31 July 2008

Follow the leader but God help me…

In dance, learning to follow is not an easy task. In swing dancing, as with most partner dancing, the man is supposed to have absolute control and creative liberty. The man chooses what moves to use and the woman is simply along for the ride and completely at the mercy of his direction - not exactly an easy role to digest for this hardened feminist.

As I'm quickly discovering, it's crucial to have a very strong male lead in swing dancing. The concept of following is hard enough as it is, but it's near impossible when you are dancing with a man that gives you little to no indication of where or how he wants to move you next. This is one type of dance where back leading just doesn't seem to work. I'm entirely in the hands of my partner and, God willing, he'll be a capable one.

On the other hand, as I experienced last night, some guys take the whole male domination persona to the next level. I've been trying very hard to wait for signals from my partners and to relax and let them move me about the floor. Unfortunately, I happened to encounter one guy who made his movements just a little "too well-known". While it would have been sufficient to simply raise my hand and apply firm but gentle pressure to my palm (to indicate that a turn was coming), one guy felt the need to push me into a spin with all his might. Pulling me back into open position was equally painful, as he nearly ripped my arm out its socket. Not chill man; totally not chill!

Today I find myself with a sore arm and shoulder, aching feet (new dance shoes that I failed to break in) and a valid dislike for one of the guys in my class. On the other hand, I did hobble off with a whole new bag of tricks and a certain valiant, "I survived," attitude that is shared among many of the ladies. Nobody said that being a puppet was easy.

No comments: