I tried the other side of the embrace again for half of last night's practica. Another high, and the realization just what a challenge I have set out for myself.
One of our local followers was kind enough to let me lead her for awhile and she gave good feedback again. My lead was not as subtle as last time, I need to be always clear, even when there are disasters ahead (another couple dancing near us, yikes!) and not let tension flow through my left arm into her right arm. Step clearly, step lively, and if I have to think, don't stop, just rock step it a little. It went fairly well. Again, it is amazing how much translates in the energy of the connection. There were several times when I was about to lead something and changed my mind, either because of traffic, or a new thought, or what have you, and invariably it was the first thing I was thinking of that she executed. Never the change. Because I started the first idea and did not properly snuff it from existence. Ugh, there is a lot to think about!
Then I got to lead a good friend of mine, who is a leader, and whom I had not danced with in a month! He also gave me really good feedback. I was leading with my legs, not with my core, and my energy was going down, not straight out. We made some adjustments and BAM! There is was, the right energy placement. It was fun to lead him, and let me tell you the difference between leading a little slip of a girl and a tall, strong guy.... whew! Navigation suddenly had blind spots, although the resistance he was giving was considerably less than she was. Although neither felt bad, it was just a world apart. He was very light, and she was more molasses-y thick with her movement. Bizarre. But fun!
I also lead another leader friend who claimed that he did not know how to follow at all. Aha! Challenge! It was truly a challenge as I had to be uber-clear and uber-direct in leading, so all we did was walk. Then he started asking me to take him to the cross, and lead him into ochos... and it all came back, the Oh No Ocho! Only this time, I was "leading" them, not trying to follow them. It was exhausting honestly, to try to lead all these different things, and navigate, and be musical, and keep everything inside my head. But he did give me some very good advice about making a more dynamic cross. Leading her to the cross, following her through it, and the leading her out of it. Pretty cool. Although I really want to get the basics down, get my core clear and really know what the hell I am doing before I start leading any figures, even the ocho. Right now a left turn and a rock step is as exotic as I get. But I am feeling good about the progress I am making. It is baby steps. But they are forward baby steps. So that has to count for something I would think.