Release Date:
February 6, 2021

004: 4 Mental Spaces To Improve Follower Awareness

In this episode I share 4 mental spaces that followers (and leaders) should be aware of to level up your intention communication and reception.

Through the hundreds of private lessons I've been blessed to able to give to followers over the years, the mental awareness space (not sure if this is the best term) a follower can achieve to become a high-level and proficient follower is really quite phenomenal.

I'm thinking of these potential mental spaces to be aware of at any given time for a follower, and also for a leader to be empathetically aware of what they are creating and how their moves being lead translates to the mental spaces for the follower:

  1. An intention is felt and also seen visually (the easiest because the follower can register the movement visually and also through how the movement feels)
  2. The leader does something visually but there is no intention felt through the frame or contact points, if there is physical contact (here there is no lead intention behind the leader's movement, an example of this could be the lead styling on their own; if the leader is still making physical contact with the follower, it will be important for the styling to not be misinterpreted as an actual lead of something and maybe the follower can recognize this and also take the moment as space to also co-create without adding anything to the frame or contact points)
  3. The leader does something visually and there is an intention felt through the frame or contact points, if there is physical contact (the leader is communicating visually and asking for something specific from the follower; I'm aware in some dances a lead can be communicated visually to the follower without making physical contact)
  4. An intention is felt but not seen (the follower must translate the intention of the lead without seeing the leader, an example of this could be dancing in shadow position, where the leader positioned behind the follower outside of the followers' view)
  5. AAAANNNNDDDDD Through all of the mental spaces listed above the followers can still find a place to add their own style and flow as it pertains to the patterns of the music being danced to at the moment, IF desired (which goes into the concept of active versus passive following.)

The more I become aware of what followers have to juggle mentally and physically to be able to understand and follow all kinds of movements, intentions, musical patterns, AND MORE; when I hear stories of clueless instructors telling followers to "just follow" in class, it's just WOW.

I hope this post inspires instructors to never use the term "just follow" in any partner dance, and help other instructors level up their teaching skills to level up their awareness of both roles. I also hope it empowers students who take classes to ask more questions in dance classes and lessons. I love getting asked questions that challenge my understanding of what it is I'm trying to teach.

I'm curious to hear other ideas and experiences before creating more pieces of content around this idea!

P.S. This stroke of inspiration hit me while I was editing a video for my membership site Learntokiz and listening to Sarah breakdown some of this awareness down for the followers. I also hope it inspires her to continue to have the courage to have a voice in if I unintentionally overlook something we are teaching in our future recordings.

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