Should teachers teach footwork patterns for leaders at intermediate level?
Interesting post-dance pub discussion the other day. Should teachers teach footwork patterns for leaders at intermediate level?
Some of the leaders were complaining that the teacher made things really difficult for them by not teaching the footwork pattern and leaving it up the leaders to work out for themselves if their foot should go behind, in front or to the side.
I listened to the arguments being made and I thought yes, it is much harder if the teacher doesn’t tell you where to put your feet but you learn so much more about dancing if you have to work things like this out for yourself.
I think I understand what to teacher was trying to do, your feet end up where your feet end up – hopefully they are under your body. Your feet should cross because you are keeping them under your body not because that’s what the pattern says you should do. If you are taught to cross your feet to do a certain move it might be easier and you can learn that move more quickly but the shortcut means that you don’t learn much about how the dance works and it’s harder to progress as a dancer.
As a follow I think you give up on attempting to do the ‘correct’ footwork pattern fairly early on in your dancing career. A few social dances in and you realise that the patterns don’t fit what most leaders are doing most of the time [perhaps they do where you dance?]. Learning how to respond to what the leader is actually doing is the really tricky bit of following and it’s not something that you learn from being taught footwork patterns.
As a follower, I definitely prefer classes where you learn skills rather than patterns.