Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tales from the Other Side

So, I have been attempting to lead for a couple of months now. I can say with confidence that I can almost walk. There is not much else I can do, but I am working on it, and I don't try anything in a milonga setting if I am not confident with it. Those lovely lovely followers who agree to let me lead them know this, and usually it turns out fine. I use dynamic changes and try to hit musical phrases so that it is not nap time for them.
And then one night recently I danced with the Willful Follower.

A song came on that I liked, the floor was basically open, so I grabbed her and off we went. Or should I say, off she went. This was the first time in my life where I encountered the following:
Leader - leads the follower to step back with her right foot.
Follower - executes a poorly supported back boleo followed by an even more poorly supported front boleo and steps forward into an ocho.
Leader - stunned silence, mute horror

It did not matter what I led, she did what she wanted, often in the opposite direction of where I was leading. Thank god no one was on the floor, or there might have been a blood trail. I had no idea what the hell to do. At one point I just stopped moving, she did all sorts of things around me, and I was thinking "Ok, maybe she's tired herself out now and we can walk" - nope. She was not like a toddler whom you can allow to stimulate themselves into exhaustion and nap time. Oh no, there were more surprises for the remainder of our dance time. I have to admit that I really wanted to say "Let me know when you are done and we can move forward." But instead I decided to stop moving at all and allowed her to whip herself into a froth around me.

I still don't know what I could have done to contain that energy, if anything.
But I do know that until I am a better leader, I will not be subjecting myself or any dance floor to that spectacle again.


Anonymous said...

LOL! I'm so sorry for your pain, but that's one of the funniest things I've read in a while. I guess she was trying to make YOU look good :-)

David said...

He he, that happens to me too occasionally with unknown followers.

The best solution I've found is to dance around what the follower chooses to do and to try and lead a general progression along the line of dance. If the follower is about to dance into an obvious collision I just block progression in that direction completely and she will move off in a different direction.

It can be fun!

Debbi said...

Johanna, glad I could give you a laugh, it was pretty funny. I was laughing about it on the ride home, just not in the moment. :-)
David - I am sure it could be fun, but right now, and a neophyte leader, it is pretty horrifying and frightening....

Bruno Afonso said...

So now you know what it feels like when you see it happen to others ;-)

Debbi said...

Yes, and I hope that I am never the one doing that!

Bruno Afonso said...

Not at all! I didn't mean it that way at all. You know you are one of my favorite persons I get to dance with :)

Anonymous said...

"But instead I decided to stop moving at all and allowed her to whip herself into a froth around me."

First time I laughed in days. The frothing bit killed me.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure who you're talking about, Debbi, but this sort of thing happens more often than one would hope or think. Sometimes I would try to force them into place with a more firm embrace, but they squirm their way out of it. I would be nice and do a full tanda, hoping it would get better. But if it doesn't, I don't dance with them ever again.