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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 08-20-2004
Title : Pull and Push" in Dancing
Dancing Tid-bits Issue #195, Thursday, August 19, 2004.

Today's Topic: "Pull and Push" in Dancing

In my initial training days I heard it all the time..."Don't pull me and don't push me". This was mentioned in many Blackpool Lectures and it was "Bad". These were wrong things to do, I mean the Pull and Push did not belong in Dancing whether Ballroom or Latin, Period.

Then Luca Barrichi came to town (Tid-bits Issue #64, Check the Archives) and I had a chance to hear his Lecture at The University of Michigan League Ballroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Robert Kubis and Isabelle were the proud sponsors of this lecture. I could not believe what Luca was saying that "yes, we do have pushing and pulling in ballroom dancing". If I am not quoting it right, I apologize for my bad hearing or wrong perceptions. Having said that let me explain this diabolical phenomenon. Now this is my own interpretation and I don't mean to make any references.

We know that when we dance whether Latin or Ballroom there is always a "Lead" and "Follow". The Man leads and the woman follows,.... right? So after listening to this lecture and pondering over this for a few days I did indeed convince myself that yes there is pulling and pushing in Ballroom dancing. I will just use 2 examples here.

PULL: Let's say the Man has done 123 of the Reverse Turn in Slow Fox. He is ready to do a Feather Finish, RF back, down LOD. He steps back RF and swings for the feather finish. Is he pulling the Lady? The answer is; it all depends on what you call pull and the degree of it. The way I remember, it was explained to me like this; the Man should feel as if he is connected to ladies "Center" with a 'suction cup'. He is pulling the lady with this suction. So if you want to use pull in that sense yes, there is pulling in dancing. Is Lady pushing at this point. I don't believe so. I think there is 60% pull or suction by the Man and may be a 40% positive pressure by the Lady. If she pushes 60% the Man will feel that she is overpowering him or "back leading" him. I bet we all have felt that in dancing. If she does not use positive motion of her body she will feel heavy to Man. Does that make sense?

PUSHING: When the Man gets ready to do the Three Step after the Finish, he uses his "Push", pardon me for using such foul language but I had to make some sense out of it. In other words he has 60 % pushing. Now does womnn have a suction or pull effect? Maybe just enough that they do not break that suction cup between their bodies. If she uses 60% negative pressure the man will again feel that he is being overtaken.

So, I say if "Pull and Push" is taken in that context, it perhaps belongs in Ballroom dancing but at the end of the day I still say "Don't pull and Don't push" and have a good Frame and Connection.

Again I apologize if I have interpreted wrongly, With Best Wishes, Max

Announcement: Mr Pierre Allaire will be at Dancesport Academy of Michigan on August23-24. He will teach a Group on Viennese Waltz on Tuesday, 24 th at 8 PM. Some private time may be available, please call the studio.