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Back-Leading: 6 Ways Followers Avoid It

1. Make sure you complete your weight changes

One insidious way followers can unintentionally lead is by failing to complete their weight changes; instead, they ‘fall through’ the step, without control over their momentum. To avoid pulling your partner down or feeling like falling yourself, focus on shifting your weight 100% on each step. If you aren’t sure you are doing this, ask yourself: If I had to stop moving on any one of my steps, could I keep my balance?

2. “NOTHING” can also be a lead

Sometimes, especially with newer dancers, you might feel like you’re not getting a lead at all, or something strange is happening you can’t interpret. When this happens, don’t try to guess! Treat the lack of lead as a lead itself, one that’s asking you to pause, and wait for further instructions. At worst, you’ve just informed your partner they need to strengthen their own lead in a particular area. At best, you just caught a great ‘picture moment’ for you and your partner to do some styling!

3. Dance with more people

When two people only dance together, they tend to develop a ‘secret language’, a particular style of leading and following that works for them, but baffles everyone else. While there’s nothing wrong with having a single partner, it often leads to anticipating certain leads and patterns your partner frequently uses. To avoid this, get used to adapting to other people’s leading styles. The added unpredictability of a new partner will train your instincts to be ready for anything.

4. Accept what you can’t control.

Many followers, especially if they previously danced solo, have grown so used to having total control over their body that they resist giving any of it to another. But ballroom dancing is like a romantic partnership: for it to work harmoniously, both sides need to compromise for each other. One way the follower can train herself to give away some of that control is by closing her eyes while dancing.

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