It takes two

Here Espen Salberg gives us valuable information about successful partnering and how it takes two
Espen Salberg, Picture curtesy of Yuji Yoshii ©

Written for BASE (Body for Artistic Standards of Excellence)

Most of the Lead and Follow systems in Latin American dancing are based on 3 types of leading categories:

– Physical Lead
– Shaping Lead
– Allowing Lead

Common for all categories is that you connect with your partner either in a dance hold frame, in a hand to hand hold or in a shadow position hold, where the leading partner has one hand on the partners same hand and the other hand on the partners body.

The Physical Lead is the category most used according to percentages, because Latin American dancing/choreography most of the time is danced in Open position.

The dancers,who are both using Latin American dance actions/ body movements, therefore need to understand how 2 persons’ dance actions fit together through the leading system of a Physical Lead.

The opposing weight changes that develop in the process are more than often a reason for great complaint by the leading person, the man.

“She is too heavy!” is a phrase which we as teachers hear relatively often.

My reply to the complaining gentleman is, in many cases, that their sense of/ knowledge of how to time the lady’s weight changes, is far from good enough, therefore the opposing product that they intend to lead, results in a “surprise “ situation of their own doing.

It takes real knowledge to time a lady well. The most common problem is often the lack of knowledge of Timing and Beat Values.

The following recommendations are essential for a man to know in order to successfully use a Physical Lead:

1. He must know his own steps 
2. He must know the lady’s steps 
3. He must know the foot- and leg actions and the timing of these for both man and 
4. He must make sure that Foot-/Leg timings allow for body to body connections 
   through the Physical Lead
5.  He must understand how to connect the timing of hip-/ body actions used at that
    very moment, through the Physical Lead
6. He must have an interest and desire to time the Lady’s movements in a way that will 
   enhance the Lady’s female  product and presentation, and allow her to become a 
   major focus point in the couple’s dancing.

We have heard the phrase before,” The Man should allow the Lady to ‘blossom as a Flower’ within the couple- NOT the other way around!”

Partnering is a difficult topic,BUT an extremely important topic!
Many dancers give up whilst trying to study the Art of Partnering. This is of course a great shame, yet it is a way to separate “ The Men from The Boys!”

Successful dancers/competitors of today,all know that they can no longer be successful in Latin American competitive dancing WITHOUT the concept and knowledge of Lead and Follow and a strong sense of Partnering.

………and, and aren’t we all lucky that THIS IS A FACT!!!




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