Sharing The Joy Of Dancing



TIGER / LAMB or TIGER / TIGER ?


Tiger/Lamb and Tiger/Tiger refers to the Ballroom Dancers relationship to each other. The Ballroom Dance culture implies that there is a dominant dancer (Tiger) and a submissive dancer (Lamb). "Leader and Follower" is the common term used throughout the Ballroom Dance Community to describe this relationship. At the highest level of Ballroom Dancing (the "Singularity") this is not true. I have always disliked the term "Leader and Follower" because it seems to imply that there is a hierarchy relationship between the dancers. The "Singularity" level of Ballroom Dancing is not possible unless both dancers are considered and treated as equals.

In previous articles I have talked about the evolution of the Ballroom Dancer from two Individuals, to a Partnership and then finally to a Singularity. The physical relationship of the two partners has a dramatic evolution from Individuals thru Singularity.

In the beginning, the two dancers are basically individuals moving around in close proximity to each other. The physical relationship is more like Lamb to Lamb. There is no conscious physical relationship between the two. The focus is primarily on the movement of each individual dancer. Neither dancer has any influence or control over the other. They are like two solo dancers that just happen to be close to each other.

The evolution from two Individuals to a Partnership is the next stage. This is where the concept of "Lead and Follow" comes into being. This is the beginning of the Tiger / Lamb physical relationship. The "Leader" determines the pattern to be danced and initiates the physical movement. The "Follower" responds accordingly to the actions of the "Leader". This is what I refer to as the Tiger / Lamb relationship. The physical relationship has evolved from Lamb to Lamb then to Tiger to Lamb. The Tiger is now in control of the Partnership.

"Singularity" is the ultimate goal in Ballroom Dancing. In this stage, the two partners are grown together into a single entity. The individuality of each partner disappears. The two individuals are combined into a "Union". A "Union" is defined as "an act of joining two or more things together". The "Union" does not have a male or female gender. It is the sum of both partners. The two partners must obtain equal status for the "Singularity" to be developed. Equal status eliminates the "Leader and Follower" relationship.

The challenge of "Singularity" is developing "Equal Status". The "Follower" has been conditioned to take the lead and respond or doing something with it. For example: take just getting into dance position. The "Follower" waits for the "Leaders" frame connection, then adjusts to it. This is typical Tiger / Lamb. In the "Singularity" environment, each partner initiates contact and connection to create the "Singularity" entity. This is now Tiger / Tiger and the "Union" is formed.

I think of the "Union" as the merging of each partner's center of gravity. This can't be done physically, but it can be done logically. Actually, we want to be as close to the floor as possible (for maximum balance considerations) so the connection is actually below the normal center of gravity. The "Union" is where the "Equal Status" is made possible.

In the Tiger / Lamb (Leader / Follower) relationship the Lamb will always be slightly behind in the movement because the Lamb is responding instead of initiating. In the Tiger / Tiger environment both are initiating. This may seem illogical because in the so called real world there is normally only one Leader in a partnership. Realize, however, that this is not a partnership, it is a "Singularity". It is a single entity. How many leaders does your physical-self have? I would suppose, one.

It is possible to create a "Singularity" out of two physical beings. The two beings are combined logically instead of physically. A logical connection can be just as real as a physical connection. The single logical "Union" is the "key to the kingdom". This logical "Union" is not possible unless both partners know, understand and participate in this process.

Ballroom Dancing is the environment where two physical entities can be transformed from "Individuals" to "Partners" and then finally to the ultimate state of "Singularity". This is a slowly moving evolutionary process. Be patient and enjoy every second of it.