Starting a Dance - Getting Into Hold
10-point system when starting a standard dance - make this a ritual: (could be less dramatic for social occasions)
- Man assumes a dance posture, standing in upright position, lifting his ribs, weight toward the balls of the feet, rolling his shoulders back. He raises his energy.
- Lady responds in kind.
- Man raises his left arm forward in front of him just below the shoulders height, and his right arm to side, offering his left hand to invite the lady, particularly the space between the thumb and forefinger.
- Lady steps forward toward Man and places her right hand in the man's left hand, and they both close their fingers. Lady's hand has a slight twist to the right, such that the the thumb and arm form a line. Lady's R arm is in front of her body.
- Man draws his left elbow straight back, drawing the lady in, Left hand at eye level, elbow making slightly more than 90 degrees. Forearm is 45 degrees from floor.
- The lady stops with some separation between her feet and the Man's. Do not get too closed. Let Lady decides her comfortable position before Man settle his R arm position.
- Lady: be careful not to "draw Man in". Man draws Lady in, not the other way around. Lady "gives" and projects "forward" and "up",
- Lady starts with R arm in front, keep that position when Man draws his L elbow back, i.e. lady should not move upper body forward making R shoulder/upper arm start going back. Keep upper body back and allow lower body to connect with partner, bend knees forward.
- Per coach: 91 degrees for all dances, except for Tango: 89 degrees :) - this obviously depends on the height difference between partners.
- The whole arm should not break at shoulder joint. It should make a smooth curve.
- Lady's L hand has slight twist to left, such that the left thumb making a smooth line with left arm.
- If Lady is much shorter, Man should still keep elbow at reasonable height, while lowering R forearm put R hand around Lady's shoulder blade.
- Man's frame should be such to allow the lady's elbows to be even with her shoulders.
- Coach's opinion: The man's left arm and the lady's left arm should make a straight horizontal line across the top. The lady keeps her own elbow high enough to make the line, and the man lifts his right elbow as necessary and appropriate to provide the points of contact for the lead.
- Lady's left hand: only thumb and middle finger touch Man's shoulder, index, ring finger and pinky are all "lifted up". Lady projects "forward".
- Man's R hand: shouldn't need to curve his fingers. (Lady projects diagonally forward, spiral up - which will make Man's hand fit better without curving.)
- Lady's upper arm should be quite "light" on the Man.