Sharing The Joy Of Dancing

THE BALLROOM DANCERS "FRAME" OF MIND


In partnership dancing, you have to change who you are. You are no longer a simple human being. You are now a much more complicated "two-headed four-legged animal". You need to understand how your other half becomes part of you so you can move as a single entity. Eventually you become the same mind and body.

The point of reference for the partnership is the common center of the "two-headed four-legged animal". This point lies outside each physical being but is in the center of the partnership. All of the "two-headed four-legged animal's" movements are related to this point.

The frame is the first ingredient in the melding process of becoming a single entity. Even though the frame is physically attached high on the partnership, the connection to the partner is at the physical center of the "two-headed four-legged animal". The frame defines each partner's space in the "two-headed four-legged animal" as well as communicating the inter-actions of the lead and follow.

The lady needs to feel what to do, not think what to do. By the time she figures out what to do, it is already too late. The leader is trying to make her movements as natural as possible. The lady should let her body do what it feels like it should do, not what her brain thinks it should do. Always go with your feelings. Sometimes these feelings are not natural to a person walking down the street. Some of the "natural" partnership feelings are learned or trained responses because of the four-legged animal aspect of the partnership. This is what is called a "trained" dancer. The lady should also think of participating in the lead or adding to the lead instead of reacting to it. For example: She leverages off the lead and adds power to the movements. The lady should not move to a specific spot in response to a lead. She must continue to move until her other half causes her to stop through the leader's frame and body torque.

The leader must be aware of his other half and accommodate her actions based on what he is trying to lead. Basically, the lady can only feel what is happening through the supporting leg of the leader. Moving a foot or leg without weight is almost undetectable by the lady. The leader must know precisely what he wants the lady to do in order for the lead to be effective.

The leader has to accommodate the momentum created by his other half. For example: If you lead an underarm turn, the lady adds power to the turn by leveraging off of the lead. In addition to the added power, she has also created body momentum. This means that the leader has to back off the lead sooner to compensate for her added power and to control her momentum. When the lead stops, the frame and the man's body mass has to gracefully stop the lady's movement at the proper spot. The goal is to have each person control their individual movements based on the other half. Using the other's power and adding to it can achieve this. One of the biggest problems is the man's "over leading". The lead is so much more subtle that most men expect.

As you can see, the lead is a combination of connections, actions and movements (of the two-headed, four-legged animal). Ultimately the whole body is involved in the leading. I like to think of the lady's actions in the partnership as being part of the lead or embellishing the lead. The thought of following or reacting to the lead implies that the lead happens first then the follow happens second. The goal is for them to be happening at the same time.