Swing Discussion Boards > When to learn to lead?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by blue, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. blue

    blue New Member

    I want very much to learn to lead... not so much because of shortage of leaders, more for the experience in itself. I very much like to follow, but I feel it is only half of the experience.

    I have done about 40 classes plus some (but not extensive) social dancing. I have a brief fear that I might confuse the steps, if I start learning to lead to early - on the other hand I have heard that in some dances it is custom to learn both lead- and followsteps at the same time. You ladies out there who learned to lead, what kind of experiences do you have? Do you mix steps up and suddenly do strange stuff when you follow, or is it no problem at all?
  2. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    It rarely causes me a problem...I started learning to lead about 3 months after I started dancing. Just worry about the basics to start with and you should be ok! I think it would be really good for you as a follower to learn to lead a little.
  3. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Way to go blue! :cheers:

    Confused, getting mixed up? I find that if I do a dance equally as a follower and leader I can do both equally well. However, when I do one more then the other it takes a while to adjust from one role to another. So might have one bad song and then be okay after that.
  4. suek

    suek New Member

    Some of the realizations and things I've learned since beginning to learn to lead:

    Keeping them separate isn't difficult, as leading and following are two entirely different things (look 'em up!), I'm using MerriamWebster.com here:
    to lead to guide on a way especially by going in advance
    to follow to go, proceed, or come after
    So it's simple. when I lead I go first, when I follow, I wait to be led, moved.

    Of course, I'm focusing on leading dances where much of the footwork is the same for lead and follow: balboa and blues. I admit that I have a tougher time leading when the lead's footwork is entirely different than what I do as a follow in the same dance. I still think if one is obeying lead/follow it'll be simple to stay inside the role one is currently doing.

    When I started leading I discovered that many (too many) follows don't wait! I actually found myself begging them to let me lead. I have since thanked leads a million times; I get it now that it's so difficult to lead!

    One thing that still challenges me: floorcraft. As a follow I don't worry about it much (if a collision is about to happen and it's in my lead's blind spot I'll say or do something). I put almost all my attention in my leader, the music, our connection. Finding a balance between doing that when I'm leading and being on top of what's happening on the floor (keeping my follow safe) is hard hard hard.

    That's all for now. Off to dance classes.
  5. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I've especially gotten that in WCS. When they rush the lead on 1, I push back slightly against their hand and look at them with a subtle look on my face (at least I hope it's subtle!) of "where do you think you're going?"; that usually stops them.

    Then on the locked whip when it feels like she's going to rush the lead and start back before 5 while I'm still behind her, I subtly press the heels of my hands to her shoulders holding her in place (the hands are already there anyway). I haven't discussed that trick with anybody else so I don't know whether anybody else uses it.
  6. blue

    blue New Member

    Nice to hear encouragement... I thought I would get both, encouragement and warnings. Plans on learning to lead are put on ice for a while, but I will get back to them.
  7. Sasashay

    Sasashay New Member

    DWise1 wrote:

    How about when the lead rushes the lead on 1 (like when the follower hasn't finished her anchor step, and is yanked forward), do we also have the option of giving him our not so subtle look of " what do you think you're doing, please listen to the beat of the music!!! :roll: :wink:
  8. jon

    jon Member

    That works - unless a misbehaving follower then decides to tunnel out under your right arm, rather than stay put against the resistance :)
  9. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Isn't that what the icy-cold glare is for? If he's been married for any appreciable length of time, he should respond immediately -- unfortunately only with a "what did I do wrong this time?" puzzled look.
  10. swinginstyle

    swinginstyle New Member

    I say just go for it. Especially start leading someone who is understanding and has a good attitude. Try to be confident. The leading skills will come with time and practice.
  11. Sonia in Aalborg

    Sonia in Aalborg New Member

    We often end up with more girls than guys at our lesson, so I've been trying to lead girls sometimes coz I always end up being asked to dance the guy's role! :) Don't complain because it really gives me an insight into the lead and I can help other beginner guys if I get the steps right that is! :wink: But I want to try leading other girls during salsatek too because I've realised that very often there are only a few guys dancing and lots of us girls sitting out waiting to be asked. Sheeesh! :shock:
  12. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Certainly I'd encourage "gender bending" with leads learning to follow and follows learning to lead. It gives someone an idea of the timing of leading and what amount of force is used to communicate the lead.

    But believe me, I enjoy watching girls leading other girls in salsa. It just makes me want to join in, and I'm sure if you both look good, you'll get noticed by a lot of the salseros... :ladiesma:
  13. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    The suggestion of the "look" is a good one, though not effective if the leader is looking down at your feet (which quite a few leaders tend to do). Besides don't assume every leader is or has been married to understand that stare. ;)

    Now I'm no expert in following in WCS, to know what to do dancing-wise, but the most effective way to tell your leader not to jump-start your lead on 1 is to just tell him, don't yank me forward on 1.

    If you like being a drama queen, faking an injury to your shoulder may also do it. :)
  14. Sonia in Aalborg

    Sonia in Aalborg New Member

    Ahhh! So if I really could do my stuff as a lead I could get the advanceros to contemplate dancing with me? Interesting.....given the fact that these days I would try just about anything (besides skimpy clothes) to get asked to dance! ::)
  15. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Well, salsa has a nice advantage that you can do shines (and you CAN do anything without a "leader). So if you wind up dancing with a salsera with a similar level of frustration that she isn't asked to dance a lot by any of the men in the club, and if you both like to "let it loose" on your shines... oiy! I don't think you'll ever have problems being asked to dance again... unless the male dancers really would rather watch two women slinking with each other. (Even if the men are dancing, there will be times when they should be doing shines if they so feel like it. It's during these times when -- I admit -- I tend to have a "wandering eye". That's at least why at least when it comes to other dances that I do, staying in frame in contact with the partner makes me focus on that one partner during the entire dance.)

    Of course, the skimpier both your clothes are, the more notice you'll get. If you don't like wearing skimpy skirts, wear a top that shows your belly button at least.

    As it has been told by many a teacher, don't hesitate to shake your assets if you want to raise some interest. (Oh THAT can be taken a number of ways. :) :banana: )

    NOTING where this post is filed (under swing): Unfortunately, maybe it's my experience but two women dancing lindy with each other is always perceived to me as "two women having a fun time with each other" rather than when it happens in salsa ("damn, look at those two hot women!"). Of course, that's not to say I don't notice when two women are dancing lindy with each other either.

    Definitely when I and my other male friend (who follows) dance WCS together, we draw a lot of attention. I think one friend commented after watching us both dance WCS (to "Cream" by Prince), "Someone blind me!"
  16. Sasashay

    Sasashay New Member

    DWise1 wrote:

    Yes, I know that puzzled look of "what did I do wrong this time?" very well, even from men who have not been married for appreciable length of time :lol: :!:

    etchuck wrote:

    No, I'm sure that any leader who's ever had a girlfriend understands that stare also :wink: :lol:
  17. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    I was at a Frankie Manning workshop once and one of my friends was talking about their being to many women ut dancing, and that she didn't get to dance much and wondered would she should do. I sugested asking Frankie, and she did.

    "Well, if there are a couple of ladies wanting to dance, they should dance together. All the fellas are going to want to get between that! You'll get asked to dance a lot."

    In my opinion everyone should learn both sides because they are markedly different skills. In particular I think it really helps the followers to realize how challenging leading is, especially for new leaders. The opposite is also true, of course, following (ie not anticipating) is very challenging as well.

  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Frankie Manning sounds like an interesting character! 8) :D
  19. blue

    blue New Member

    He is.

    I have a feeling that some of his advice might be a bit outdated, though. Not sure if this one works in the 21st century, not in the way he suggests. But as it is probably better to be seen dancing than not dancing, it might work anyhow?
  20. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I think that the guys who are jerking you off your feet won't even notice the stare...those are the guys are keep forgetting they have a partner! :)

    I was at a WCS lesson last saturday, taught at a ballroom dance in the bay area. The teacher did a good enough job, but the guys wouldn't give me any space! we were starting in open position so I'd set myself where I belong, and they'd creep up on me. So I'd back up hoping they'd take the hint, and they'd creep up on me again! *sigh* then, both steps he taught had a spin for the girl and then anchor...I'd come out of my spin, and the guy would be chasing after me all the way through the anchor. And I wasn't running away from him in my spin, either--I was right where I belonged! *sigh* Well, one of them told me I spin like a goddess (he wasn't one of the above offenders), so that made me happy. :lol:

    At my studio, club dances are taught by club teachers. We have a real, honest to goodness lindy teacher, a couple of wcs teachers (ie, were trained by wcs teachers and competed in wcs), a salsa teacher. Night club two step and hustle are taught by the wcs teachers. As a result, our dancers do pretty competant club dances, in the style and flavor in which they were intended. I've noticed that dancers at other studios, particularly this one last saturday (being freshest in my memory), seem to learn their club dances from strictly ballroom teachers. They tend to hyper latinize their club dances...overdone lines, arm styling etc. I was watching this one couple that I wanted to slap and explain night club two step to them...it looked like a charicature of international rumba done as night club two step. You had to see it to believe it. And they were SO proud of themselves. They also did this weird samba/salsa thing to a samba...I wondered if they were aware they were dancing together. Totally disconnected, each doing their own thing.

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