The Proactive Follower – A Blogpost By Bobby White from Swungover

The Proactive Follower

Shared from the Blog Site SWUNGOVER

Art by Irena Spassova
By Bobby White
Art by Irena Spassova

As a teacher, I quickly realized the advice “just follow” is almost never helpful. As far as teaching advice goes, it’s vague and doesn’t give the follower an action to do, which is exactly what a student needs in order to get better.

But more importantly, it’s wrong.

Great followers never “just follow.” They are constantly being proactive in many different ways in order to make the dance successful and contribute their voice to what is being created.

Let’s talk with a few of the world’s greatest followers to find out how they do that.

Great followers are…

Proactive in their RHYTHM

Followers should always strive to have good rhythm and be proactive about keeping that good rhythm. Followers should also be proactive about keeping that solid rhythm and pulse in non-closed positions, during turns, traveling — well, all the time. (Sometimes you’ll see followers who grow timid in their rhythm the more disconnected they are from their leaders or if they are in the middle of turns.)

“Follows tend to wait for the leader to ‘set the beat’ and they follow his rhythm,” says Laura Keat. “I think that follows need to be more responsible for demonstrating the rhythm and ‘dancing’ in every dance. Therefore if the leader makes a mistake or is off, the follow can still dance rhythmically. We, follows, can still follow the leader’s timing and shapes, but the beat/rhythm/flow of the music is carried in each of our minds and is each of our responsibility to represent through dance.”



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