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Strictly come Dancing returns this year again in September. The celebrities are floating over the lovely ballroom the gents are leading like pro’s and the ladies are following the pro’s like a feather around the dance floor, like if they have danced for years. You can do this as well, we have selected 5 tips for you on how to become a better follower!
In generally in social dancing we want to score as many good dances as possible. Overall when people start dancing the followers will often try to “Force” a dance, they initiate the steps and leading themselves around the floor, and therefore most of the time ignoring the lead. But, smart followers will know that the fastest way is of improving their dancing. They try to focus more on the other half of the partnership – the leaders. Besides becoming a better follower based on the below tips you also will have more fun for yourself and your partner.
1. Asking the dance
Be polite….Many articles have already talked about this, but here is our vision: If you are in a class or social dance and you are asked by someone to have a dance we recommend to accept any and all dances from beginners or advanced dancers, men or women, old or young. Social classes and social events survive by ensuring that everyone has fun, and that means allowing everyone at least one dance. HOWEVER, you do not have to accept a dance with someone who you believe will be inappropriate or harmful to you in any way. If they come knocking, let them know you are taking a break, and give repeat-offenders a more direct ‘no thanks’.
2. Put your partner first.
It’s like this: If you don’t want your house to become a pigsty, you and your romantic partner must work together to keep it clean. Likewise, you and your dance partner each have your roles to play, so that you can both have fun while putting forth the effort needed to sustain the partnership. For a follower, this means paying attention to your leader and responding quickly, so they can lead you into more exciting moves. After all, if you aren’t willing to work with your partner, why are you dancing with them in the first place?
3. Stay alert.
Stay alert and focused as a follower. A follower who tenses up at a step she hasn’t seen before is in for a tough time for the leader during a dance. The biggest challenge every follower faces is being able to respond to the unknown as quickly as possible. Two things have to work together to make this possible: muscle memory, and a blank mind. Muscles gradually learn to react to the patterns of movement over time, so even if you weren’t prepared for a lead, you still react in the correct way. Quieting the mind is just as important however, so it doesn’t interfere with what the muscles are doing. Practice meditation, put all your mind into the connection, distract it with math sums, whatever it takes.
4. Style, but make it compliment your partner.
For more experienced followers only! If you want to add your own styling, you must first know it will not interfere with your leader. For example, if the leader asks for a basic underarm turn by raising his left hand, you can likely add styling with your left hand on the turn until you face him again. Other forms of styling – body rolls, shaping, syncopated taps and flicks – have specific places where they can be executed without smacking someone’s butt by accident. Stay alert for the unexpected however, as a less experienced leader may give you less ‘room’ for styling than others.
5. Never hang on, and never let go.
What do we mean? Basically, it is up to the leader to create the body connection (holding the arms up, offering a hand etc., or to release the connection. However, a nervous follower can easily fall into the trap of ‘hanging on for dear life’. The other thing could be that the follower is predicting the moment when they are supposed to take their hand back – and in doing so, they miss the cool move the leader was about to send their way!
Want to learn know more? Try a dance class today and you can apply the above tips!