Lead/follow

That was the subject of yesterday’s lesson in latin.

It was a surprise when I came in for it, but it was also good because it gave my body a bit of a break.  I had asked Boss shortly after my last surgery if we could do a lesson focused solely on that, and if we could go through a full step with it, but I never really got a full response.  He decided yesterday to do that lesson.

Lead/follow in latin is something I have been noticing lately watching couples dance, since I had a very basic lesson with Boss just before my surgery.  It’s about the movement of energy, opposition and active/passive resistance.  I have also heard it called ‘push-pull’ but I find that is quite basic.  It’s really about connecting energy to communicate with your partner. Since my initial lesson, my mind has been trying to make the pieces of it ‘click’ into place, but I was just missing one piece.  It was interesting that when I visualize my routines in latin, there is now a lead/follow aspect incorporated into it where I can figure it out.  I also realized yesterday that the lead/follow is where a lot of the dynamics in latin comes from as the couples use each other to give that extra ‘oomph’ to their movements.

The type of lead/follow I am talking about is beyond the leader indicating what steps to dance.  It’s is a constant flow of information between the leader and follower that not only directs the steps from the leader, but also tells the leader if the follower has completed the step, and where each part of the couple is in their own body movement.  It directs the steps and the body movement–the settling of the hips, the preparation for the step, the transfer of weight.

So, the tricky part as a follower is to figure out how to communicate that information back to the leader so he knows you are ready.  He also responds by providing information about his own body movements.  It’s not as simple as saying that when the leader pulls back, you pull back and when he pushes forward, you push forward.  There are a lot of subtleties involved and as I learned yesterday there are active responses (when the body is actually moving to a new location) and passive responses (when the body is moving while staying in one place).

In the end, I have to say it was pretty fascinating to work on.  It took a lot of trial and error–first just working on doing rocks forward and back together, and then working through a combination of open hip twist, fan, hockey stick in rumba.  There is a lot of information being passed in a short amount of time and if I don’t do my part right then it throws Boss’s part of as he doesn’t have the resistance he needs to complete his own movements.

Boss was definitely having fun with the lesson yesterday though.  It is very detailed and advance stuff we were working on, and that is one of the things he really likes about dance (me too, truth be known).  I won’t say I completely mastered or even got to the stage of executing with regularity, but the understanding is much higher than before and I can feel my mind starting to put the pieces in place.  I am optimistic this will become something my mind is able to put together subconsciously and will only need a few ‘tweaks’ for specific steps that are a little ‘outside the norm’.

We will certainly see!

Great Pro Latin Rising Star yesterday at Blackpool!! I was so excited to see two Canadian couples in the Semi-Finals!  Looking forward to today’s Live Stream!

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