Ballroom Dance > 10 Commandments for Leaders

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think in time this feeling will become more reflexive and start to have similarities with following in that you will automatically adjust to changes on the floor. Floor craft then becomes more of an art. Absolutely it can be fun developing floor craft, creating that arsenal of chess moves. In time the responses to most situations are instantaneous. Now in the case of social dancing with a partner you have not danced with much or is in their first few years of dancing, the tool set is going to be smaller, but there is still an art to using a smaller number of steps to great effect even then.

    Now this thread is really about what a good leader should be doing, and I recall Bobbie Irvine once seeing a man telling is partner how to follow him better. It was a somewhat heated discussion, and Bobbie told him: "When you can show her with your body, you'll be a true leader." And a good leader has a good feeling for what is possible both on the floor and with their partner. Moreover, they have a way with their body and actions where it is an enjoyable experience for both! :)
    chomsky likes this.
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I certainly don't think it makes you wrong...I am only noting what I percieve may have a few ladies somewhat irked by some of the own personal perspective is that I value your opinion but take it with a grain of salt just as you might take my perspective on on how to lead with a grain of salt...a person who doesn't have kids can know plenty about parenting, but not everything about parenting KWIM?...there are some things that leads like to wax poetic on regarding follows.... and there are some things that follows know about those aspects which most leads cannot easily fully, occasionally when a lead makes certain proclamations (however well intended and based upon truths), they may still not always be in proper alignment with the real experiences of many follows
    Purr and nikkitta like this.
  3. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    Speaking of judo, I was reminded of this post
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
    chomsky likes this.
  4. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Thou shalt use breathmints (and not gum, because you'll just chew it like camel eating taffy).
    Thou shalt use deodorant (but lay off the Axe).
    Thou shalt not crank hand-leads.
    Thou shalt not steamroller thy partner by leading with your upper body.
    Thou shalt not try to teach a freakin' lesson on the floor when your partner misses something you likely ballsed up.
    Thou shalt not groan aloud when it's Foxtrot Mixer Tiiiiiime! Thanks a lot, jerk. You're not exactly Gene Freakin' Kelly yourself.
    Thou shalt not try to reel your partner in closer than she wants to dance with you, regardless of "how the pros do it" (anyone remember the teenage boy "but that's not what happened in the pr0n I was watching" argument? It didn't work then, either).
    Disclaimer: There are plenty of follower commandments. Waiting on that thread.
    IndyLady likes this.
  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Ok, here's my personal compilation:

    If you're going to lead, lead. If you're not going to lead, then learn following.

    It is not your job to force your partner to move.

    Your partner is the primary means for expressing the dance. That doesn't mean that you don't play a role, but you have other things to do. (Corollary: Be seen, but ensure that your partner is seen too.)

    Floorcraft, damnit.

    Learn something about music. As lead, finding and hitting the timing is primarily your responsibility.

    When dancing with a less experienced partner, adjust your dancing to hers. Don't baby her, but don't show her up either.

    Spend some time learning at least the basics of the follow's role. You will find it surprising and enlightening.

    Gravity is actually your friend. Learn to work with it.

    Don't forget to dance your own part.

    When choosing partners, think about what you're there for. Young and cute does not necessarily correlate to good dancing.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    and this is why we love you, Cornutt....

    I would only add; "don't think that having been a follow on a few controlled occasions makes you an expert on following"...I would also add that if you are going to ogle a woman (overtly) you had better understand that she may not feel comfortable dancing with you in the roll the dice on that one
    cornutt likes this.
  7. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Lead with your body.

    Not with your arms. Or your mouth.
    cornutt likes this.
  8. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Floorcraft? What's that? I don't have to use it when my arm-styling is mowing others down on the floor.
    SwayWithMe and IndyLady like this.
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would say keep your arms connected to your body/center...otherwise, it really won't matter
  10. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Those are good. I should have thought to include them.
  11. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    Not This.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think you are agreeing with me (?)

    and, to clarify, if you move your body and collapse your arms, you may run her right over...she will never feel you heading her way....classic step on her foot, slam into her body, moment...and if you use your arms without your center you are likely going to get very tired and have limited success and she will still have trouble knowing what you are leading
  13. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Exactly. Your arms are there to transmit the lead, not to create it.

    Lead with your body not with your arms.
    middy likes this.
  14. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    Why... yes, yes I am.
  15. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    Well, no... not exactly.

    If your arms were down at your sides, could you still lead?

    If yes, than what role do the arms play in the lead? I would argue that they "frame" the movement. Set "boundaries" for the follow... At least that's my interpretation of lead.
  16. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Kind of hard to transmit the lead with your arms at your sides.

    "leading with your arms" means that you're leading by changing the frame, rather than moving the frame with your body.
  17. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

  18. vit

    vit Active Member

    Actually, Mirko Gozzoli explained in one DVD that he IS using arms to lead, because leading with a body isn't enough for more complex stuff. So arms have some active role in leading in upper levels of dancing, together with body, they are not only to transmit the lead

    However, leading with a body / usage of the body overall must be mastered first
  19. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Arms can move faster than bodies. When we move our arms faster than the lady can move her body we pull her off balance.

    While world champions like Mirko may have mastered the technique of moving his arms properly, we mere mortals should stick with leading with our bodies instead of our arms (see earlier discussion on this thread if you don't know what I mean by that).

    Currently I'm working my way into smooth & standard, and that's my desired approach to leading, though I don't always achieve it (hate when that happens, but there are lots of body parts to keep track of). OTOH, I have more experience at WCS, and have a notion of where the lady is and where she needs to go next. Compared to smooth/standard, I'm more inside my follower's feet and less inside my own. I do move my arms more in WCS. But even then, when I'm leading (initiating a movement of the follower), I lead with my body and not my arms. When I'm moving my arms, I'm following the movement the follower interpreted from my prior lead to maintain the connection so I can set up the next move. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    So maybe amend the commandment to be:
    Lead with your body, follow with your arms.
    OreganO and vit like this.
  20. Mengu

    Mengu Well-Known Member

    I think lead with your body is fine advice by itself, provided you really mean, the entire body.

    Isn't lowering, rising, swaying, also leading? How about I get in dance position, and then simply shift my weight from one foot to the other, and somehow my partner does it with me. Did I have to do something with my torso or my arms to lead this?

    I've been taught to lead with whatever the action calls for, chest, hips, arms, hands, feet, etc. It's not something you necessarily teach a beginner, but I don't think you need to be Mirko Gozzoli to do this. When I'm leading my partner into promenade, my arms and hands are active. Is it possible to lead someone into promenade with just the torso and broomstick arms? Sure. But it feels significantly more pleasant if the arms and hands agree with the rest of the shape, and indicate energy in the direction of movement.
    j_alexandra likes this.

Share This Page