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Ever wondered what back-leading feels like?

Posted: 09:14, Wednesday 5 July 2006 by Megan Jones

Updated: 08:49, Wednesday 5 July 2006 by Megan Jones

This little exchange followed on from the one I posted yesterday about leaders…

Person 1:
On the other hand, some leaders will leave some room for followers to back lead, and I don’t see followers who step in to surprise leaders at the right moment as competing with them.

Person 2’s response:
In the above case, I think that we may not use the term “back leading” to mean the same thing. In my case, I would not consider it back leading if I were to indicate a movement, and the woman’s response felt like “Hmmm, that might be interesting, but what will you do if I go here instead?” and leaves me a choice in the matter. Of course, none of this is spoken, and it happens above the level of consciousness. To me, this is just dancing together.

Back leading on the other hand feels like the woman shouting “NO! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? I AM GOING HERE, AND YOU WILL COMPLY!” This of course interrupts the dance and forces the man back into conscious awareness.

And Person 3:
Every step I lead is something like a text, which my partner interprets. She sharpens and clarifies my meaning. If I lead a slow step, for instance, my partner can collect just as slowly, even more slowly, or slightly faster than the step began. Likewise for a fast step, or an even step. They’re all “agreements” with the lead, and they have a greater presence, a more responsive voice, than mere passive following. These slight variations can be felt clearly by the leader; and if he’s truly improvising the dance, he’ll take his future direction thence. Analytically: The follower’s collection (what she does) determines when she’s fully over her axis (what he feels) and ready to move again.


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Community discussion on this article

At 12:59 on Wednesday, 5 July 2006 Ben said:

At 20:31 on Sunday, 9 July 2006 Charles said: