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    Tips on doing leans

    Hi I am new on here I have been dancing nearly 4 months and last night in the intermediate class we had to do a 'lean' as the lead stepped to the right and balanced the weight the lady leaned to the left. Are there any tips?
    I treated myself to some suede soled dance shoes which are great but when leaning I was worried that my feet would slip

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by vic_s View Post
    Hi I am new on here
    Hi and welcome


    Quote Originally Posted by vic_s View Post
    I have been dancing nearly 4 months and last night in the intermediate class we had to do a 'lean' as the lead stepped to the right and balanced the weight the lady leaned to the left. Are there any tips?
    Don't drop her

    Sorry.

    Seriously, the advice is the obvious stuff. Keep it small, make sure you're "grounded" (stable) and take your time about it. Don't yank your partner into you from a long distance away, because she'll have more momentum when you make contact. Make sure you have plenty of space, and ideally only do this with a regular partner.

    Be careful with leans, because if your partner leans "down" on you, there'll be some pressure transmitted to your lower back which can cause you back strain - I speak from experience

    Followers leaning should project their weight upwards, as well as across, but the technique required for that is probably not taught in Ceroc. Hell, it's not even taught in Tango for that matter.

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    Registered User Lost Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Welcome to the forum Vic,

    Its worth at least trying to learn one simple lean as it provides a nice variation in freestyle, especially for "breaks" (i.e. pauses) during slower tracks. That said there is a bit of technique involved so if you are going to do leans at all it is worth considering doing a workshop or two as it can be difficult to learn the technique adequately when a lean is just one move out of 3 or 4 in a 30 minute intermediate class.

    My other tips would be;

    - Ideally try to practice the move first with someone you know and get feedback from them on how it feels
    - Only try using it in free-style when you are really confident about it
    - Don't bother at all if you are not confident and / or the feedback you have had suggests your practice partner doesn't feel comfortable and secure.
    - Start with one of the simple, basic leans before you try anything fancy
    - As with any move it's only worth doing if you can execute it smoothly and safely and it suits your style of dancing. Leans aren't essential for general free-styling so don't fret if you have any real difficulty as there are hundreds of other potential moves to choose from
    - As David says it's very important to take your time, never rush into a lean. It should normally extend over several beats.
    - See if you can get a bit of advice from the teacher or a taxi dancer if you have any problems or things you are unsure about.
    - Only use leans when it is appropriate for the track you are dancing too. That means avoiding leans when the music is fast and up-tempo. As a generalisation leans are best used during slower tracks, especially when there is a pause or break in the music.
    Last edited by Lost Leader; 19th-April-2011 at 07:50 PM. Reason: You just can't get a decent typist these days

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Interesting. Advice I was expecting to see, but haven't - so am I doing it wrong:

    - maximise contact. Ideally be touching your partner at foot, ankle, knee, thigh, hips; that way you're completely supporting the lower body, with far greater stability, and a much reduced chance of your partner sliding away/down you.
    - similarly, to start with, put your arm around to her far side and literally hold her against you. If she isn't comfortable with that, don't lead a lean.

    I still rarely lead leans in freestyle. While I'm still practicing, I intentionally put a pause between the move that leaves my partner in a leanable position (lower body contact) and the lean itself. That just gives me time to make sure we're both correctly positioned, that I can safely lean her, that she's ready for it. Anything feels wrong and I nudge her away and pretend I never was leading a lean.

    I am however exceedingly crap at dips, drops, leans and seducers, so I'm merely offering my own technique up for critique so that better dancers can tell us both why not to do it

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Welcome

    One tip I have is: don't be afraid to not do the lean.

    What I mean, is that when you have led your follow into position - and you are planning to do a lean, if it does not feel 'right' then just don't do it.

    It might be that the alignment is not quite right because you did not lead it precisely - or for other reasons.

    No problem - as a lean (for me) is usually when there is a break in the music - so just pause, turn your head to your follow, smile and carry on.

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Rule 1. never ever ever ever ever ever do a lean, dip, or drop without asking ur partner (with lots of notice) if they are OK with dips and drops tonight.

    Rule 2. Never ever ever ever ever ever do a lean, dip or drop without asking ur partner (with lots of notice) if they are Ok with dips and drops tonight.

    Rule 3. refer to rule 1...

    Any move that takes ur partner off of her axis (i.e. U become responsible for any % of her weight/balance) can be probematic for certain partners, Even if u see them doing low drops with another partner, never assume she is happy to do a basic lean with U: always ask.

    Apart from that, what everyone else says.... if in doubt, leave it, move on...

    Welcome to the madness....

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by vic_s View Post
    as the lead stepped to the right and balanced the weight the lady leaned to the left.
    Normally with a lean the lead leans in one direction and takes the follower with them in the same direction. thus supporting the followers wieght on the leads body.

    You seem to be describing something different, where the lady is leaning away from the lead.

    This is an unusual movement and i'm personally not sure how I would lead this. My own expereince is that if you push the a women away from you in the hope that she will lean they more normally just take another step backwards (im sure there's a technique- I just don't personally know it).

    The thing to watch out for as a follower, is that you don't anticipate which means you don't make assumptions.

    Don't try this move unless you totally confident that it's acutually being lead because otherwise you will end up getting dropped or putting you leads back out as he trys to save you from a move he hasn't actually led.

    P.S if your teacher did not explain how the lead comunicates to you that he wants you to lean away from him (instead of just stepping away from him). I sugest you totally forget about this move because I think it could end in tears. Sorry to be negative.

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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ View Post
    Rule 1. never ever ever ever ever ever do a lean, dip, or drop without asking ur partner (with lots of notice) if they are OK with dips and drops tonight.

    Rule 2. Never ever ever ever ever ever do a lean, dip or drop without asking ur partner (with lots of notice) if they are Ok with dips and drops tonight.

    Rule 3. refer to rule 1......
    Leans are OK, I am very happy to do a lean without warning BUT totally agree with dips and drops


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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Normally with a lean the lead leans in one direction and takes the follower with them in the same direction. thus supporting the followers wieght on the leads body.

    You seem to be describing something different, where the lady is leaning away from the lead.
    Or, alternatively, a move where the lady is facing in the opposite direction from the lead, and therefore the actual lean is in the same direction.

    It's hard to tell from the description which it is. But as you say, the lean away would be unusual, and for most of those kinds of move, I'd expect the woman to 'block' her feet against the man's and she would therefore not need to worry so much about feet slipping.

    I totally agree that "lean aways" of more than a few degrees aren't a good plan except with a regular partner (and I'd still want a lot of space).

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    In the class we did a lean in the same direction first so that both lead and follow went to the right then we did another lean with the lead going to the right and the follower leaning to the left. So that we were apart, it did feel odd and thankfully no one seemed to atempt it in the freestyle when the class had finished.

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    If you're really keen to learn leans you should go on a workshop.

    I just googled "dips and drops jive" and it came up with 96,000 results.

    The top result is Ginger Jive. These guys are good and the workshop sounds great. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they've got one on their timetable but you could send them an email asking when they're doing one next.

    Or you could work your way down the google list.

    You can get a DVD, but you'd be much better learning in person. I think it's OK to learn moves from a screen, but there's safety aspects with drops and you'd be better off with a two-way learning process to imcrease the safety.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Normally with a lean the lead leans in one direction and takes the follower with them in the same direction.
    Ummm... Not really. Normally, a lean is when a leader takes a follower off her axis, and counterbalances this by leaning against her. If both partners lean in the same direction they'll fall over

    so it creates a /\ shape not a \\ or // shape

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    You seem to be describing something different, where the lady is leaning away from the lead.
    That's also a valid movement, although you don't see it much in Modern Jive. Dunno why, really.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    This is an unusual movement and i'm personally not sure how I would lead this.
    You'd lead it the same way - take the follower off-axis and counterbalance the weight in the opposite direction. So creating a \/ shape

    However, in practice I suspect most MJ followers would not automatically go off-axis that way, they'd probably simply step to keep on-axis.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    My own expereince is that if you push the a women away from you in the hope that she will lean they more normally just take another step backwards
    Indeed

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    (im sure there's a technique- I just don't personally know it).
    I can do it in AT, but typically the easiest technique is to block the follower's foot so that she can't (easily) step, then lead the lean. (In AT, the outside lean is a colgada, the inside lean is a volcada).

    I've not tried those movements much, however, so I'm not sure how they would translate into MJ.

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Ummm... Not really. Normally, a lean is when a leader takes a follower off her axis, and counterbalances this by leaning against her. If both partners lean in the same direction they'll fall over
    That might be normal for Tango, but in the vast majority of MJ leans, both parties go the same way.

    They don't fall because the man is doing more of a lunge than a lean. So you get a shape more like:

    Code:
        #  @
         \  \
          \  \
         --\  \
        |   \  \
    Feer mi awsumm ASCII art skillz!

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    That might be normal for Tango, but in the vast majority of MJ leans, both parties go the same way.
    Well... it depends how you look at it.

    The leader steps out to pull the follower off-axis, but retains his foot close to the partner, mainly to stop her from stepping in to stay on-axis. But his weight is on his outside foot, to counterbalance the lean, and once she starts to lean, he has to counterbalance her weight, which means providing equal pressure against her.

    The only difference between AT and MJ leans is that in AT they do it better (or, possibly they have fancier names )

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    They don't fall because the man is doing more of a lunge than a lean. So you get a shape more like:
    This is still a /\ shape, if you look at the way the weight is distributed.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Feer mi awsumm ASCII art skillz!
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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Well... it depends how you look at it.
    Well, it really doesn't, not in this case.

    The leader steps out to pull the follower off-axis, but retains his foot close to the partner, mainly to stop her from stepping in to stay on-axis. But his weight is on his outside foot, to counterbalance the lean, and once she starts to lean, he has to counterbalance her weight, which means providing equal pressure against her.
    None of which changes the fact that they both "go the same way".

    This is still a /\ shape, if you look at the way the weight is distributed.
    The shape is what it is - the "force diagram" might be more like what you're describing, but that's not the shape the dancers are making.

    You could reasonably argue that the upper bodies (certainly for the man, possibly for the woman) tend to be more upright in practice - but that was an ASCII art limitation.

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    ...You'd lead it the same way - take the follower off-axis and counterbalance the weight in the opposite direction. So creating a \/ shape

    However, in practice I suspect most MJ followers would not automatically go off-axis that way, they'd probably simply step to keep on-axis.
    The original drop-kick had the lady leaning forward with the man counterbalancing before the lady throws herself backwards and down. I've seen several ladies lean forward only to find the man isn't holding on.

    A lady once decided to throw herself into a drop-kick when I wasn't standing behind her, apparently I'd signalled it. She was rather cross so I never did find out what signal I gave.

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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Saw a guy once dislocate a girl's knee while attempting a "ballroom jump." I have a feeling he was eventually asked to leave Ceroc as she wasn't his first nor his last.

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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on doing leans

    Tips on doing leans

    why are we talking about drops & jumps ?????????


    --ooOoo--
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    Leroy (Satchel) Paige (1906-1982)

    Mickey Mouse's girlfriend, Minnie, made her film debut, along with Mickey, in "Steamboat Willie" on November 18, 1928.
    That date is recognized as her official birthday.

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