1.3 On How Followers Can Help Beginning Leaders

Beginning men need a *lot* of help. And the best way their partners can help is to follow their lead, even if it's wrong, rather than "compensating" for a bad lead. This gives the leaders proper feedback. By feedback, I don't mean verbal criticism, but direct feedback in the sense of "I wonder what happens if I push this button?" If the leader doesn't lead or leads something other than what he's supposed to lead, the follower should not compensate and do the right thing despite his lead; she should do nothing, or whatever he *did* lead. This way he can clearly see which cause has which effect. If the follower compensates, she deprives the leader of this cause-effect feedback, and he'll never learn to lead properly. It's very dangerous to try to teach or offer unsolicited criticism. Unless you are *the* teacher, of course, in which you know what's appropriate. If you simply follow whatever is led, you are not criticizing. The fundamental question here is how can dancers be most helpful to their partners? I believe the general consensus is by dancing impeccably, to the best of their ability, and for followers, that means following to the best of your ability. One of the most difficult problems with beginning followers, from Tango to Lindy Hop, is that they don't follow. They don't dance with their partners, but rather observe the instructors and others, while holding on to, but otherwise ignoring their partners. It's very difficult to lead someone whose body is all twisted while she tries to watch other people. Or her feet. Sometimes I've been asked for verbal cues by a beginning dancer. If she instead tried to follow exactly what I lead to the best of her ability, I wouldn't have to compensate for errors that she might make and I could concentrate more on my own dancing.

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This file is part of the lead/follow FAQ list. These are articles compiled from the newsgroup rec.arts.dance by Mark Balzer. Html-isation by Victor Eijkhout, victor at eijkhout dot net. See also the Rec Arts Dance FAQ list Copyright 1996/7/8/9 lies with the compiler, the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

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