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(www.twosteptidewater.com The Best smoke free Country & Western two step (2-step, Texas two-step), Ballroom, Latin (Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba Meringue), Disco (Hustle), West Coast Swing (WCS), Night Club two-step, Swing Dancing for all of South East Virginia (VA) or North East North Carolina beaches areas  (Norfolk VA, Virginia Beach VA, Chesapeake VA, Suffolk VA, Portsmouth VA, Newport News VA, Hampton va, Hampton Roads VA, Yorktown VA, Gloucester VA, Jamestown VA, Williamsburg VA, Hickory NC, and the beaches and outer banks of North Carolina (NC)

 

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          (01/16/2009 20:08 wh)

Lead and Follow Reaction Time in Dancing

Dance Tip of the week:

Lead and Follow Reaction Time in Dancing

Reaction time. This is an aspect of lead & follow that is seldom taught but a very important component to couples dancing. Reaction time affects both you and your partner and can be compensated for. The faster the dance, the more important reaction time becomes.

The first component of reaction time affects how your body changes direction; moves from being stopped; or stops from moving. Any new dancer to Country Two Step finds reaction time a roadblock in moving forward on a quick. The obvious solution that Judy and I teach is to move your body forward first. Thinking more about this concept we realize that while our feet are stepping to the beat of the dance our body is constantly and smoothly moving forward. If we absorb the reaction time needed to get moving in the first place with a forward body movement we also find that we must move our body BEFORE the first beat of music. This motion is made in anticipation of the first STEP. So, that by definition, the solution to overcoming the limitations of reaction time is to ANTICIPATE the STEP and move our body FIRST.

The second component to reaction time is thinking. (Don't laugh!)  The newer the dancer, the more thinking before moving. Thinking takes time and, thankfully dancing mostly involves repetitive skills and so called "muscle memory."  New dancers must learn to repeat patterns over and over until they can dance without thinking about the move in any way! Overcoming reaction time caused by thinking is easy. Dance more and the "thinking" moves to the background.

The third component is the reaction time of your partner. The leader has the responsibility to gauge how quickly the follower can react and move.  The leader must lead the follower BEFORE she commits herself to a move, a direction of motion, or a step.

Some "lead-able" moves are simple and follow the dance momentum. Others are complex and involve a change of direction. A situational example can be leading a lady in a single turn where she would normally turn twice. She needs more than a normal lead and a very finely tuned sense of connection to pull off a quick ending on that single turn. Most ladies simply "over turn."  Just as the leader must anticipate to overcome his partner's reaction time the follower must be paying attention. Some followers simply let the leader move them around the floor. The better followers develop a keen awareness of what the leads are telling her and then move there by themselves.  A lady has "achieved mastery" of dancing, when she has developed the ability to "follow" ANY good leader, without thinking, and having no idea what the leader is leading her into.

The bottom line is that reaction time is a very real component of dancing.  Be aware of it and overcome it with skill and practice.

Judy and I have developed an easy exercise for couples to use in becoming aware of lead, follow & connection. If you are interested come see us at our Sunday Social dance.


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Thought for a day..

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information.
~ T. S. Eliot ~

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(www.twosteptidewater.com The Best smoke free Country & Western two step (2-step, Texas two-step), Ballroom, Latin, Disco (Hustle), West Coast Swing (WCS), Night Club two-step, Swing Dancing for all of South East Virginia (VA) or North East North Carolina beaches areas  (Norfolk VA, Virginia Beach VA, Chesapeake VA, Suffolk VA, Portsmouth VA, Newport News VA, Hampton va, Hampton Roads VA, Yorktown VA, Gloucester VA, Jamestown VA, Williamsburg VA, Hickory NC, and the beaches and outer banks of North Carolina (NC)