Lead and follow: "matching resistance" in closed ballroom position (video: 3 min., 23 sec.)

In this video Skippy Blair shows how the leader and follower can create a dance “connection” in the “closed position” by “matching resistance.” This is a very important video for followers!

In the closed position—the most common position used in partner dancing—the leader places his right hand over the lower portion of the follower’s left shoulder blade. To create the connection the follower must match the leader’s resistance by pulling her left shoulder back and down, pressing into the leader’s hand. If the follower does not match the resistance, the leader finds it much more difficult to lead.

It’s common for teachers to describe the process of matching resistance as meeting a push with a push and a meeting a pull with a pull. Beginners find that a difficult process as it’s counterintuitive; beginners tend to yield to a push or a pull, not resist them. Skippy says, “The resistance is not actually pushing or pulling. It is a matching reaction to the action of the lead. The natural tendency to yield to a lead rather than to match the natural resistance is a real problem for many dancers.”

I wish every follower would watch this video again and again. If you don’t press back into your leader’s right hand, you give us nothing to work with.

Video courtesy of Skippy Blair (swingworld.com).

Elbows down (video: 1 min., 4 sec.)

In this video Skippy Blair talks about the importance of keeping your elbows down. A lot of stuff in dance is wicked hard to do, this one’s a cinch. Well, it’s easy to do but developing the habit to always do it is a little tougher.

Keeping your elbows down affects your posture and frame. Posture and frame are important because they not only make you look good, they improve the dance connection with your partner. Pressing your elbows down will push your shoulders back and down, which helps to straighten your spine. It will make you feel light to your partner arms. There’s more in Chapter 10, Posture and Frame.

Video courtesy of Skippy Blair (swingworld.com).

Move your center first (video: 1 min., 28 sec.)

In this video Skippy Blair talks about how to move on the dance floor by moving your center first. Your “center,” short for “center point of balance,” is located in your solar plexus. All dance movement should start and project from your center. If you move your center first you will not only look better–like a dancer!–but it will feel better to your partner and make lead and follow much easier.

There’s an old saying in dance, “foot follows frame.” Move your center first—not shoulders, hip or foot. Especially don’t move the foot first, which is the mark of a beginner. There’s more in Chapter 12, Movement and Timing.

Video courtesy of Skippy Blair (swingworld.com).