7.10 On Followers Strongly Dancing Their Own Part

“*The follower should “go” when prompted. When the leader “indicates” a turn, the follower should be confident and go through the turn without having to be forced through the turn. Furthermore, the follower can step through the turn quickly, making the next figure easier to indicate because of the elimination of potential delays in sensitivity/response time.”

Followers should not complain that leaders are stirring or cranking them if they themselves are not doing the work of turning their own bodies. A “lead” is just that – a controlling, guiding signal, which the follower must “amplify” by supplying the impetus of the turn.

Followers, don’t let your arms collapse during a turn. This encourages the leader to stir or crank you.

In one of her workshops, Beth Emerson talked about how followers were usually taught to offer resistance in the arm when doing a spin and to always keep that arm in front of you. She said that the way they usually ended up implementing this was to become very stiff in the arm. This requires the leader to use quite a bit of force to get the follower spinning and that makes her more unstable in the spin. The next thing the followers may learn is to use her shoulders to give her some momentum in the spin. This helps, but what really works well is to learn to turn from the center of your body; learn to take the lead as a cue for what you are to do but then provide your own momentum from your center.

I like the way that Nicholos Cotton describes it. He talks about the man inviting the lady to turn (or to do anything, really). It is then up to the lady to turn or not to turn. If she does not accept the invitation, you don’t dance. Part of the essence of leading and following is for the man to make unambiguous invitations, and the lady to graciously understand and accept them. So the lady turns herself, but only upon the invitation of the man. This way, I don’t wrench her arm in a hockey stick, but I invite her to turn, she accepts and turns, and I then invite her to the next sequence, and so on.

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