Tango Argentino > Connection -independent of skill level

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by JTh, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. JTh

    JTh Member

    Has anyone experienced this in AT...
    There are some followers who are very good at AT.(technically great) ..yet I find it very difficult to connect with them when I dance with them- we are totally out of synch, no connection etc. Awkward for both of us and not enjoyable at all.
    Whereas...with most other followers, I have a fantastic connection, we are in synch amd genuinely enjoy each others company. As a result, you bet the dance is on a different level.
    Is this common (I suspect it is), and is it a reflection of me as a leader that I can't lead a small section of followers?
    I've heard that a good lead can make any follower shine.. Anyone.
    On the other hand, I've also heard that it's unrealistic to expect that..that there will always be some followers that you simply are out of tune with no matter how good they and you are.
  2. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    Some follows do their own thing, no matter what. These are people I avoid (in ballroom too).
    dchester and RiseNFall like this.
  3. itwillhappen

    itwillhappen Active Member

    I wouldn't mix up "connection" and a concept like "lead/follow"!
    Connection stays independent at a low level, like balance, and is some kind of non-verbal communication between dancers.
    TA is a complex dance protocol on top, that can gracefully support or carelessly break the connection by lead, posture, steps, musicality and so on.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'm having a hard time reconciling the concept of someone being "very good technically" at Tango and yet being bad at connecting to a partner.

    I'm going to have to assume that you mean it is only YOU that has trouble connecting to them and other leaders rave about them.

    Or are you saying you think they are very good technically because of the way they look when dancing?

    Before I can actually comment productively on this thread, I would need an idea of how you determined that these followers are very good technically or even what you mean by being good technically (as separate from partnering). What's the criteria you are using for evaluation?
  5. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    What Zoopsia said. In what way are they great?
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I suspect he's talking about followers who are quite knowledgeable about all the steps and look good doing them, but yet, you never know where they are going to end up when they do the steps, as they don't seem to be that concerned with the embrace or accompanying the leader. They can be dangerous to dance with when it's crowded, as others leaders think you led her to bump into them. Some of them might as well be dancing by themselves.
    Loki likes this.
  7. JTh

    JTh Member

    Yes this is what I mean... The followers know the technicalities of the steps.. But the Don't follow my lead... Nor do they attempt to connect with me in the embrace, dance etc. I'm referring to connection as a non technical thing...more of a.feeling.
  8. JTh

    JTh Member

    As per my post above and as dchester said...
    And no other leader says they connect well with them either...which is interesting as they do know thr intricacies of the steps
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Ok so there's your answer. Knowing fancy moves doesn't make them good dancers.

    As for whether a good leader can make anyone look good? Your best bet is to just let them do what they want, then don't dance with them again. At least, that's what I do.
    Loki and Lilly_of_the_valley like this.
  10. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Then they are not proficient tango dancers by any means. Since they have no basic idea what their role in the dance is.
    Loki and Zoopsia59 like this.
  11. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I also wish to say, there is a bit of a misconception about connection here. Connection is not a metaphysical thing. It is a technical thing, it is in many ways physics 101, and it may and supposed to be taught.
    There might be, of course, a case when people do know how to connect, trying their best, but just don't mesh. That is another story.
    Loki likes this.
  12. JTh

    JTh Member

    I agree connection has a technical component (balance, posture embrace etc).. But it also has a feelings based component I would think. It could be that as you said we just do not mesh together- and that is manifesting itself in the dance with no feeling, not being able.to be in synch etc...
    I am the leader..they are supposed to be following me (although some moves might not be technically spot on...but I am not a perfectionist - I place more value on being in synch, having fun, and moving well together even if the moves are not fully correct (but definitely close enough in my and instructors views.. But apparently not the followers view).
  13. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I think you have the right attitude. Tango is not about being technically perfect, at least for me. It's about connecting to your partner and moving in harmony to express the music together. If I'm following you, as long I can tell what you want me to do, or you at least act like I did what you wanted, that's my concern. It's how it feels that matters.
  14. JTh

    JTh Member

    Yep..and that's what I'm trying with these followers.. But unless they have what they want (eg stronger weight transfer, they won't even move when it's obvious what I'm trying to do). I understand that the leader is supposed to adjust his game to thr follower... But I would think when it's obvious what needs to be done is done instead of noyhing or a different fancy move on the followers part (not what I intended)..however well executed by the followers.
    With most other (good) followers, we are totally I'm synch. I have adjusted to them and vice versa- they know my dancing style and I know theirs. An unspoken communication is established (mostly with the embrace) between us and this makes it not only well (maybe not perfectly)executed , but also more enjoyable for both of us. If we make mistakes...we have a laugh about it. We are also encouraging of each other...
    Not so with small section of followers as I alluded to in above posts...I get no smiles..no small talk/no jokes, no talk whatsoever... Except a more serious 'do this this way', or 'do that... ' I'm receptive to feedback...but would like to have some fun here as well...it's not like I'm a poor lead. 90% of the followers are fine...it's the 10% that are tough.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    You can have a pleasant dance with someone who only connects to you on the physical level via technique of forming a connection of the bodies. The "feeling" part of the connection can send that good dance over the line into a great dance.

    You can't have a great dance with someone who only connects well on a "feeling" level. It may be fun, but it will be missing the ease of movement that comes with a proper physical connection.

    So I guess to really have a great dance, you need both.

    I believe one of the most important things that provides a good physical connection has to do not only with the individual level of skill each partner has, but the STYLE of connection each partner is going for. Someone who has an amazing connection in milonguero may connect poorly with someone skilled at a pronounced upright V-embrace when neither is flexible in their approach. They may both be skilled and even praised by other dancers, but they just don't adapt well to one another. (IME, followers are better at adapting to the leader's style, because they have to do it all the time just to be asked to dance.)

    I've found that, for myself, one of the most significant factors in meshing/connection on an emotional level is that my partner and I hear the music the same way. We respond emotionally to it the same, but we also find the same things IN the music to express with our movement. The leader's choice of moves make sense to me as interpretation, and my adornments or phrasing don't feel jarring to the leader.

    The leader may surprise me with a completely unexpected move or use of a musical element I hadn't noticed, but it is a pleasant surprise that still makes total sense, even if it opens up the music to me in a new way. If I "hijack" the lead by using different timing than the leader expected, adding an embellishment, or even stepping differently than intended (deliberately), the leader doesn't think "WTF is she doing?". S/he thinks "I see what you did there! Cool!" and maybe even "Wait a sec! I can do THIS to follow what you did, and I never would have thought of it! We just invented a new thing!"

    To me, that's what being really connected and truly in sync in FEELING can bring to the dance. But it's almost impossible to bring that stuff off smoothly without a good physical connection too, along with overall skill in both our roles and as individual tango dancers.

    (of course, there's also the emotional component that is affected by how you feel about the other person outside of dancing, but that part of the "feeling" connection is fairly obvious. It's also not reliable since people who love each other dearly may bicker the entire time they are dancing together!)
    itwillhappen and twnkltoz like this.
  16. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Following also does not consist of recognizing a step that is led and executing it the best one could. When that happens, yes, the partner does not feel that the other is "connected".
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    One thing I truly believe is that you really can't tell how good (or not) you are at leading or following until you dance with total strangers. Not saying anything is wrong with your dancing, just food for thought.

    Eh.. .unless there's some reason you really want to dance with those followers, don't bother. There are so many followers most places that sit more than they would like. Why spend time dancing with those that you don't enjoy? Every time you are subjecting yourself to someone unpleasant, there are 1/2 dozen other possible partners sitting there sadly wishing they could get a dance!
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  18. JTh

    JTh Member

    I should have just taken salsa instead.
    Lol...no headaches with close embrace connection there...:)
    Tango Distance likes this.
  19. JTh

    JTh Member

    I'm taking classes where we rotate partners.. So it will be considered rude if I reject them
  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Agreed. If it's during a class, they are probably trying to dance their part almost as if they don't have a partner. It's not at all uncommon in a class for people to try to execute something as described and not really follow. (Or lead, but that's a different thread. ;))
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.

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