"Women Have No Choice But to do the Right Thing"

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Generalist, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    In social dances that's exactly what I try to do -- just go with it. Usually the follow doesn't know if she did what I intended to lead or not. Unfortunately in lessons the ladies understand if the pattern isn't executed, and in their mind it cannot be their fault because it's always the lead's fault.
  2. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    You know it and I know it- it's nobody's fault but the women who decided to jump into a class that's over their heads without learning the basics. The sad part is that there's nothing anyone can do about it.

    Those instructors are saying that because they're not teaching lead follow. They're teaching hopefully-synchronized his part, her part, and no technique at all for lead follow for the partnership as a whole. Also, this is where everyone says "You learn faster in rotation!" Bullshit. Rotation takes up more class time, so it's less for the teacher to do, and is more forgiving to scatter blame around. To these types of instructors, it doesn't matter if you guys get something out of the class or not, so long as you shut up and pay.
    Loki likes this.
  3. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Also (Yes, I actually thought about this awhile, and have another take on it, because nobody cares): Pardon my (typical of me) knee-jerk irritation at these situations. It's stuff like this that gripes me and gives group classes and their teachers a bad name as being secondhand lions of sorts. You have to understand what you're doing first, before you can lead anyone, experienced or otherwise through something. I don't get why people don't spend more time on the dynamics of lead-follow. It's literally relevant to everything in partner dancing, even choreography from the perspective that you have to act like you're being led through a routine, even if you already know it, and to do so, you can't overtly anticipate and preact.

    It doesn't matter how well somebody speaks fluent Spanish if I do NOT know ANY Spanish whatsoever; I won't understand what they're saying well enough to accommodate them, no matter how slowly, loudly, or plainly they try to speak to me in that language. If a follower doesn't know what even the "best" (by what criteria is a whole other thread- oh, wait, we already covered that one, Lol) leader's trying to lead because nobody's told her this action generally dictates this type of reaction, she's going to be lost. Nobody bothers to tell follows this, though.

    I wonder if it's the reverse concept of why some hospitals used to give men anesthesia for stitches, but not women, thinking 'women can take it, they go through worse in childbirth': Men can take the criticism and blame in dancing, but not fragile women? Seems screwy or skewy. Either way, it's wrong and it's annoying and people need to knock it off before they put on their fancy black teacher dance pants and go take someone's money and feed them this antiquated lack of personal responsibility.
    Generalist likes this.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    actually, I think what it does is make SOME men defensive and they end blaming the women annyhow, out of the defensiveness about it not working...

    as to rotating groups..I don't think it is as sinister as those instructors not caring...I think many people come to groups as singles,or would like to and so it is kind of hard to include them if there is no rotatation...not saying it is ideal but I also don't think it is a horrible thing....though I do think thatcouples who don't wish torotate should beable to stay out of the rotation if they wish
  5. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    IME, b/c l&f is demanding and difficult, although extremely rewarding, and takes time to learn and experience to teach. Although the super sekrit hidden magic to leading is very simple, it requires people to change their minds. Simple, but not easy. Yeah, that's happening.

    Or was that a rhetorical question?

    I beg to differ, here. I can get at least some of the gist of someone speaking a language I don't know, if I pay attention to body language and other cues; if asked for coffee in Urdu, pointing and grunting will get me to produce coffee. If I do the same in an Urdu-speaking country, I get coffee. Payment: the same; point and smile. Visual cues: read 'em and make it work. Same is true of following; if someone throws some utterly new thing at me, I'll react somehow, and make lemonade. But I have been taught to follow from my first dance lesson, so I am accustomed to a complex interaction of paying attention to body language and other cues.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    right...and I would even go so far as to say that once technique is well in hand between two people, lead and follow is simply a choice....and a very easy one if we allow it to be...but it is near to impossible to do lead and follow in a group where no technical proficiency exists...because if even one of those people doesn't know how to maintain connection, it won't work...
  7. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Most of our people will call ahead and ask "We don't have to rotate, do we? I came to dance with the partner I'm bringing (girlfriend, husband, etc.)," and won't attend if they have to. For our walk-in classes, it wasn't a problem, but rarely did we have unpartnered people, or if one showed up, they had no problem dancing by themselves or sharing with someone else. The ones that did left.

    On speaking Spanish, the operative word was 'speak'. If ALL you did was speak to the person without any nonverbal communication, to clarify. Many people for some reason don't understand these concepts. Also, even if they do point, smile, gesture, YMCA, etc., it will take far longer to get the result desired.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    folks can set any policy they want but I think a number of singles will normally be lost in short order with a system like that...I know that I would be less likely to return if that was the policy.....probably isn't a big deal if the clientele is well established and mostly couples but if it is more transient I wouldn't see how it would be the best business practice... while focusing on art and connection is great for an independent instrutor, I can see how it wouldn't be the guiding force for a studio owner....
    danceronice likes this.
  9. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Yep, it's why we try to have unpartnered-friendly classes, and then partnership-oriented groups, but most of the people coming into our class just don't understand that they don't need a partner even during rotation friendly ones. I think most people just don't want to do that, and 'want their own'. Another catch to all this is that I think some groups teach material better suited for "regular partners" of one another to dance- the mentioned groupings for example that seem really strung out and complicated, because there's an unmistakable connection between two people or a group of people who know each other's physical space and mannerisms well enough from regularly dancing with one another that at least "new" to the group singles don't have. When that is the kind of thing being taught to people who don't have any concept of finding that balance/sweet spot within a partnership, boundaries, etc. it's more frustrating. And business practices of studio owners... sometimes we're just the messengers. You know what happens to those, sometimes.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yes, I truly do
  11. tancos

    tancos Active Member

    Sorry folks but I'm a huge fan of rotating partners. I learn something new every time I dance with someone who is not accustomed to my lead. Besides, who wants to get stuck with someone clueless for the whole class?
    Sania, danceronice and fascination like this.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    No need to apologize for being a fan of rotating. It has long been proposed as the best way to learn. Any disadvantages are outweighed by the fact that you don't get stuck with a really poor partner for an entire lesson. This of course is best suited to people who dance socially, which means you will be adapting to a number of partners.
    freeageless, Sania and fascination like this.
  13. bookish

    bookish Active Member

    Around here we only occasionally have people request not to rotate. We accommodate them, but last time I think they ended up switching to rotating anyway.
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

  15. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I teach lead and follow from the very first class. In my beginning classes, the people who rotate always learn faster than the people who don't. Always. Unless they're not actually beginners, that is.
    freeageless and Larinda McRaven like this.
  16. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Well, my students are fans of not rotating, so we usually don't. It's not a 'never', but seldom. They're happy and keep coming back, so that's what matters. We tried rotating one time, and it was NOT well-received. I think it depends on the type of group class, too, and the type of "couples" in the group class. Maybe some of the people in the classes which rotate and also have "big long patterns" might have a chance to chill out and figure things out if they didn't have to rotate? Whatever works for each place, I guess.
  17. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I explain why we're doing it, and most people get it and rotate. a few don't, struggle, and usually give up. One time there was even a couple who wanted to learn reverse roles. I talked about how no one would be required to dance with the same sex, but explained that it was just dancing and not a big deal. Everyone in the class rotated, including men dancing with the male follower. I thanked then for their open mindedness, and it was all cool.
    Dancing Irishman likes this.
  18. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    I actually asked some of our students, and got a resounding "HELL NO", from people who freely, happily danced with other people at social dances and if needed, helped out in class with other people, instead of just their regular partners. The recurring answer is "I signed up with my partner, that's who I want to dance with." I guess in other situations, people don't care as long as they get to dance, which is a good thing, too, for dancing in general. It took me a while, when comparing our practices with others' to figure out which would/wouldn't work best for us, regardless of "but everyone else does it this way".
  19. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    This is an excellent way of putting it. The follow always has choices. But the bulk of the time, when the lead is clear, the follow is going to dance what the lead intended. If the follow went off on a tangent too often, it wouldn't be partner dancing. But note that there are plenty of places (some dances have more of them than others) where there is more than one "correct" choice, and there is nearly always room for styling variations -- choosing those is an important part of the follow role.

    And I've learned not to pay too much attention to rules that say "when there's a screwup, it's X's fault". Instructors often tell leads "when there's a screwup, it's the lead's fault" as a teaching tool; they're trying to get leaders to issue clear and un-confusing leads. But in the real world, it can be anyone's "fault", because both the lead and follow are human beings, and human beings make mistakes. It's how us humans roll. And anyway, I dislike the notion that "fault" has to be assigned... unless one partner is being deliberately obstinate, then when there is a screwup, the important thing is to figure out what happened and fix it.
    Hedwaite likes this.
  20. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    I always say that ideally, leading is an invitation for the follower to do something the leader's "inviting" them to do. Ideally, the leader can phrase his question so that it makes the right answer easier than the wrong one for the follower.

    We all know, though, that when two minds are involved, there are more answers than just one right one, or one wrong one, so improvisational skills are important, whether it's lead/follow, or choreography- which should also be more lead-follow-driven than it usually is, so that it LOOKS like you're both dancing together, instead of one person doing their part, the other doing their own, and they happen to be sharing the same dance-floor.

    Knowing A- which figures one can get from which signal, and B- which figures are the likeliest to utilize when and where based on the communication a follow is given is important.

    In the end, dancing isn't about blaming, it's about dancing, so the more time you spend dissecting something, the less time you actually get to enjoy dancing. It takes far less effort to lift and point a finger, though, than it does to settle and collect weight, rotate one way or the other, hesitate, etc. with your whole body being separated into different working parts.
    raindance likes this.

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