I've heard some leaders in different scenarios share that when dancing with some followers (I'm intentionally not specifying a skill level) they use "more intention/energy" to "help" the follower to "understand" the move/step/pattern (MSP).
I do agree that yes it is possible for a leader to lead a follower through moves they didn't know they were capable of following, but this begs the question, to what extent/threshold?
Over the years, I found myself asking these questions like these:
- How much energy/importance am I going place on the outcome of this one particular MSP?
- Is there some dire consequence if I don't execute this MSP or award if I do?
- How can I adapt to the follower I'm dancing with to their skill/comfort level?
Maybe this is an experience/maturity aspect of my dancing but when I'm on the social dance floor I try to conserve my energy.
The less energy I use in each dance the longer I can last on the floor before needing a break and overall it's less strain on my body.
If a follower isn't getting a cue for a particular MSP or if I'm finding it takes a higher energy/intention point than what my general threshold is, then I simplify the dance.
I don't double down, I don't use more force, nor do I attempt to teach on the social dance floor. I lead the things I find that can be lead gently and comfortably that doesn't increase strain and stress for myself and whoever I'm dancing with.
A beautiful comment that was made by Zoe K on Facebook:
"To this point, if a newer follow is often met with stronger intention and less softness, the follow will get used to this, and that is not the end goal. It also means that heavy leading will be expected, creating a negative feedback loop. “Helping” in the short term might be detrimental to everyone in the long term."
I felt compelled to write three other blogs related to this topic titled "Urbankiz Doesn't Require A Stiff Frame", "Stiffness Versus Stillness", and "Flowing with Gravity in your Urbankiz". Here's the 4th, "Simplify The Dance".
I can be playful, musical, creative, connected, and relaxed with variations of my basic steps and even in a close embrace.
On flip side I know people dance with different intentions and desires, some dance for the connection, to be playful, and/or to express technique.
A potential notion you could consider is finding balance between being afraid to push the edges of your comfort zones and going too far past your comfort zone into chaos and bringing unnecessary amounts of tension and strain into the dance.
I'm remember reading a post from Jerry Lai a few years ago that mentioned something along the lines of leaders were too concerned with being boring so they stressed themselves out with having to lead too many "cool moves" and this caused the followers to also be stressed trying to keep up with having to follow all the "cool moves".
I'm not saying don't try anything new in the pursuit of playfulness and creativity, I'm just shedding some light on becoming aware of how much intention/force you are using to "make" a particular outcome happen.
If the MSP you imagined in your mind wasn't what the happened in the dance, you could try again later after a few moments of simplifying the dance OR just choose skip it and be OK with not doing that MSP for that day with whoever you are dancing with.
I'm sure this mantra of simplifying the dance can be applied to multiple partner dances!
Have you simplified or experienced simplifying a dance before? What was your experience?
To less physical strain on your body and less mental stress in your mind on the social dance floor.