Teach Me How to Follow
Following is an art that deserves more time and attention in the dance classroom. The topic of leading and following is often introduced and brushed-off as a "take-it-or-leave-it" rule that's non-negotiable. So resistance is a common reaction from those labeled as "back-leaders" within the dance community. The reality is that the nuances of partner dancing is a foreign experience for non-dancers. Therefore, students often go through normal stages of emotions before accepting the natural order of partner dance.
On the other hand, we understand that it's not feasible for teachers to cover the nitty-gritty details of partner dancing in a 45 minute to 1 hour group class. Students are likely to feel overwhelmed by information overload. And to be honest, most students want to be spared the boring technical stuff. So we're stepping beyond the dance classroom to share bite-sized tips on how to master the art of following.
Here's our list in no particular order. Feel free to chime in and add your two counts to this well-needed conversation.
- Feel your power and just be. You are of equal value to a leader and need not overcompensate for your role. Being is enough.
- Study polarity and the dynamics of masculine and feminine energy. We all have both but following requires you to lean into your feminine energy.
- Respect your partner's leadership. Your partner is your complementary not your competition or enemy.
- Hang up your cape. If you mostly operate in your masculine energy, give yourself permission to be on the receiving end of the dance as a follower.
- Reverse roles and lead away. You might discover that the leader role suits you best or develop a newfound love for following. Switching roles can be humbling.
- Invest in private lessons. 1-1 lessons provide more time to focus on the nuances of partner dancing than group settings.
- Go to socials and dance with advanced and novice leaders. The dance floor is the best place to practice and make mistakes until you feel comfortable with leading and following.
- Carry your own weight in the dance. Leaders have a lot on their plate. Therefore, do your part and master your basic steps, timing and musicality.
Bonus: Enjoy your journey to connection and rock your favorite Lider x Falouer tee for motivation!