Follows. Not following but Follows. – by Chris Bruce

Follows. Not following but Follows.


DK Ballroom Instructor Chris Bruce explains what Follows are in regards to Ballroom dancing (in Standard & Latin).


Generally, when we think of follow in dancing we think of “lead and follow”. In ballroom dancing one partner (traditionally, the man) is the leader and the other (traditionally, the lady) is the follower. The leader decides what figures he wishes to dance and guides the follower through them.

Open a Standard or Latin technique book, however, and you’ll find another usage of the word – Precede and Follow. Included in the description of each figure is a list of Precedes (figures that may be danced immediately before the current figure) and Follows (figures that may be danced immediately after).

To illustrate, here are the follows for an Open Telemark in Waltz according to the Guy Howard (IDTA) manual:
Follow: Chassé from Promenade Position, Cross Hesitation, Left Whisk, Fallaway Natural Turn

Why can’t we follow a figure with just any other step? Well, for example, a figure that ends on the left foot won’t have Follows that start with a step on the left foot (OK, for the those out there of a pedantic nature, advanced Quickstep does have ‘hops’).

Why should we care about Follows? Well, have you ever watched a toy slot-car run around its track following the same path over and over? How much more exciting is a radio-controlled car which can go left and right, forward and backward as the operator wishes?

In the ballroom, the slot-car is the couple dancing ‘their routine’ over and over around the floor. If their way is blocked, all they can do is stop and wait. The radio-controlled car is the couple who can dance a different series of steps on every circuit of the floor and can change direction if their way is blocked, because they are familiar with Follow options.

Of course, knowing the options is only a part of the story, and we also need the ability to lead and/or ‘follow’ these options.

Here’s a quote from a recent article on the internet which links types of dancers to their Zodiac sign.

“Have you noticed those dancers with original pieces of routines that make you say: ‘Wow, why didn’t I think of that?’ Oh well, those dancers are probably Aquarius.”

That’s me. I’m an Aquarius!