Successful leading and following comes from effective
communication, which is dependent upon a good connection, no matter what the
dance position. When in open position, the hand connection is the only means by
which a signal can be transferred from leader to follower, and so this
connection must be constantly maintained in a position which facilitates the
transfer of signals.
With a one- or two-hand connection, the elbows should be held
slightly in front of and outward from the hips, with the forearms extending
straight forward from the elbows, parallel to the floor. The arms should be able
to withstand push and pull pressure in order to maintain their position, so that
they do not extend too far away from the body or collapse inward towards the
body. The hands should be loosely cupped, without any squeezing or gripping of
the partner's hands.
There are two types of weight connection: Push, and pull. These
terms do not describe actions of the arms and hands, but rather the sensation
felt when the body weight is directed towards or away from a connection. Push
and pull connections should be almost invisible to the onlooker, with no change
in posture or arm positioning.
In order to lead directional movement, a weight connection must
first be established. Once the weight connection has been established, the
leader can lead the follower simply through the movement of his own body. No
additional pushing or pulling or the arms is necessary. In general, backwards
steps are led with a push connection, forward steps are led with a pull
connection, and side steps are led with either push or pull.
Oppositional movement requires an additional push or pull
impulse through the arms and hands, but this impulse should be subtle and
invisible, and should not take place without first establishing a weight
connection. One should always think of pushing themselves away from the
connection, not the connection away from themselves.
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