There are 3 elements to good leading and following in ballroom dance - Posture, Frame and Poise. In ballroom dance, poise is the pitch of our body and placement of the body weight relative to the feet.
For Latin dances, the partners start out facing each other, heels together, toes apart in the shape of a "V". Their feet should be about 1 1/2 feet apart from each other.
The dancers should then soften one knee without moving their feet. This is to allow for movement of the hips in cuban motion. Poise is then realized by each partner lifting from the diaphragm and moving it toward their partner. This should, however, be done without leaning the head and shoulders forward. This is why our Latin frame is not as wide as for smooth dances, but more closed, as if our arms are hugging a beach ball. Our dance position, of course, will vary depending upon the specific movement in the dance step being done.
In Rhythm dances (East and West Coast Swing, Push Pull, Hustle) the partners stand in open promenade position with their bodies forming a "V". Their feet are in 3rd (heel to instep) position. Our poise is realized by each partner lifting their diaphragm and moving it over their leading foot.
For Smooth dances, the partners should stand facing
each other, with their feet together and the lady's toes at least 2
inches from her partners toes. The partners then want to soften their
knees while still keeping everything in the upper body aligned from
hip to head.
Poise is then realized by both partners bringing their belt lines towards each other until they lightly touch. This is why smooth dances have a wide frame, in order to achieve balance and stability. In the dance, of course, this position will vary depending on the specific movement of the dance being done. See also Frame and Posture.
More How to Dance specific steps on our Dance Tips page.
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