Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is Connection Part Of Leading and Following?

Not long ago someone asked the following question: Is (building up the) connection part of leading, or leading starts once the connection is established? (The question is not about how to connect or lead but focusing on the scope of the expressions). I really liked this question, and thought it might be interesting to more than just some facebookers.

It helps strongly to know how connection is built to answer how you use the word. Thus I'll quickly talk how the way you "create" connection is different depending on your technique. To me, you can seperate leading/following techniques into two big categories. In one you have those, where you have leading and following additionally to your dancing. It's like having a two layer cake. The other group of techniques is where leading and following is already incorporated in your dancing by using movements that are needed anyway.

Two-Layer Cake

From the two layer cake version you can derive both -  a yes and a no to the original question. The no is quite easy to derive. Since both parties know that they are using such a technique they are preparing themselves for dancing by tensing certain body parts, and I've seen instructors tell their students that follow to walk a little back to create the connection, based on a visual lead/hinting "seeing that the other one wants to start". The connection falls a little "out of the sky".
Assuming again the open position as a starter again, a leader could move back a bit to create tention, if the follower then reacts you've got a connection. In that case, it would be part of leading. It also show though that there is no leading without following in this group of techniques.


In the second group of techniques, where the solo body movement which is the dancing at the same time as it is the leading, you can derive also both answers. If the follower is just hanging out waiting for the leader to move, building up the connection is part of the dancing. Now if the follower is starting dancing herself and the leader is too, you have two solo body movements already going on. Adding a physical connection (e.g. holding hands) will have a connection that is created by those two solo body movements and thus not part of leading and following. 

The Answer

Since no matter what technique you use you have a clear nyes when it comes to if (building up) connection is actually part of leading and following. I like being honest with my students and rather give them a complete picture that is colorful instead of an incomplete black and white one, I'll use the word connection accordingly to the situation. Sometimes it is part of leading and following, sometimes it isn't.

How do you use the word connection in class? Comment below!

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