Hi folks, can anyone help me answer this question that has plagued me for years? How does the gentleman differentiate the lead for the lady between the natural opening out vs. the closed hip twist? In the videos on this website, the man closes his left foot to his right on the third step in both figures. And I get that if you want the lady to do the natural opening out, I suppose you could pull her across your body a bit, but in the absence of that pull across, is she just supposed to automatically do a delayed pressed walk? Very confusing.
It seems your confusion stems from the misconception that all leads must be derived purely from the movement of the whole body. Teachers will often teach this idea to beginner students, because it helps to tame an overactive frame. "Leading by doing" certainly applies in many cases, and when it can be done, any additional usage of the hands and arms is not only unnecessary, but can be problematic. And so the syllabus is written with the first handful of patterns requiring very little in the way of movement of the hands and arms, to give the student enough time to learn how to lead by simply doing. However, once that concept has been learned, more advanced figures, such as the Natural Opening Out and Hip twist, do indeed require certain movements of hands and arms. The trick is to learn the correct way to lead the figure, so that you provide clear signals to the lady as to where you want her to be and at what time.
The frame must have to be involved in the leading of the Opening Out and Hip Twist because without it, her reaction would be exactly the same for both figures, since your steps are identical in both. It is exactly the extension, contraction and rotation of the frame that makes the difference between the lady taking a step to the side after her back rock, and swiveling further and closing the feet, or taking a forward pressed walk toward your right side. All of these variations are led by your hands and arms in conjunction with the movement of the body.
A good exercise in leading both figures is to do so by not taking any steps at all. Simply hold her in frame, and with the proper rotation, extension and contraction of the frame, along with the correct push/pull connections, literally cause her to take each step of the figure. At the most basic level, one does not need necessarily need to be taught each individual connection and movement (although one may explore the details later for further refinement). Rather, simply knowing where you want the lady to step -- what direction, how far, how much rotation, etc. -- is enough to learn how to lead it intuitively. This is good advice not just for the Opening Out or Hip Twist, but for just about any figure where additional lead is needed beyond the very fundamental "leading by doing" concept.
Thank you so much for your reply. The material in the reply was sound and greatly appreciated. I also appreciate your site and apparent dedication to your customers as evidenced by the quick responses to questions, constant communication to site visitors about upcoming steps and plans, and the addition of new content constantly. As an independent teacher with little opportunity for coaching at my studio, I have to rely on videos and websites for answers to many of the questions I come across. Thank you for providing such a great resource for those like me!