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The Subtleties of Lead/Follow

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“The follow you just received was a direct result of the lead you just gave.” – Author Unknown

“Dancing is all about wordless communication – a light pull on a shoulder, a step forward and a shift of weight, a shared understanding of the music and how it moves bodies.” – Jasper Winn

The concepts of leading and following are what fascinate me most about partner dancing. It is amazing to me that one person’s body movement can affect the other’s response. The subtlety involved is astounding. I don’t know how to describe it to someone who has never experienced following a good lead. Most describe it as an art or a science.

Professional partner dancers, Dax Hock and Sarah Breck describe the feeling of leading and following on their website. Dax said, “There is so much psychology in partner dancing, and so many problems to solve and solutions to discover.” Sarah said, “I find the sensation of following like a roller coaster and I am hanging on with complete joy.”

When you watch any kind of improvised partner dancing, keep in mind that every movement is orchestrated by the leader. The follower must skillfully decipher the leader’s body movements to create a mutually positive dance experience.

Here’s a video of Dax and Sarah giving a social dance demonstration.

Their intricacies are incredible to watch.

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