Throughout my 20 year career, I have heard so many women accuse the dance teacher of being sexist. I have even been accused of it too. Women have even accused other female dance teachers with the same slur. Unfortunately, I do admit that when dancing was introduced and Queen Victoria decreed that men should lead, I do believe it did come from a chauvinist attitude. So, how to follow in ballroom dancing when the world has moved on?
How to Follow in Ballroom Dancing – Strong Independent Women.
It’s undeniable that the world has moved on – although we still have a long way to go.
In dancing, I strongly believe that the man leads only because the lady is moving backwards most of the time. She therefore cannot see what is coming. This is why it is so important to know how to follow in ballroom dancing. However, we can’t take this quite on face value. The moves in dancing – what we call “figures” – have become so intricate that the lady really does need to know what she is doing to be able for the man to lead her. So you see, it really has become a partnership. A partnership in dancing could be defined as “two people working together as one to create a movement that is as close to perfection as possible”. This can only be achieved if the man knows how to lead and the ladies know how to follow in ballroom dancing.
How to Follow in Ballroom Dancing – Ballroom not Latin…
Now we have cleared up the leading and following argument, let’s now talk about the following aspects of ballroom dancing. Last week we wrote an article about how to lead in latin dancing and not Ballroom. In this blog, we will cover how to follow in ballroom dancing and not latin.
How to Follow in Ballroom Dancing – Step 1
So, as with the man, we need to achieve a good posture. Your weight should be over the balls of the feet, with the heels of the feet in contact with the floor. We’ve spoken before about how the men’s left-hand tilts slightly. The lady’s right hand must be firmly pressed to the man’s palm to create a seal between the hands. Don’t leave a gap! The wrist must be broken but not literally! This means there is a bend in our wrist. The lady must now feel she is pushing gently forward and upwards. This will increase your connection towards the man, ensuring you feel his movement through your shoulders. This is be step one in how to follow in ballroom dancing.
How To Follow in Ballroom Dancing – Step 2
Whilst the man is reverse karate chopping the ladies shoulder blade, it is important not to lift our left shoulder blade up as this will remove the connection and create a really ugly shoulder line. Keeping this shoulder blade down can sometimes feel like you are being heavy on the man. I promise you are not as long as you are keeping the responsibility to hold your own arms up.
Now, these two connection points that we talked about in the last blog have been achieved. You will now be able to feel the man’s movement much clearer than before. We must now complete the connection by moving our head weight to the left. Speak to your teacher for the correct position so as not to hurt your neck. We must also offer our left sides to the gentleman and he must do the same.
How to Follow in Ballroom Dancing – Final Steps
The last two steps are the hardest, especially learning to offer your left side to the man and keeping your head weight towards your left foot. Depending on how often your practice, this will take between six months and 3 years to perfect and that only if you keep thinking about it.
So not a lot to do, really! (an emoji of a shocked face would go perfectly here) However, although it seems a lot, the more you do it the easier it will become. Soon you will be able to feel what the man is doing much more easily. Ultimately your dancing will improve. Furthermore, you will enjoy your dancing more because when you follow or lead and it works, magic is made between two people!
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