Say it out loud to your screen right now. There is no perfect follower (Or Leader)…..
…just your favorites. I have to admit it is an unnerving task picking out my top 10 best lindy hop followers list. There are so many dynamic lindy hop followers who’s uniqueness and contribution to me are difficult to quantify – but I’m going to! (Cue the tantrums, from the anti-opinion police!)
There is no Beyoncé without Janet Jackson. There is no Taylor Swift without Kanye West. (Kidding.) You get the point.
So how does one judge a top 10 list?
You can’t – unless it’s your opinion. It’s all subjective, and every person brings to the table some intrinsic value. So this is for all of you leaders curious about who I appreciate and why.
Though following is an entirely different concept all together, it is unfair to judge the art solely by sight. It is a kinesthetic art form by it’s very nature, demanding that one share a physical experience to grasp the full depth of its wonder.
I’ve danced with over 15,000 people on average the last 5 years and my perspective and values continually shift. On some days, my values in a follower may lean toward their ability to balance improvisation with technique.
Other times if I’m in a creative mode, I need a mad scientist technician type, who can translate the exact amount of energy while providing the smallest margin of error. These followers are my lindy hop compasses, elucidating the actual happenings with zero care for my ego. It’s tough to take it, but in doing so they subsequently empower me to discern if my new ideas may work with a stranger or not.
See the pattern here? It’s all relative.
Am I working on perfecting an idea for a performance? Searching for new shapes to lead on strangers? Do I need new inspiration by watching a master follower or am I needing to experiment with a novice?
All great questions to ask yourself when attempting to identify the strengths in a follower.
For me, the greatest value is in knowing what you are trying to accomplish with a follower, while learning how to work with their strengths.
So If you are a leader and have taken my fundamentals class listen up!
As scary as it sounds and as often as I mention in class, there are no shortcuts. To launch yourself past your present level, you will have to face the truth about your ability to lead – and many of those keys are in the hands of better followers.
You can massively accelerate your learning curve (on the social dance side, or performance) by working with higher-quality followers.
The keys are in getting honest feedback from those who know the difference between what is necessary and what is a matter of preference. (Learn more about this in my free intro course.) Trust me on that last one, it will save you a tremendous amount of time.
Don’t be afraid guys! As intimidating as it may seem to dance with them, they really are genuine people. I would encourage you – if you haven’t – to ask one of these lovely ladies to dance, or watch one of the performances I’ve linked in the page and you may see why I appreciate their contribution so much.
I’ve broken my list up into two categories to illustrate how I enjoy these dancers gifts the most: Social Dance and Performance.
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