In Mastering the art of leading article, I gave some practical tips to men on how to improve as a leader.
In this guide, I want to give you some pointers on how to improve as a follower.
The biggest misconception out there is that “you don’t need to learn how to follow”. That if you don’t follow something, it is because it’s the leader’s fault. This may seem true on the surface…He’s the LEADER, and you are just following… But in reality even the best leader can’t lead someone who doesn’t know how to follow. Yes, the leaders have a big job to do, but you have to do your part too. Both partners share an equal amount of responsibility in the partnering.
So the first thing is to recognize that you have to learn to follow and that its not always the man’s fault. Just like I suggested to the men, you should cultivate the mantra that “it is always my fault”. Whenever you miss a lead, think to yourself it must be “my fault”! Take full responsibility for not following the step, the turn or the timing you partner intended.
Even if it is not your fault all the time, this mantra will put the focus on improving YOUR following skills instead of blaming someone else. It is more a matter of an attitude shift than anything else. This very attitude will push you to work hard to improve your dancing.
Now for some practical tips…
5 practical tips to become a better follower:
1. Connect your weight to your partner.
How: Keep your elbows always in front of your body. Then, lean in forward into your partner’s frame. This will connect you to your partner and allow you to “feel” his lead clearly.
2. Don’t anticipate.
How: Pretend that you are a dumb “blonde” with no idea what’s coming up next. Have a clear head and only go when you feel the lead.
3. Don’t try to lead.
How: Even if in you are a take charge person. In dancing, you need to let go of being the leader and instead put your trust in your partner’s hands (literally).
4. Keep the timing.
It is your responsibility to stay on the beat of the music. Whenever you are led into something, you have to keep the timing on your own. It is not the man’s job to keep your timing…
5. Keep your elbow at 90 degrees for all turns.
This will help you stay balanced in your turns and make you look good too.
By: Leonid Turetsky
Mastering the art of leading: A guide
A guide to dance practice
It can be so hard to avoid anticipating the lead! I have heard that practicing for short times with eyes closed (and a trusted leader) can help a follower improve this. What do you think about this, Leon?
Yes that is a great idea! That way you really don’t know what’s coming up next…
Donna Long says
I think closing my eyes helped me to be a better follower. Try it. Good luck !!
Now all I need is a good leader! lol
As I am learning to follow, I find that I’m able to stay in the dance better with my eyes closed.
I agree RandR, that closing the eyes is a great way to really make sure the the followers wait and not anticipate the next move.