In the past two weeks, I covered the benefits and challenges I found in learning to lead, after dancing as follow for several years. My friend, Simon, has been learning to follow after dancing as lead.While he expressed having similar experiences to me, I interviewed him to better understand his perspectives.
Why did you learn to follow?
To get a complete understanding. I have taught a bit of dancing, and was aware that I didn’t know the follow’s half. It was a two-hour intro to 4-count swing at a Christian Fellowship Retreat with a follow also from Richard Powers‘ class.
So I want to get the complete picture. Half is sufficient to have a wonderful time. But it’s necessary to know the other half for a full understanding because they’re very different experiences.
Also, I had a guy friend that followed. That helps make it less intimidating.
What are the benefits?
Following is awesome! It’s a very different experience.
It’s easier to find the flow state and be swept up in the joy of the experience. As a lead, you can find the joyous flow state, but because you’re planning ahead and avoiding collisions, it’s not as easy. As follow, you entrust these to your partner so it’s easier to be swept away in the joy of dancing.
Other benefits include having a sense of what it’s like to follow and leading better. I know what’s confortable or isn’t. Richard always points them out, but it’s much more effective if I experience it myself.
I got to compare how I lead to how I was led. It’s not easy to judge if I am doing a good job as lead. After experiencing others’ lead as a follow, I know the spectrum from good to bad. So I know I’m not as low as I thought or as high as I want to be. I also learn from good leads. Some guys change handhold just before doing something different, and that’s something I want to put into my leads.
Next week, we will cover the challenges, so stay tuned!