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Articles of Interest » Beyond Lead and Follow

Beyond Lead and Follow

Jean Krupa

Beyond Lead and Follow- How to look like a Ballroom Dancer

The pleasure of ballroom dancing can be enhanced by the knowledge of how to guide the lady. A man may spend hours trying to perfect his golf or tennis swing, yet think nothing of struggling to get around the dance floor without discomfort to both himself and his partner. Dancing without flexibility in the body tends to be robotic and expressionless. The rhythmic quality of dance is what makes it the most fascinating of the arts. When dancers move with constricted movements, they lose the gracefulness.

As your dancing evolves, individual mannerisms appear that can distract and affect your dancing.

Some of these tendencies for men to avoid are:

  1. Holding the head down.
  2. Bending forward too much at the waist.
  3. Side-bending at the waist with each step causing a pump handle motion of the arm.
  4. Holding the left arm rigid.
  5. Hunching the shoulders or holding one shoulder higher than the other.
  6. Gripping your partner with the right arm so as to prevent her from stepping easily.
  7. Not holding her firmly enough for support.
  8. Leaning too far back.
  9. Dancing with continually bent or continually straight knees.
  10. Bobbing up and down with every step instead of gliding.
  11. Stepping from the knee instead of swinging the leg from the hip.
  12. Not allowing the knee to give softly when it receives your body weight.
  13. Not extending the ankle when stepping backward.
  14. Not relaxing the muscles of the thigh and hips causing a jerky motion.

While gentlemen may always dance in the same manner, the lady on the other hand must be able to adapt her style to fit that of whomever she is dancing with. Yet she too must avoid certain tendencies.

The most important tendencies for the ladies to avoid are:

  1. Looking down giving her an awkward appearance when stepping backward
  2. Failure to carry the hips forward giving her an awkward appearance.
  3. Hunching the shoulders.
  4. Not looking over the gentleman's right shoulder, which interferes with her ability to step straight backward
  5. Hooking the left arm under the partner's right instead of placing it lightly on his shoulder or bicep.
  6. Tensing the right arm and hand.
  7. Failure to arch the back and lift the chest.
  8. Bending back at the waist instead of lifting the chest and swinging the leg from the hip.
  9. Stepping with the feet apart instead of on a line with the knees held closely together.
  10. Allowing the foot to swing outward in a semicircle.
  11. Tensing the muscles of the thighs and hips which may cause the step to be taken before the man (not following).
  12. Sliding heavily instead of raising the foot slightly and gliding into place.
  13. Failure to wait for the man to lead the step.

The task of the man is to lead. The task of the woman is to follow. Social dancing with a partner must be a cooperative matter with both parties presenting an effort to make the dance an enjoyable one.