The articles I write describe (as best you can with words) the various technical aspects of Ballroom Dancing. Learning the detailed technical aspects is what being a "Trained Dancer" is about. The "Trained Dancer" understands the nuances of being "Two-Headed and Four Legged". The ultimate goal of a Ballroom Dancer is to become a "Trained Dancer". The articles I write are not complete descriptions, but rather overviews to peak the interest and encourage dancers to pursue a complete understanding of a particular topic. Becoming a "Trained Dancer" is actually a continuing process that never ends. There is always more to be learned. The following are some examples of the technical aspects necessary to become a "Trained Dancer".
Every person is taught to be "Two-Legged" from birth. Making the transition from being "Two-Legged" to "Four-Legged" is a major part of being a "Trained Dancer". Just as there are rules for "Two-Legged" movement, there are rules for "Four-Legged" movement. A "Two-Legged" rule would be: "If you want to move forward you must put one foot ahead of the other as you change weight". A "Four-Legged" rule would be: "The leaders' frame must maintain a partnership offset to accommodate "Four-Legged" movement". There are as many "Four-Legged" rules as there are "Two-Legged" rules. Even though we call them rules, it is basically just common sense. The dancer must change his/her thinking from being "Two-Legged" to "Four-Legged".
It is the responsibility of the man to lead in such a manner that the lady moves naturally. The leader may do unnatural things to allow the lady to move naturally. The leader needs to know what response he is trying to get from the lady. This means he needs to know the ladies part as well as his own. It is the responsibility of the lady to know and understand the proper response to the lead. This action and reaction will be almost simultaneous. It is based on feeling, not on conscious thought.There are many aspects that can only be learned by experiencing them through "FEELING". Words are not adequate for the dancer to understand what is trying to be communicated. You can take Group Classes, watch DVDs/Videos, read descriptions, but you still won't know how it "FEELS". The "FEELING" is also necessary to know how the element is lead and to know how to respond to the lead. Hands-on private lessons are the most efficient way to become a "Trained Dancer".
A "Trained Dancer" feels every movement from a "Four-Legged" perspective. For example: Slow Waltz has rise and fall in the Ankles/Feet, Knees/ Legs and the Body. When rising, all three happen at once. When falling, there is a serial sequence: the Ankles/Feet first, then the Knees/Legs, then the body. The leader needs to feel the rise and fall movement through the whole partnership. The lady feels the individual actions of each part of the leaders' body and responds accordingly. In Silver Waltz (and above) "delayed rise" is used. So the timing of rise and fall may be different as well. The feeling of "Four-Legged" movement has many aspects. Learning patterns is the easiest part of Ballroom Dancing but as you can see it is only the tip of the iceberg. You don't all of a sudden become a "Trained Dancer", it evolves over time. It takes understanding, training and practice to develop the skills we are talking about.
Ultimately, Ballroom Dancing is about creating the unique "Four-Legged Feeling" (a feeling that can only be experienced with a partner). In my mind, no one is ever a "Ballroom Dancer". They will always be a dancer in training. The top dancers in the world are continually learning and improving. If they don't, they won't be on top very long.