Does the girl step before you step?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by smiling28, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    Hey team,

    Perhaps you could help me with a massive issue I am having (across dance styles).

    Now, this is an area where I value your opinions/expertise as I am looking to understand the principle.

    Lets pretend I have the technique mastered (no way, but trying to identify what technique I WANT to master if that makes sense :) )

    When doing a basic step (eg. salsa on 1)

    My understand was that on the 8 I transfer my weight and project forward indicating to the girl I am going to step on 1 (I lead with my body first and then my feet follow).

    So in that case, who steps first, the girl or the guy (guy moves his body first of course)


    *I do not have an issue with this as the girl is going backwards

    HOWEVER, the fun part

    on 5 with the girl stepping forward. Who steps first?

    Now this is affecting all my dancing as my understanding was that I would lead the step although the girl would power it so to speak so if at any time I stopped, so would the girl (but not her momentum of course).

    Thus, I can play with music, change direction because if I want to do something I can rely that she will not step before me.

    At worst, I am off time but she comes with me. At best, she is on time but I prepare before hand so the change flows in time.

    Eg. bachata basic.

    Eg. Zouk basic/Salsa basic (when guy steps back, I find the girl knocks her knee with me as she is stepping forward before I am (I have checked this when even dancing to a timing cd and the girl is moving through the 4.

    Any thoughts/ideas.

    MUCH appreciated :)


    *I know I have to work on my stuff, but just knowing the principle to work with would help a lot. Hope i have been somewhat clear :)
  2. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    I'm not sure if I understand your question...

    Shouldn't you and the follower be stepping at the same time, on the beat?

    I have been taught that as a follower (on1) I should keep stepping back on the 1 and forward on the 5 unless:

    - I'm led otherwise (including a lead indicating STOP);

    - I'm prepped to spin;

    - The leader is spinning or has his back to me.

    So I don't think you can blame the follower for stepping forward on the 5 unless you lead her not to do so *before* the 5. An absence of a lead means "keep doing the basic step".

    This I think is a crucial difference between salsa and tango (where the follower must remain in neutral position until led to move).
  3. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    Actually brilliant answer, that last sentence especially ;)

    Is this the rule? This explains A LOT he he :)
  4. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    also, how can I lead the girl to stop then and not step forward.

  5. Jag75

    Jag75 Shine Officer

    Here's my understanding (and what I use on the dance floor) -

    No matter what you and your partner step on the 123 567 whilst doing the basic and executing most moves (there are exceptions such as the t-stance where stepping doesn't explicitly occur). The steps must be exactly on time.

    I'll start the lead before the 1, and we'll both be stepping in harmony with the music - if I wish to get a girl to change direction I'll start to apply resistance in the opposite direction before the step needs to occur - ie I'll start to apply resistance before the 5, and on the 4.75 (just before the 5) I apply most pressure so that the girl steps back on the 5.

    Hope my answer makes sense!
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    This depends upon the style of Tango. If Amer. or Intern. ..yes..if Tango Argentino .. no. Different concepts at work
  7. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    Terence, I was looking forward to your input in this thread :)

    Can you please elaborate on the Tango area and even throw some thoughts/suggestions about my confusion/issue.

  8. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    ALL motion, in ANY direction, is intiated by the man.. thats our job . And, as you stated , always by the body.

    Actually to be real precise, there was a study done many yrs ago by a 7 times world champion..It was determined, that the very first thing to move was the Knee ( just the same thing that happens when we walk )its fractional, but there none the less .

    The combination of the " flex " and forward pitch of the body, propelled from a " compression " of weight, translated in to a kinetic energy, is the " force " that creates the action.

    Now one can see WHY the hold and Balance are critical parts of the equation. . Being able to control the directional movement thru hand and arm compression on the mans right side. ( the left plays its own part, as in stabilisation etc ).

    This also brings into play one of the main reasons for the " Cuban " type hold for this style of dance .

    NB.. see my notes on Tango
  9. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    The way I see it, the follower has to be conscious about keeping time and about prepping. It's my job to make her want to dance the moves I'm supplying. She's hopefully habituated the basic, which for me means she has a propensity to break forwards on 2 and backwards on 6, but if she gets into unknown territory she can just mark time and if she's getting no input from me at all then she can shine all she likes.

    Via the arms, I connect from the middle of my upper body to the middle of her upper body. Butt and leg details are isolated from upper bodies, so get to be semi independent. But I can still influence the lower body because it has to be beneath her upper body and it can only twist so far. So I can spin her, move her around, or give her a mambo jazz. All the time I'm paying loads of attention to her balance and momentum. If something feels less than 100% here then my attention's drawn to her feet to see whether they are serving her well. You can feel if she's on the wrong foot or the wrong timing.

    So to your question about the basic: the intention from me to move forward happens before my foot leaves the floor, so it's not that my foot sorta kicks her foot out the way, it's that my body sorta topples her backwards so she needs to step back to keep balance. But the step occurs on time according to the music. Ditto the second part of the basic. She feels me drawing away from her which makes her want to come forward, which reinforces the habit of the basic and causes it to happen - but it happens on time.

    It's possible to get a basic out of a complete salsa muggle by leading in this way (you may have to add very slight sideways shifts in weight to cause the correct weight changes), but it's actually a bit harder to lead someone who's had a class or two, because they start to worry about what SHOULD happen rather than being receptive to the leader's influence.

    /edit: fascinating post Terence, thanks!
  10. TrulyMadlyAmanda

    TrulyMadlyAmanda Shine Officer

    = suggle ;):cool:
  11. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    without a doubt part of it is knee angle, but a build up of tension through the torso and arms as you move forward for that 1 is also present. The initial step is always a little rougher than the second time you get around to the one because you are starting from neutral without pendulum type momentum built from your 5. There are often also visual ques of when to start, but regardless I'll go with Macmoto's original answer and say that once you're moving, she should know the count and simply adjust to your body style and the way your momentum is traveling. If your count is off, she'll get off timing as well, but that doesn't mean that if you're on, she isn't trying to keep the steps herself. I find that the more complex my patterns get, the more important it is for both my partner and myself to have better fundamentals and that means knowing where the weight shift has to be (this is what I've interpretted grounding to mean, silly term) on each beat. As much as a basic can be followed by a straight noob if I perform the perfect basic in close position, that doesn't mean that someone with experience shouldn't try to match the music as opposed to simply following. At one point you as a lead you need them to perform the fundamentals to the beat accurately so that you can execute more complex moves and use the weight shift.
  12. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    IF you are in the correct hold, a visual lead is not possible .

    " Visuals", are normally resrved for single hand and apart positions, when body lead may be somewhat diminished .
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Yes, in an ideal situation, but that is not always the case !
  14. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    :D I see what you did there!

    I look at that first step a little like the vacuano in Rumba -- it's an invasion of her space... then the next steps are a retreat, an invitation for her to come forwards. I quite often start apart from my partner with some body movement, and make a couple of testing or teasing movements towards partner position ... sort of wait till I feel some kind of consent to get closer. You can see this in the first 20 seconds of http://

    I agree, but I also think it's good to try for that degree of leading. Like with a particular follower can you cause her to take longer or shorter steps in cross body leads? Are you leading and following in an analogue or digital fashion? The timing of steps on the floor is digital, it's metered into units and small variations from "right" timing are fairly clearly "wrong". But the length of the steps and precise position on the floor is extremely flexible and can be directed by the leader.

    I agree. When you're only leading to a shallow level (e.g. your back to her and only one hand in contact) then you need her fundamentals to kick in so that you can have a bit of faith about what's going on behind your back.
  15. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    If you're looking at someone's face only, it changes when they decide to pull the trigger. There is a visible reaction on a leads face when they start and you can almost see the decision forming on the face. That and additional eye contact is what I was refering to, but I didn't have to state this since you already knew it.
  16. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    Ah but if you're doing body-leading there are no visual leads to follow (unless I raise a particular eye-brow to denote which way to go). Also you'd be too close in the right hold.

    For example:
  17. Offbeat

    Offbeat ¡WEPA!

    Simple... you lead, she follows. Stepping is merely a reaction.

    Have you tried to follow with your eyes closed? Try it. It works.

    Terence what's that during first 16 seconds? Looks like AT to me :)
  18. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Tango Arg. may be unique in its approach to partnership work ( altho. in WCS ladies do " Hijack ").

    In T/A , It is accepted, that the LADY may initiate lead. And.. a major difference in the use of body, or more correctly the NON use when a "reaching" as opposed to "driving" step is being danced .

    This is not present in the 2 other styles .

    Dance comparisons are useful IF they meet the criteria.
  19. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    It would not download ?
  20. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    terence probably already said this: the lead comes from the frame not the feet. So if your lead is solid the body motion precedes the foot motion by an instant.

    There is an important variation in cuban style: the first step is usually a side step to sync to the rhythm and then one might move into either a guapea or a son montuno basic. The leader can lead this side step solely with the right arm\hand on the followers back, the leader's footwork is almost irrelevant.

Share This Page