* When I wrote the 3 part article ‘The Best Leaders & Followers’ I said that in the future I will post some of the emails I received that were so good so you could read their words directly. Well, below are the words of Cape Towns own International Salsero – Marchant Birch now teaching Salsa in the UK.*
If I break it down to the most basic level, my favorite followers are women who are sensitive to my rhythm and lead, women who feel instead of think. Because following is feeling the lead and the rhythm of it, not thinking what does he want me to do? So a lady needs to be totally receptive. Here’s an analogy: Imagine the leader is like a radio station sending out signals or sound waves, and the follower is a like a radio with it’s antenna totally receptive. It’s the play of two opposites, in fact the whole dance is the interplay of opposites but these opposites need to blend together to work in harmony and become one like the yin yang symbol. There are certain techniques that can help women and men achieve this which we obviously share with our students.
I suppose it’s easier to describe what I feel creates disharmony in a dance, and in our classes we created two characters who are guilty of these… The male version is called Move Monster and the female Psycho Stylist!
Move Monster does the following:
1) He has hundreds of complicated moves but has no timing or technique.
2) He pulls women’s arms out of their sockets, injuring them but he believes he’s the man!
3) He believes in quantity of moves not the quality of his movement, technique, rhythm and feeling.
Psycho Stylist does the following:
1) She went to a hundred styling workshops but never learned to follow.
2) The only reason she dances with a man is to show off her styling!
3) Other women admire her styling but if you ask men if they enjoy dancing with her, they will say she’s a nightmare to lead.
4) She believes it’s all about her looking good instead of the dance feeling good and connecting with her partner and the music.
The list goes on with these two characters, too many to mention here but remember I’m just talking at the most basic level. If you want a taste of the highest level of leading and following, I will leave you with a quote of mine which I said in an interview.
“I would like everyone to experience dancing in such way where they hit that zone or Dynamic Equanimity. It’s a feeling of Oneness where you, your partner and the music become one, and rhythm is the glue to unify all three. You can’t even feel where your body ends and your partners body begins, you don’t even know if you are leading or following because everything is one. In that state, no forceful leading is necessary, you are both just flowing, and the energy is just flowing. I’m not even sure if the brain gets involved because the brain can get in the way of feeling. That is what I wish for everyone to experience.” Marchant Birch 2005
*Next email will be from Jocelyn Rosero. As for my next article, I am still compiling info on Salsa Congresses. Till next time, Peace, Love, Happiness & Salsa!’*