In response to the November 20th question on Bug’s Question of the Day I listed
-Proper levels of relaxation combined with proper levels of tone. Tone and relaxation in the right places.
-Stylization that doesn’t interrupt my lead.
-Stylization that does interrupt my lead, and how to use it judiciously.
-Maintaining posture (through stylization, through turns, etc.)
Which may be more what I’m working on rather than what all follows should be working on.
Early in my learning to dance blues I was told that I could feel the music and be expressive within the partnership. I came into blues from a few years of dancing salsa. Within that dance there are very clear ways for leaders to tell follows that it is their turn to express. Being told that I should be expressing all the time was overwhelming and since I did know how, I defaulted to pure following. By the time that I got around to learning to lead, I had heard both the desire for expressive follows, but also the snarky comments about follows who took it too much into their own hands and ended up backleading.
Learning to lead exposed me to how follows of different skill sets and levels danced. This really opened my eyes to the range of possibilities and had direct effect on how I dance. I realized there are things that I can do, ways of dancing, that let me be exactly where my lead wants me to be, but never affects them. As an example Black Coffee makes me feel very lazy, so I’ll keep my feet very close to or brushing the ground. I’ll probably choose to sweep my feet around through turns. Other songs feel very peppy, I’ll wobble my unweighted knee back and forth. Ideally these are things that will not be transmitted to my lead, unless he’s looking at my feet. On the other hand there would be people I would dance with who found ways to impact my lead, but always in ways I was comfortable with. They made me much more willing to do things like seeking out more counterbalance or changing the level of my body when I was following. While these thing will change what my lead is feeling, it’s a clear expression of agreement. I am dancing with even if my method is a little different.