Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford
  • 03/25/2016
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The Arthur Murrays’ Dance Secrets: How To Follow

I once met a girl who was very unhappy. She said to me: “I don’t understand it, Mr. Murray, boys never cut-in on me but I know I can dance—why, I can follow anyone.” I dance with her and found that she could follow, provided that I led her in the few simple steps with which she was familiar. As soon as I attempted anything more advanced, she was at a complete loss.

I asked her: “Do most of your partners do these same steps I’ve been doing with you?”

“Why yes,” she said. “That’s exactly the way they dance.”

So I explained to her that her partners were held down—they could only do those few steps because those were all she could follow. I showed her that I could not lead her in any of my other steps without having her falter or stumble.

That girl is only one of the many girls and women who believe that they can follow anyone… and then they wonder why they are not in demand as partners.

A man is limited in his dancing to what his partner can do. He finds it dull and uninteresting when he is hampered in his choice of steps—and bound down by his partner’s lack of knowledge. Here is a list of pointers that will help you to become a popular dancer, sought-after over and over again. Note that the very first essential is in Rule 1.

10 Rules For Following

  1. Know the basic steps and their possible combinations. Isn’t it logical that you cannot dance well with a man until you are familiar with the steps he will do?
  2. Next, give your partner a feeling of freedom in his forward steps—keep your feet out of his way. You can develop a long, free, swinging backward step. Try it… step back as far as possible, toes leading. Keep your foot off the floor until you step with your weight on it. Exaggerate by lifting your feet high off the floor as you practice.
  3. Let your toes lead! Look at your foot when you take a plain walking step. Now watch what happens when you stretch with your toes. It is a simple matter of arithmetic… you can add actual inches to your step by merely pointing your toes. Practice a long, graceful stride backward, forward, and to each side—letting your big toe point the way.
  4. Here’s another foot-note… practice dancing on your toes—it will help to make you lighter.
  5. Be ready for the next step—come what may. Want to know how? Don’t slide your feet along the floor—lift and pass them through the air instead. Invest in practicing this… it pays big dividends in popularity with partners.
  6. A short step may seem dainty to you but it will spell disaster to your dancing. Prove this to yourself by leading one of your girl friends. Tell her to take short steps—it will convince you immediately why you need to develop a long dancing stride.
  7. Track down the true meaning of the word “relax”. Try relaxing while you stand in front of a mirror. Do you look like a dancer, full of life and spirit? You can bet you don’t! When you relax, your body sags—if you were with a partner, your full weight would drop on him. Dancing is motion—pep it up!
  8. The opposite of complete relaxation is “tenseness”. But, you cannot cure a stiff, tense body by commanding it to relax. Tenseness comes from a feeling of insecurity and from a lack of training. Learning the steps will give you security and confidence… practicing the “Exercises” in this book will give you training. Don’t envy popular girls—rival them!
  9. This should have a page to itself—so don’t overlook it. It is the answer on how to have good balance. No girl can be a pleasure to lead until she can balance her own weight. It’s a pity that so few girls know that their balance is in their own hands!
    Simply hold firmly with your left hand just in back of your partner’s right shoulder. Hold on very firmly—he won’t feel your weight, I promise you.
  10. Learn your steps and train your muscles on your own time. Then you will be automatically limber and ready to follow a partner—without a thought of your feet or your steps. He’s the leader… don’t be ahead of him or drag after him—just dance with him.

To Be A Good Dancer—

  • Keep your feet out of your partner’s way. Develop a strong, free, swinging step by stretching your toes backward. The easy, graceful step is taken by leading with the big toe, backward.
  • Move naturally, easily, comfortably. Don’t be self-conscious or stiff. Don’t think the other couples are watching you. They’re probably concentrating on themselves and each other.

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