Skip to main content

Womens Technique Mens Technique

I'm by turns amused and frustrated when I see classes advertising women's technique (whereas I'm usually just amused by classes advertising a 'new' style of tango). In my mind's eye all I see is a room full of well-intentioned women earnestly practicing how to dance really well on their own, but whom I'd never ask to dance.

Learning to both lead and follow quickly establishes what does and does not work in terms of the simple body mechanics of fitting two bodies together within what is quite a rigourous musical structure (I'm obviously not talking about tango nuevo music here). The techniques taught in these classes may look good on YouTube to an inexperienced eye but they look and feel utterly dreadful to myself as an experienced leader.

The irony of all this is that I am a popular leader in every city that I've danced, but I couldn't have become the dancer that I am today by dancing with the women who attend these classes. I've danced with so many of them now, and each time it requires me to cut my repertoire down to something brain-dead so that they can guess a step. They expect to interpret the lead and determine where to step, rather than simply follow.

Oh dear.
Tango is a partner dance. Not ballet.

The result is that in many cities the women who are thought of locally as very good dancers are often not even on my radar, and I usually dance with women who are not considered good dancers but who actually follow very well.

I think this is related to the low standard of leading that we see in most cities. More women than men appear to spend money on lessons and with women outnumbering men at most milongas there is little incentive other than pride for men to improve. Women who wish to be elegant dancers but who are surrounded by sloppy leaders cannot rely on those leaders to provide them with great dance experiences so the women must step up and fill in the gaps, themselves. The ones who guess the best are thought of as good dancers and the ones who wait for a lead that never comes...sit out a lot.

This is a sad state of affairs but the news for leaders is mostly good. Just by standing taller and walking to their partner's centre will make such a difference that they will stand out from the majority of men on the dance floor and make them a popular dancer in many cities.

If I'd only known about this when I was starting out...



Popular posts from this blog

Advice for Followers

This post is about the most common questions that I'm asked about following.  It's a companion piece to my Advice for Leaders post. Read both, especially if you don't do both, because you need at least some perspective into the other half of the dance if you wish to improve.  My apologies for the use of gender when describing leaders and followers, sometimes my typing fingers get tired.  Regarding 'style', I've posted elsewhere on this site about that but suffice it to say that this advice is for a tango approach where a leader and follower move together to build a dance that is greater than both of them.
My post on leading talks about accepting followers as they are, strengths and weaknesses, just like in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary (one of my faves). However, followers can be on the receiving end of some pretty dreadful technique which sometimes means that they have to react rather than follow. 
Having said that, you should always be trying to give you…

Starting Out as a Tango DJ

Have you ever wished that more of your kind of music was played at milongas? Maybe you'd like to try being a DJ? Today's DJs tend to be tomorrow's organizers and it's always good to have a number of experienced, confident DJs in a dance scene.

As far as gathering music is concerned I regularly check demos on YouTube, not for the dancing but for the music. If I like it I'll check my collection in case I've missed it and then buy it from iTunes. I like to pay for my music and iTunes has mountains of tango music now.

The great thing about online music is that you get to sample the first minute for free. I only listen to the first 30 seconds, usually, because I want my dancers to be enthusiastic and if they're not captured in 30 seconds then it's probably not going to happen.

You'll be able to spend happy hours sifting through Donato, Pugliese, Canaro, Troilo, Biagi, Rodriguez, Calo, D'Arienzo...there are soooo many great songs!

The big thing is to…

My Garden of Linkly Delights!

I've been sending out links on a weekly email list for a few years now, as well as to my Sacada TangoFacebook page and the New Zealand Facebook page Tango Dancers.
Many of them were archived into a post on this blog A Few of my Favourite Things where I organised them into coherent groups. This post is where I shall put them in future as an archive. They'll tend to look like a bit of a grab bag but I prefer to think of them as a wilderness garden... ___________________________________________________________________________
After watching far too much choreo this week, even if it’s only a few seconds at a time, it’s nice to watch a bit of Ricardo Vidort
And here’s Ismael Heljalil dancing to No me extraña

Nice timing! Milva Bernardi y Juan Lencina

Oh no...

Tango dre…