Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Strong Lead is not a Good Lead

Guys guys guys. I see it all too often: guys pushing girls into their moves. Overleading. Please understand the difference between a strong lead and a good lead guys. If you use your muscular strength to overpower your partner and force her to execute your moves, she'll follow. Some girls even like being manhandled, but make no mistake, that doesn't make it a good lead. The girl you are dancing with is your partner. Your equal. She's not your subordinate. You aren't her boss. She isn't your plaything. Please stop throwing her around like a Rottweiler throwing around a ragdoll. I don't ever TELL my partner what to do. I ASK her to do something but I always allow her enough wiggle room to say no. Your partner knows how to do the moves you are asking her to do. All you need to do is to communicate to her what move you want her to do, provide assistance when she needs it, support her so she won't go off balance, give her energy when she needs it, then back off and let her complete the move you asked her to do. Don't micromanage her. She knows how to do the move. Let her do it her way. Your job is to decide what to do. Her job is to decide how to do it.

The key to a good lead is timing and clarity, not strength. Understand the precise moment you need to begin your lead. Pay attention to her weight transfer. Her momentum and direction in combination with the foot she has her weight on will help you to pick out that precise instant in which to ask her to move. As a general rule, she turns to her right on her right foot and left on her left foot. There are certainly exceptions, like when you check her momentum to get her to turn opposite, but if you are just starting out, pay attention to this rule. It's great for the four cross body lead with turn moves. And it's generally those moves that the problem of overleading manifests itself. Practice your lead on those moves. Try to ask her to do moves and try to resist forcing her to do them.

Remember, a good lead is a well timed SOFT lead. I'll go into lead (and follow) a bit more later but for now I suggest you read my earlier article The Mechanics of a Good Lead.

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