stops trying to step someplace, the leader can actually lead her either forward for the step-step, or back for the rock-step. Of course if the leader isn't leading it, then she has nothing to follow and it reinforces the idea that she has to do it herself.

    Ack! As a general rule the follow does not want her wait split between both feet unless the leader has initiated it. The swivels used in lindy hop and even in east coast have her wait on one foot, twisting her body at the waist which cause her base foot swivel as the other foot begins to step down.

    Well if I make it out that way anytime soon, I'll let you know.
  14. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The rules are in order of precedent. SO while as important as keeping her feet underneath her is... it is abondoned when it contradicts with number one.
  15. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Gotcha-- thanks
  16. alfborge

    alfborge New Member

    I'm pretty amazed at this thread. There are lots of good points from all over, and I enjoyed reading it all.

    To answer one of the earliest questions, "what makes a good follower":
    - I like followers that looks at me once in a while.
    - I really like followers that smiles at me once in a while.
    - I like followers that at the end of the song looks like they had fun dancing with me.
    - I like followers that don't anticipate my moves.
    - I like followers that hears the music and can help me hit the hilights.
    (If my follower hilights the music, it helps me to see the hilights as well, so that I can hit it next time :)

    The 4 first are most important, and they haven't been stressed earlier for some reason...

    What makes a good lead goes somewhat in the same manner:
    - He should be aware of the follower, look at him/her and smile once in a while.
    - He should take some time early in the dance to find out what the follower can do, so that when he starts doing fancy stuff later he knows pretty much what will work and what will only make the follower confused.

    I won't go into the technical details on leading/following since this has been covered very good by better dancers than me.

    So, to sum it up:
    - A good follower makes the lead feel like a good (and attractive) dancer.
    - A good lead makes the follower feel like a good (and attractive) dancer.

    Have fun dancing, and hopefully we'll meet at Herräng,

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