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BALLROOM DANCE LESSON
LEADING & FOLLOWING, PART 1: OPEN POSITION
1. In a nutshell, leading and following is a process of effective
A leader best communicates his intentions by the direction
of his own body weight, through connections which are clear and free of
distractions. Leading and following through a complex set of codes and signals
is ambiguous and error-prone.
2. When taking a basic one- or two-hand connection, the elbows
should be slightly in front of and outward from the hips.
They should neither be extended too far away from the body,
nor contracted in too tightly. The forearms should be extended straight
forward from the elbows, parallel to the floor.
3. A good connection is something that transmits a signal.
Normally the direction of the body is the actual producer
of the signal.
4. Which is considered acceptable positioning of the hands? Hands
A cupped position of the hands enables them to connect
through either push or pull, without the need for gripping. Spreading the
fingers apart weakens the connection, while squeezing with the thumbs is
unnecessary and restrictive.
5. Push and Pull is an action of the body weight.
Push and Pull describes a sensation which is a result not
of an action of the hands and arms, but of the direction of body weight
towards or away from a connection.
6. When the leader sets his weight forward in a "push"
connection, the follower should reciprocate with equal push.
The follower should respond to a weight connection with a
weight connection, and to a movement with a movement. The follower should not
respond to a push or pull connection with a step in any direction.
7. The arms should react to a "pull" connection by maintaining
the same position.
Although a certain limited degree of flexibility is not a
bad thing, one must be careful how much they allow the arms to extend and
contract. In general, the arms should not be too affected by the push or pull
tension running through them.
8. Which weight connection is used most frequently to lead the follower to step backwards?
A push connection is normally established prior to leading
the partner into a back step (although in theory, either push or pull could be
9. Which weight connection can be used to lead the follower to step sideways? Either
push or pull.
Side steps can be led with either connection, depending on the context.
10. True or false: When leading oppositional movement, the
leader should use his arms instead of a weight connection. False.
When leading oppositional movement, the leader should use a
slight impulse through the arms and hands in addition to, not instead of, a
weight connection. As always, the weight connection must be established first.
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