Encyclopedia > Lead and follow (dance)

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Lead and follow (dance)

In partner dancing, the two partners are labelled as the lead and the follow. Traditionally, a male partner leads and the female partner follows.

A lead controls the way the dance will go. He decides which moves or figures will be danced, and how to move the follow. The follow does what the name implies, and follows the lead. For the lead and follow to interact with each other, a connection must be established. More advanced dancers will take many cues from each other, and communicating feedback to the lead which he incorporates into his own styling and leads.

Beginning leads try to control 99% of the dance. Advanced leads try to control 51% of the dance. The follow styles her own moves as she likes within the parameters communicated by the lead.

Sometimes the follow steals the lead and they reverse roles. Advanced swing dancers do this (to enhance their dance connection and?) to add a little fun into the dance.

The Lead has different steps to do than the follow. The Follow generally mirrors the Lead's footwork. If the lead begins on the left foot, the follow will begin on the right foot. In choreographed pieces, tandem charleston and other situations where the follow is in a tandem or shadow position, the lead and follow will use the same footwork.

In general, the lead starts by moving his feet, which moves his body, which moves his arms and the rest of him. In general, the follow starts by being pulled with her arm, which leads (pulls or pushes) her body, which directs her feet and the rest of her. Leads must initiate every move 1/2 count early for the energy and motion to ripple through and affect the follow.

One goal of partner dancing is to move in ways that one dancer alone cannot.

Coping Skills: Free spin recovers from anything.

See Also

Dance - Swing - Lindy hop

Dance move - Basic - Sugar push - Side pass - Swing out - Circle - Groucho - Skip up - Aerial

Lead and follow - Connection - Musicality

To Do

Leading is a physical activity. The lead cannot think of the follow as a cute and delicate creature. He must think of her as a sack of flour that must be moved. Big and heavy.

The lead is not asking the follow to move. He is telling her. If she wants to choose, then she should lead.

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