To let go and follow without thinking, followers trust their leaders to guide them clearly and directionally. They trust that their body won’t be placed into a compromising position, that they will not run into things and that movements will be smooth and easy to react to so they won’t get caught off guard and hurt. All this enables a follow to dance with freedom of expression.
Leaders trust that their follower’s movements will be predictable so they won’t have to ‘save’ the follow should they do something unpredictable, like a sudden drop or dip. They also trust that followers are open to letting themselves be moved easily. This enables the leader the freedom to flow from one move to the next without thinking.
Outside the partnership, on the whole dance floor, tango or ballroom dancers trust that everyone will dance in the same direction; swing and salsa dancers trust that there will not be any out of control arms or legs to hit you in the face or step on your feet; the list goes on. I’m sure you can think of many things you trust will just ‘go right’.
Do unexpected things happen on the dance floor? Yes, but if you dance in a way that expects that they will, then you don’t have the chance to dance to your fullest. Enquiring into where and when you hold yourself back helps you understand yourself and grow as a dancer.
It’s important to remember that trust and confidence can take time to build and there’s nothing wrong with not feeling confident and trusting at any stage, whether you’re a beginner or have been dancing for ages. Wherever you are, it’s a starting point to building trust. What’s more, building confidence in your dance partnerships is has benefits both on and off the dance floor.
Dance partnerships are a microcosm of life relationships. Through partner dance you discover more about your whole self, because how you show up in one relationship is often how you show up in many of your relationships. It shows how you interact with others in the broader context of life. So if you can enquire into your personal level of trust and openness on the dance floor, it starts to open you to more possibilities in dance and in life.
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