Blake Hobby recently gave a connection workshop at Hudson Swing Affair. She stressed that there are three types of connection: compression, leverage, and neutral and the type of connection may change throughout each pattern.
A similar concept that I was just introduced to is thinking of the dance as green light, yellow light, red light. Basically they broke the dance into three parts. Go, do something, and stop or leverage, neutral, and compression. So every part of the dance falls in those elements and doing something beyond the basics in each section.
I think it depends on what you are leading. For example, if you are leading a basic pattern like a left side pass, this should present the follower with a window of opportunity to improvise. However, if you try and control the distance she travels or the timing that she uses you limit or remove her opportunity to improvise. In this situation, I feel it is better to initiate her movement and allow her to dance and potentially improvise. On the other hand, if you are leading something that requires a specific variation in timing or a larger or smaller step than normal you must lead that. In this situation, you are leading a specific pattern you have in mind that most likely does not provide the lady an opportunity to improvise. I have discussed this in lessons with top professional ladies and they said they do not like to be over lead. They prefer a clear lead but also a lead that gives them freedom to improvise within bounds (my choice of wording).
Edit: I think the above applies not only to top professionals but to anyone beyond the begginer level.
I think it depends on what you are leading. For example, if you are leading a basic pattern like a left side pass, this should present the follower with a window of opportunity to improvise. However, if you try and control the distance she travels or the timing that she uses you limit or remove her opportunity to improvise.
I don't agree, or maybe we just don't understand each other.
When leading the partner, I don't control her. I indicate where she is supposed to be going, and how fast, but she goes there on her own free will. That means I have decided where she should end up, but she still has plenty of opportunity to do what she wants on her way over there.
She can add styling and footwork, she can play with the rhythm, using hesitations and so forth, but basically she should be moving in the speed and direction indicated by the lead.
If she chooses to end up in a different spot, she will break the flow of the dance. That is OK sometimes, but that should be exceptions, not the general rule.
Of course, but if she is not moving as you initiated, she will break the flow of the dance. If she is moving as you initiated, it is you who decide where she goes and where she ends up (but stopping her movement, turning her etc at the proper time).
All patterns gives opportunities to improvise, but within the limits given by the pattern. If the follower improvises by going in a different speed and direction than what is lead, then partner dancing will stop working as a partner dance.
I have discussed this in lessons with top professional ladies and they said they do not like to be over lead. They prefer a clear lead but also a lead that gives them freedom to improvise within bounds (my choice of wording).
Of course. As I've said in previous posts, deciding where the partner ends up is not done through force, but by leading her there. Leading is done by indicating speed an direction, but it is the follower who transports her self there.
that means I decide where the partner ends up. But it is up to the follower to follow the lead, if not she will not end up where I wanted.
I can add force, I can place my partner in a certain spot by moving her there, but that is only done in certain situations. Like a particular move that requires it, or to avoid crashing on the dance floor etc. A partner can likewise not do what is lead, for a certain kind of improvisation, hijacking or avoid crashing. But in general, the leader decides where the follower should go, and she goes there, ending up where the leader intended, on her own free will.
Taking this back to the topic, I don't think drifting should be tries corrected by the follower thinking "longer steps" or "shorter steps". The follower should simply follow, taking steps to match the speed and direction given by the leader. Then it is the leaders job to decide if the couple travels on the dance floor, or not.
(Another job the leader has is to be in the right position for leading. If the follower is not ending up where expected, the leader should compensate and move with the follower, so that he will be in a good position for continuing the leading. Any advanced leader dancing with a beginner follower will do this constantly. )