Discussions on following

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by elisedance, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    To me, hard work does not mean stress. I guess that's the distinction between our two points of view.

    I had a world class coach tell me that after her best competitions, her abs were always really sore. I'm assuming that was from all of the hard work she was doing with them. She felt that soreness indicated to her that she had danced well.
     
  2. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Well, in my case, I think I was told to do less because my partner wasn't doing enough. Now that my coach deems him "ready", boy was she on me the last lesson to do more:) But her telling me to do more was accompanied by instruction on how to do more and when I tried to do more and was successful at it (probably about 40% of the time right now), the dancing felt easier, NOT harder, for both me and my partner. I was less out of breath, NOT more:) I hope that when it's closer to 100%, it'll be even easier.
     
  3. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    This is probably true, re the distinction;)

    My coach also tells me that soreness is good because it means you are working your body. I would just say that it's not *hard* work because it doesn't involve stress;) Plus, I would guess she didn't have soreness or pain WHILE she was competing which would indicate to me she was working too hard...
     
  4. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    My coach always tells me that if I'm not sore, I'm not doing my maximum, and therefore not doing enough.

    I'm ALWAYS sore the day after a competition. Much more so than after practice. I guess this has something to do with me pushing my limits even more than I can in practice, usually without realizing it, with the help of the adrenaline.
     
  5. pruthe

    pruthe Member

    When I dance with my female instructor, it feels like she's not there. Just a slight pressure on my right side as if hand lightly pressing there. Also very light connection through arms/hands. She's extremely sensitive to my leading movements. Working to heighten my own awareness of what I need to do.
     
  6. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    I have been told multiple times by different very well-respected coaches that I am too light, especially through the hands. They want to feel me there more. Interestingly enough, I usually hear this from female coaches.
     
  7. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    interesting. i know my instructor wants to know where i am, doesn't like the sensation of "it feels like you're not there". but being heavy is an altogether different matter... when my frame is strong & my presence clear, i know i am my lightest & things work best...
     
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yeah, when I was playing around with standard, that was one of the most common things I kept getting dinged on--not being enough into his right hand and not having enough connection through my right.

    Part of it was discomfort and inability to hold that sort of frame on my part, the other part is that it just felt so...weird! I'm just not used to having that sort of connection, and it felt so wrong to me. Without fail though, when I was thinking to myself that it couldn't be good, that I was way too heavy in his hand, and pushing back against him way too much...that's when I'd get a positive comment on my frame. Drove me nuts. Couldn't freakin' stand that feeling...hated it.
     
  9. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl New Member


    I agree, too. In some of my most memorable dances, I could describe it as feeling like I was being led by a ghost, the feeling like I was being directed by a presence that was definitely there, but that I was almost unaware of on a conscious physical level because he didn't impinge on my motion or freedom in any way. I'm not sure what metaphor other than "ghost" could describe that. (I think, ed, that you described a simiolar feeling, maybe in the lead-creates-space thread.)
     
  10. Laura

    Laura New Member

    As another data point, on some issues I'm told to do MORE and on others I'm taught to do LESS. The MORE things go to the point of my physical limits, the LESS things go to the point of feeling like I'm not doing anything at all. And of course this is all a result of where I'm starting from and the corrections I have to make.
     
  11. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I agree - but only to a point. A sighted person can describe an elephant to another sighted one and I am quite sure that a blind person can describe their concept of elephant to another blind person. From previous threads and practical experience a leader seems to be able to describe leading to another leader. Whats so fascinating with this thread is that the followers are able to discuss following. This probably sounds strange to you since it is not about steps, swing, sway, rotations, even ballance or any other mechanical aspect of dance but about connection, sensation, motion, space - in essence, the language of the follower.

    I am wondering if we are actually broaching some novel ground - if not in the general world of ballroom at least in how we talk about it on DF. Perhaps the next time we discuss the mechanics of a step between the expert and valued leads here, they may invite input from the follows as to how this relates to thier end of the partnership. If so I think we will have made some considerable progress.
     
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Huh. Something makes sense.

    I can't say as I've ever felt that in ballroom, but I've felt something very similar (I think) in AT. I describe it as never having felt a lead. In fact, at first it's disconcerting because it feels like there is actually no lead coming from my partner at all, and I tend to panic about what to do until I realize that I'm already doing it. It's the most bizarre feeling in the world. It's like I'm reading his mind, so there's no "leading and following," but just the two of us miraculously choosing to do the same things at the same time.

    Unfortunately, I've only ever felt it from two leads. And I have no idea what I felt like as a follower on those occasions, or how to make it happen.
     
  13. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I get that too at times, and sometimes it's because I've slightly dropped my shoulder blades down and back rather than keeping them with my upper back and sides and projecting the whole assembly up and forward. By doing this I keep the energy flowing through my arms and into my hands.

    When I started dancing I was very self-conscious about my body size and shape, so I always focussed on being as light as possible so that no man could ever accuse me of being heavy and difficult to move. But I can go too far with this to the point where I'm avoiding the required contact and energy exchange for a Standard dancing couple. One can be light with great activity (like the Lyn Marriner example) or light and just not "there" (as I can be). There has to be some "there" there for the dancing to really happen, I think.
     
  14. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    To me a ghost is a non-sensile being that I can not communicate with. Thats the essence of my objection to the term. As a mechanical description it is terrific - the partner provides no resistance at all but is always just there. Is that all we are trying to do with dance though? Or by looking for a 'deeper' meaning are we just attributing to a dance maven something he never intended? I'm not sure what the best analogy is - I'd rather use ballroom dancing as analogy for other activities since it may be the most perfectly developed form.

    Lastly, on this point, when you watch championship dancers do you get the illusion of a dancer and their ghost? If I saw that I would turn off instantly. I get the illusion of lovers, the romatic era of lovers - the man approaches, the woman demures, the man withdraws the woman chases after, etc etc. At least for standard, these are the sensations and emotions that characterize the dance for me, the ones (with my limited talents and skills) I strive for - and the ones that I die for in professional dancing. Indeed, at our socials I often prefer to watch old married couples express their love through their humble step-to-step dance than the polished competitors droning through their routines with their ghost partners.
     
  15. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Yeah, I think partly because the leaders have shut up and let us talk to each other about what we do and feel :)

    General ballroom world, not new -- I talk this way to my teachers all the time (which is another reason why previous discussions on DF would frustrate me so much: I could talk to my teachers this way, but if I tried on DF I'd be cut off by technical minutae or told I was just plain wrong). But for DF, yes, this is new and we're going in a great direction.
     
  16. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Yes, exactly, I've felt this in Standard, it's the moment I live for in dancing. That feeling, along with the panic, is the whole "about to go over the big drop on a roller coaster" thing that I sometimes mention. I do my best dancing when I get to this point. Every so often my teacher will put on some music that we both like and we'll just kind of noodle around, and something great will happen and afterwards we can't even remember what it was, just that it was great.

    Probably wonderful.

    And that's what all my training in dance has been for the past couple of years -- improving mental and physical technique so that I can get closer to it happening so that it will happen again, for longer, and maybe more often. This is the addiction of ballroom dancing, for me.
     
  17. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    The "there" there, I think, is each person feeling each other's weight, not necessarily the other person's body - although obviously body contact also exists - but feeling like the other person is moving their weight from foot to foot all the way before moving to the other foot (a lot of the times it's described as rolling through the foot but I don't think it's a good way of describing it).

    In a sense, following to me is feeling where my partner's weight is moving and moving my weight in the same direction until I feel that his weight has finished moving in that direction and moved elsewhere. What happens when we struggle and things get hard is that one or both of the partners haven't moved their weight all the way to the end, absorbed it in their muscles and joints (not just leg muscles either but back muscles, ab muscles etc.) and redirected it to the other foot. When both people are balanced in their own right, then the partnership is balanced as a whole and the struggle isn't there to keep contact, to keep frame etc. How many times have we all been told that we look great when standing still, in frame, but once we move, everything falls apart? Well, I think it's because we don't know where our weight is at every point of the movement. We rely on each other for balance and then everything gets messed up. Once we take care of our own weight, of our own movement, the other person knows where we are but can dance their own body freely without us hindering them in any way. That's when it gets easy, that's when there is no struggle; I think this is what BI means about dancing with a ghost - there is a presence there (the other person's weight) but it's in no way a hindrance.
     
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    Why would you think it sounds strange to me ??

    I,ve had these conversations going on for over forty yrs !!!!!
     
  19. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Let me give you some background on Irvine, as it comes from his Autobiography. He was talking about how he was looking for a partner who was very very light and wouldn't weigh on or impede him in any way. He was describing to a friend what he wanted, and the friend exclaimed "what you want is a ghost in skirts." And then Bill met Bobbie, and that's exactly what she was. She had so much personal internal strength and power that she felt as light as air. Don't focus on the supernatural aspects of Irvine's metaphor, it's the absolute lightness and non-impedence of movement that is the key here. He could have easily said he wanted someone who felt like no more than a light breeze in front of him, or a cloud.
     
  20. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Sorry - I am sure you have - its just the way you put it - sighted/blind/elephants and all, just sounded like it :)
     

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