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

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... ___________________________________________________________________________ Pablo Estigarribia on orchestra styles Tango Tips and Tricks

Irene Yung and the embrace

The changing face of the BA milongas

Lucas Antonisse has a really interesting blog

Tango Cherie on hero worship...

Choreography or not? (a beginner's guide)

I recently got drawn into a tango blog discussion as to whether a tango demo was a video or not. They said it was improv, I disagreed, and suddenly I was called upon to justify my view with evidence and tempers were starting to flare. A bit of an over-reaction but that's the world of tango blogs for you. People care about this stuff. A lot.

Rather than publish it there I thought that I'd publish my beginners guide here, instead.

At the outset I probably need to say that I don't like watching demos, although I appreciate that they're great as a means of drawing new people into tango, and motivating people to improve. However I was sidetracked for a few years by perceiving demos as examples of good dancing.  I see many dancers here and overseas in the same situation, so I now see demos as simply a diversion.  A bit like ballet, another dance that doesn't push my button.

I also won’t be linking to any demo videos as I don’t want to pick on anyone in particular as you’…