You know that dancing calls for two people—one leads and one follows. It’s true that leaders have a lot of control in the dance, and that they must be strong sources of command in steps. The follower is just as important. In order for the two to move gracefully together, the follower must be able to do more than be lead. That person must be secure in the steps, strong in form, attentive to a lead’s movements, and flexible enough to move with changes in the dance.
A lot of people have to work at this. In their everyday lives they work to stay in control; following in a dance calls for some control, but also letting go. It is a combination of the two and calls for practice. After all, the person following is doing almost everything that the leader does, but with added spins and turns, or even dancing backward. Just because it is called following doesn’t mean that it is easy, but it can become second nature to you with some tips and plenty of practice.
Maintain a Strong Frame
Just like the leader, a follower must have a strong frame. If the leader has a weak frame, it makes staying in connection and sensing movement more difficult for the follower. If the follower has a weak frame, it harder for the leader to hold on, stay firm, and serve as a physical guide in movement. You do more than follow when you’re not the lead; you help both of you stay connected and strong.
Avoid “spaghetti arms” and keep your back straight. Imagine you’re connected to your partner with an invisible string tied at the chest and core, and keep that core firmly tucked in.
Learn to Let Go
When you’re in the early stages of learning, you will make mistakes. You may have some insecurity and it will cause you to fumble. That is natural. It takes time to become comfortable with the steps. As you do, you stop thinking quite so hard about them. Then, you can let go.
To be a good follower in dance, you have to relax a little and let yourself be flexible to your partner’s movements. If you’re too stiff, or you think too much, you will falter more. It will also be harder for your partner to lead you when you’re stiff; your movements will also be rigid and spasmodic. A good connection to your leader is strong and firm, but adaptable and graceful. Two people “flow” together better when you, as the follower, relax and let the steps, and your leader take you.
Trust Your Leader
Finally, to let go and follow well in a dance, you have to trust your partner. Even if that person is someone you generally trust in life, trusting them in dance takes a little time and practice; it’s a different sort of trust. But keep trying and you will get there.
Learn to surrender and follow in a dance gracefully at Dance Passion Studio. We can help you stay strong, and learn to trust and let go for the most graceful dancing experience.