Hello ladies! Whether you are brand new to dancing or are seasoned and just want to brush up on the essentials, this article is for you! All of the points which I will mention are what I like to think of as the “fundamentals of following”- they will not only create a wonderful experience for your partner, but they will help YOU have a great experience on the dance floor, as well! Without further ado, here are the 5 “Golden Rules” of following.
1. Allow HIM to lead
Ladies… stay present! Don’t try to anticipate the leader’s next move. It is understandable that you may want to be ready for what’s coming next, but if you try to figure it out ahead of time (or worse, try to lead HIM while he is leading you), you’re not trusting your partner! Relax. He’s got this. Letting go of control and enjoying the ride is all part of the experience!
If you want to feel more stable and have more control in your OWN dancing, the best possible thing that you can do is practice, practice, practice. Becoming a solid dancer on your own is the only way to be a great dancer when dancing with a partner.
2. Connection before style
Can’t stress this one enough. How do you create a truly memorable and enjoyable experience for the person you’re dancing with? Enjoy WHO you’re dancing with. Don’t worry about how you look. Don’t get me wrong- styling is a fun and beautiful element of dancing! It is part of the conversation. But it should only be attempted once you are fully attuned to the person you’re dancing with. It won’t matter how great your hips look or if your fingers are pointed the right way if you just missed the turn that your partner was trying to lead.
3. Perfect your balance
This can be a tricky one, only because it takes time. Balance comes from strength- particular core strength- and this takes a while to develop! But work on it. Even 5 minutes a day will make an enormous difference! The leader, no matter HOW strong, is not there to keep you on your feet. His job is to guide you. But your job is to be able to stand up on your own first, to allow him to do so. Again, the better you can dance on your own, the better you will be able to dance with a partner!
4. Know your rhythm and timing
This one, again, requires practice! If you want the dance to flow smoothly and be enjoyable for both, it is essential to understand where your feet are supposed to go on what beats. Balance and timing are both fundamental elements and EXTREMELY important to your dancing, because not only do they make you look good, but they protect you. You don’t want to accidentally lose balance and fall or injure yourself or your partner by stepping too soon or too late. So be sure to practice on your own so that you feel comfortable with both!
Finally, probably the most important point of all, enjoy it! Enjoy the dance and enjoy the person you’re dancing with. This especially pertains to followers dancing with leaders who are perhaps new or just starting out! It can be VERY nerve-racking to ask a complete stranger to dance. But the best thing you can do, as a follower, is to remember that we were ALL beginners! A smile can go such a long way. Make eye contact (don’t look at other leaders while you’re dancing!), introduce yourself, and enjoy!