Generally people talk about how important it is for the follower to “trust” the leader.
First of all, there’s very little chance of injury, so in the most obvious sense it’s not necessary. Even in off axis moves, if the leader were to drop the follower, she would just put her foot down. No problem.
Second, examples of inappropriate intimacy are hard to find. (In 6 years of dancing I’ve only had one guy slide his hand into my dress.)
I think followers generally do trust leaders. I think leaders need to trust followers more! They tend to hold on to us as if they expect us to run away. I don’t want the leader to try to control me, especially not by holding onto my axis. Generally he doesn’t know where it needs to be, so let me manage it and you just try not to mess with it.
What followers need to do is not trust, but surrender. That means not trying to think about what’s going on, not trying to recognize the move. It means surrendering to the thinking mind, and allowing your body to respond directly to the leader.
This post is a first draft. I’ll be working more to articulate my concepts here.