Yeah sometimes it happens, we forget as followers that we have to follow especially in class !
I wanted to share a quick story with you, from my own experience.
My partner and I were doing the combination that they taught us. And suddenly, Korke stopped us, came to me and yelled to me:
“No, what are you doing !!?? Followers follow and leaders lead!” in Spanish oh course!
Omg ! I was terrified, what did i do wrong, i didn’t even notice i was doing the combination on my own. It was so automatic!
I’ve been taking classes for few years. Usually, in class, i always intent to follow the leader even if he is doing wrong. But unfortunately that day, it wasn’t the case! Haha!
Luckily, after saying that, he told me : “You’re a good dancer, that’s why I’m mad and I’m saying that to you!”
Ok, so it was such a relieve when he said that. It made me think, i can leave the chocolate bar away tonight !!
And why did i want to share that story with you?
Several reasons for that :
1. Followers have to follow
First one, a bit obvious : “followers have to follow”, especially in class, when we have to learn a combination.
I know as a follower, we want to reproduce the moves we’re learning in a nicely way, exactly like the teacher do. And of course, you probably want to practice your styling as well and that’s great! But because you’re more focusing on what you’re doing, you start to stop listening and following your partner.
If you really want to improve your following, you have to listen, feel, and follow what the leader is doing even if it doesn’t seem like the teacher just taught you.
If something is wrong, maybe it’s you, maybe it’s the leader, maybe both. How can you do to get the answer? Ask your teacher, show him the combination, ask feedback. That’s the best way to learn both of you and actually the best way to improve your following.
Then, in class, you will find good dancers who will be able to execute the combination in a proper way. And, you will just have to work on your own styling. At the end, practising with leaders who execute the moves in a good way and others who don’t, that’s the perfect way to improve. Thanks to all of them!
And last tip, if you really want to know how it should feel to do the combination and be able to incorporate styling, just ask your teacher during the class or at the end to do the combo.
Same for the leaders, ask your follower teacher to dance with you and you will know what is right or wrong in your leading.
I used to ask Korke sometimes at the end of the class, even if i was scared haha. But that was great every time because he could correct me about some details. For example, my head who needed to go up until the end of some moves…
2. It’s ok to not be perfect
You are in class to learn right? You’re not here to do the moves perfectly otherwise, you won’t be in class.
My first reaction when Korke yelled to me, i was feeling very bad the first seconds. But when he left, i totally got him and i was so grateful for saying that !!
Of course, it wasn’t pleasant, a bit uncomfortable in the moment, luckily not in front of everyone, only in front of my partner.
But even if it was the case, it won’t be so bad! Why did he tell me that? Because he cares! He could have said nothing and pass his way but he didn’t. But because he said it, it gave me the opportunity:
- to realize what i was doing wrong,
- to think about that later on,
- and to write this article that you can read now.
And what I’m saying also applies in your general life. Be open to constructive criticism. Don’ be afraid to receive feedback. On the contrary, it will make you improve more! And don’t remember, criticism should not affect the person you are inside. If a teacher tells you something about your following or leading, he is talking to the dancer you are and the dancer you’re gonna become, not the person, the human being you actually are.
Corrections are not personal! So please don’t go to class and expect to receive only nice compliments from your teacher. That’s good for your ego but it doesn’t help you to improve.
3. Do some mistakes
I have already said that in other articles especially that one : “How to be more confident on the dance floor“. So, please do mistakes, correct them and learn from them.
That can apply for every dancer : followers or leaders. Why do i tell you that? Because I’m the kind of person who used to be so frustrated to not achieve something and still a bit now.
But we’re all human and we are allowed to do mistakes! We’re not perfect ! It always better to have tried to do something and failed rather thinking of doing something and never doing it!
When you learn something and especially here when you’re learning how to dance, you’re trying to do the moves the nicest way possible but trying to execute the moves you should always allow you to do it wrong before doing perfectly or almost perfectly!
I hope my advice helped you ! Remember, followers you always need to follow first! And the rest will come later!
If you want to know more about tips for followers, check out this article 7 common mistakes followers make in bachata