Exercise 1: Stationary Push & Pull
Stand facing your partner with a two-hand connection. This exercise is to be
done while standing in place, so stand in a sturdy position with feet apart at
approximately shoulders' distance. Do not move your feet at any point during the
Elbows should be held low, slightly in front of and outward from the hips. The
forearms should extend straight forward from the elbows, roughly parallel to
the floor. Leader's palms should be turned upward; followers palms turned downward.
The connection is sturdy but not heavy, without any squeezing or gripping of the
Establish a push connection. To achieve the
feeling of push, you and your partner should shift your weight towards each
other to the point that you can feel each other's body weight working forward
through the connection. Keep the connection consistent, and hold it for a few
Establish a pull connection. To achieve the
feeling of pull, you and your partner shouldÂ shift your weight away from each
other to the point that you can feel each other's body weight working away from
the connection. Keep the connection consistent, and hold it for a few
Switch back and forth between a push connection and a pull connection, holding each
connection for approximately 3 seconds. Be consistent and predictable with your
intervals. Don't switch back and forth quickly. If you prefer to use music, hold
each connection for 1 full measure (4 beats) before switching.
Remember to maintain the position of the
arms so that the elbows don't compress backwards behind the body, or extend or
straighten too far in front. Don't lean or pitch your body forward or backwards,
and don't use the arms to shove or tug your partner.
Lead & Follow
The leader should now call the shots. Begin again in an open facing position with a
two-hand hold, but without any weight connection. When ready, the leader will
try to establish a connection, and the follower must reciprocate. The leader may
now make decisions about when and how quickly to change the connection from push
to pull (or vice-versa), and it is up to the follower to feel the changes and respond.
LEADER: Don't be too predictable
with your changes. To ensure that your partner is really following you, change
the connection at very inconsistent intervals. Sometimes change the connections
quickly; other times hold the connection for many seconds before changing. If
your partner is having difficulty following, slow down and wait for the correct
response before changing the connection again.
FOLLOWER: Your job is to pay close attention to the direction of your partner's
weight, and then reciprocate. If you feel your partner's weight coming toward you,
don't back up... shift your weight forward in order to counterbalance. Likewise, if
you feel your partner's weight shifting away, don't follow by moving toward
him... shift your weight backwards in order to counterbalance.
After you've become comfortable with this exercise using a two-hand hold, try it again
with only a one-hand hold. The most important one-hand connection to practice is
the basic RH-LH connection, but you can also practice using other connections
such as LH-RH, or handshake hold (RH-RH or LH-LH).
It's also a good idea to switch roles, so that the leader learns how to follow and
the follower learns how to lead. You can learn a lot more about your own part by
looking at it from the perspective of your partner.
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