Switching on and off between Lead and Follow

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Lola, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    I've found that I have a hard time switching between leading and following roles. I went out Thursday of last week and my following suffered, and one of my favorite leaders commented that it regularly happened when a follower works on their leading. Then last night I went out and one of my friends and I were switching off our lead and follow (my favorite follower, actually) and she said that my leading was getting off but my following was better that night!

    GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Argh.

    Does anyone have any tips? Or is this just an experience thing?
    #1
  2. TrulyMadlyAmanda

    TrulyMadlyAmanda Shine Officer

    i dont know about you, but when i follow i 'switch off' my conscious mind completely and just follow...dont think about steps or what will happen next at all. then i use any leftover mental capacity for styling...

    if that's already your approach, then i'd say switching probably comes with experience...
  3. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator



    Lol - I probably switch from bad to bad he he but trying to help anyway.

    I expect it to be an experience thing until both are subconciously accepted and natural. Like languages where once people are completely fluent, they can just naturally flow from one to another (but it takes a long time lol). My friend had a conversation with 4 others EACH in a different language AND he told me he thinks in his native portugese (different to the 4 he spoke).

    Until you develop the experience, perhaps you could find cues to put you in the lead/follow frame understanding the differences.

    Eg. When leading, I focus of thinking ahead a lot more. Understanding where the girl is and how to get her/me to the next spot and so on. Feeling what the music is giving me to give the girl

    When following, I tend to focus on the music in a different way to when I lead and am more just taking in what the lead is giving. *and secretly hoping to be spun...........lots lol
  4. himji

    himji Sonero

    note to self, keep her spinning
  5. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    Or him as the case may be.

    Okay, lots and lots and lots of practice. The best thing I found to do so far was to close my eyes when I'm fighting the lead too much. I have to do that with a lead I really trust but it's helped. I like your cues idea, smiling28. I might even take that a step further and use a physical cue to get myself in the mind-state. Oh and great story about the language. Follow and lead; they're different ways to express the music but they're still communicating it. Of course I sucked at langugage, but you never know. ;)

    TrulyMadlyAmanda I'm glad to hear that it is possible to achieve the state I'm shooting for. I can manage it at the beginning of the night after a song or two of following usually, but then after leading a song I have issues going back to that thoughless state. I did figure out to use pretty much a standard first three moves when leading, so I have time to start thinking like a leader.

    Thanks!
  6. lolita

    lolita Capitán Del Estilo

    Hmmm, I personally thinks it has nothing to do with letting go or switching off the conscious mind. On the contrary, I believe you have to be VERY alert and focused.
    It is just a state of mind.. Just convince your mind to think as a leader\follower and accordingly it will convince you! That is what it does best.
  7. himji

    himji Sonero

    I've never led a guy or even seen a guy be led (apart from as a joke or part of a tutorial) should I not be surprised?
  8. lolita

    lolita Capitán Del Estilo

    You should come to NY sometime...You'll see lots of that :)
  9. himji

    himji Sonero

    hmm, and is it common for women to be leading guys?
  10. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    The best leads in my scene are big into following as well. So I can be seen regularly leading one of my three favorite guys, all of whom are 6'+. It's pretty amusing. I think it's partially because I'm the tallest female who leads in the city. (And I'm only 5'5). I'm a complete sucker for when my two instructors dance together though...they're both tall guys and have a great sense of humor so they switch off and will add very girly styling to make us laugh.

    Girls lead Guys, Guys lead Girls, Girls lead Girls, Guys lead Guys. (It's why I use the terms lead and follow in my explanations) I've had nights where I lead more than I follow...and those nights my follow sucks *shrugs* I'm working on it.
  11. himji

    himji Sonero

    I suppose it's not so common out here in the sticks, maybe once I move back to London, I'll see more of it. Sounds cool, It's be nice to switch off and follow for a change :p
  12. agarcia97

    agarcia97 Sonero

    They broke a tie at the SF Congress Masters jack and jill by having the guys dance with the guys and the girls with the girls. In my opinion the guy followed, for those paticular dancers, way better than the girl led. It was very interesting to watch and so FUNNY!

    Maybe its just my Mexican Machismo, although starting to warm up a bit, I have a very hard time with the idea of following in general.
  13. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    We must dance :)

    at 6"1, hardly any of the girls are brave enough to dance with me and my following is bad in general meaning no experience to improve lol. Bad cycle so I practice outside as much as I can.

    Funny thing is about guys following, people expect you to be VERY bad (joke) lol or VERY good he he. Its like no in between. (Have had girls surprised that I do not follow well. Hello, its not like its my full time job he he :) )

    *but you wait guys, I will get awesome at following and these girls will stop running to the hot guy follows and dance with me eventually (playing on the 'some leads only dance with the hot girls' phenomenon)

    :)
  14. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    LOL - kind of you but a warning. Some follows love spinning, some dont PLUS that can change ANY day or part of the song depending on a myriad of factors I will never fully comprehend lol.


    I love spinning in general (really need the extra practice I get socially so feel free to spin me all night but a caveat - if the lead/environment (eg. floor is concrete) is really terrible and I feel like I am getting bad habits/risk of hurting myself (spinning incorrectly/with friction places too much pressure on the knees in my opinion) gah, no more spins lol.

    A good trick I like to use is to give a free spin early to see how a girl spins/smiles out of it to gauge their capabilities. Nestor and Jaime (famous and great instructors from Sydney) use this also to gauge a girls level generally so they can tailor the dance to her. A very good trait of both of them is their ability to dance with a girl of any level well.
  15. TrulyMadlyAmanda

    TrulyMadlyAmanda Shine Officer

    i brought this idea to london - back in the day - and taught a couple of guys to follow...

    imagine leading a 6'4" male 'follower' with the personality of cartman from south park, constantly talking into your ear...

    "i cant do a double turn - dont lead any of those"
    "cross-body only - none of that cuban sh*t"
    "no sexy stuff"
    "lead harder"

    ...! :eek::eek:;)

    imagine how many dances female follows would get if we acted like that, lol?!

    at the time though, i only had the choice of about 3 guys who i'd bullied into letting me lead them.....women would only follow their close friends back then - somehow there was an idea that women who could lead were 'lesbeans'... :confused::rolleyes:;)
  16. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    LOL - man, the best female instructors here are actually great leaders. So great that I am constantly reminded by girls about how AMAZING it is to dance with the girls especially Bachata.

    *panics, they DON'T need us anymore.................*understands how people felt when replaced by computers/machines lol
  17. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    Awesome, I hope you try. It REALLY improves your leading and DANCING completely.

    For a follower, I find balance, weight distribution/shifting, alertness, awareness, body control and poise to be CRITICAL and thats just to beat the other girls when running to your favourite leader lol.

    These things always help you so its fun to try plus only fair that you understand what you are asking the follower to do when leading eg. I realised I was asking/leading the girl to break the olympic record for long jump on 5 for one poorly led move I did.

    One thing though, in reference to the thread. You do not switch off as a follower although I do understand your point. I use the analogy of going for a drive in a car. Leader is the driver driver, follower is the passenger seat. Now if the follower were to 'switch off' they may as well sleep lol. The follower SWITCHES attention but not off. Eg. for the follower to have a great trip and help the driver, it is wonderful if the follower uses the time to focus on other areas like what is outside the window (as driver needs to focus more on the road than sight seeing), making interesting conversation for the driver etc etc.

    Same as following/leading. Its a change of focus/responsibilites. I.e both the leader/follower focus on the music/envoronment etc but with different emphasis/purpose.
  18. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Capitán Del Estilo

    I like following, and until a few weeks ago, practiced lead-switching weekly with a woman who wanted to learn to lead. At clubs, we'd alternate; and as others have said, it's just a state of mind. She's considerably taller than me, so it's probably easier for her to lead me than the other way around.:)

    Sometimes if I see a woman leading when out social dancing, I'll ask her to dance with me being the follow. One time when I did this, she didn't hear me, the result being that we spent about 30 seconds just doing a basic with each of us looking at the other expectantly.:oops:
  19. himji

    himji Sonero

    Smiling, thanks for all the info. goos stuff, really making me want to follow. Although I'm sure I should be concentrating on my leading first? What do you guys say? been dancing about seven months, started off dancing once a week, doing 2-3 times a week now for the past month say. At classes, I'll take the Intermediate where I'm about the middle in form and ability, not a beginner but still want to omprove before I look to stepping up. Will following help me at this stage or have a while to go yet?

    snow Dancer, funny story thanks. Actuallty, I'm not very tall either (about 5'7) and I find alot of the girls I dance with taller especially in thier heels!
  20. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    :uplaugh:

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