Tango Argentino > "Decorations" / "Embellishments" / "Interpretation"

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    Zoopsia59, I have to excuse myself. It really was an unfair generalization.

    Please substitute “most women” with “most of the woman I danced with during my last two years in Berlin, fresh from one of the ever popular embellishment courses and eager to realize it all”. It seems to me, that here most followers are so in love with the technical aspects that they forget to align the movement to the music and the available space.
  2. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    So, you're ok with a lady occasionally taking over the lead?

    ... but you prefer not but are ok as long as it 'fits in' with the rhythm of your dancing...in other words, your partner is trying to tune into you and establish what is 'fair game'?

    Yes, I think so, I think you're saying you don't like women taking over the lead (or 'disrupting the flow' as you see it) as per your comment here:

    On the other hand, taking over the lead is acceptable to some tango dancers...

    Andabien, the 3 categories make sense, and you teacher was also sensible to say that not every leader will appreciate the woman taking the lead.

    You used the word 'forced' - some leaders are happy to have the woman take over the lead. And in that instance surely it is not 'wrong' as they would not perceive it as 'being forced to wait while she is done'. If the leader is not happy then the woman sounds like she is not bothering to 'tune in' but that does not mean that 'taking over the lead' is de facto wrong.

    And then again, is the man really forced to wait? Not being a leader, I don't know - but can he not re-establish the lead by using his body, perhaps by taking her off her central axis a little and then re-establishing the walk or something?

    There are hardly any 'absolutes' and it's all about trying to tune in to the person you are dancing with, surely? We don't always get it pitch perfect but I don't see how you can justify saying one way is either right or wrong if both parties are happy.

    Of course, I concede there is the important question of 'how' and the degree of it - your lady doing umpteen moves sounds way over the top. But would you object, say, to a lady providing a little more impetus to a molinete, for example? It seems to me this move is open to interplay where the woman can provide some momentum and it's quite subtle, and does not disrupt the lead too much.
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Forced? Not in my opinion. I can usually assume the lead whenever I want to, even if I have to assert myself a bit. Sometimes my partner will be happy to submit to my lead, knowing that I am going to give her definite leads according to my intention. (She submits because she is willing to, not because I force her to). And, I enjoy it when my partner gives me something back, but only when the situation is just right. A little spice is fine, and I am responsive to it.

    I once had a partner who insisted on doing an embellishment on my right ankle every dang time I led a forward ocho to her right. It was incessant and aggravating. I didn't dance with her again.
  4. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    To me, "taking over the lead" is quite different from embellishments that do not change what I am leading. I try to lead a specific step (or move) along with a specific rhythm (or timing).

    Example: If I pause, and the follower does circles with her free foot, that does not interfere or take over my lead. The same applies if I lead a step and the follower gets in a toe tap (or whatever) while doing what I led, (and at the rhythm I led). These are embellishments that fit in with what I am leading, and are fine by me.

    Taking over the lead (which is annoying for me), is when the follower ignores what I am leading (either the step or the timing), and does what she feels like instead. My first thought is often that my lead was unclear, and I modify how I lead the move, or I stop leading the particular move. (Although there is a situation when this is good, such as to avoid a collision, or some other safety reason when the follower sees something the the leader can not.)
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Moral of the story, ladies: you never can tell. Some guys like hijacking, some guys want to be in total control, some guys like somewhere in the middle. Damned if you...damned if you don't. Until you figure out who is who and dance appropriately.

    Ahhh, tango...! :)
  6. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Thanks Andabien and dchester - good to hear your views and experiences as leaders.

    Yup, 'taking over the lead' diff from embellishments - however, the thread moved over into displeasure at women turning embellishments into 'taking over the lead' so it got my interest piqued.

    that was my feeling as I said. I would like to hear the other leader's who felt they were 'forced' respond here.

    Are you sure she wasn't playing 'footsie' and flirting with you? ;)

    Hehe! Yup!! :)

    I was rather taken aback my the strength of feeling from the men here on the topic.

    I personally only very occasionally take over the lead, and I 'test' the guy out first, if he takes up the cudgels, then I might go for it, but this is a rare event. In other words, I hint, then he gives me 'permission'. Most times, though, the urge to 'do my own thing', I take it as the god's way of telling me to go to a Northern Soul all nighter ;)
  7. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    FWIW, if a follower does something that I find annoying, that doesn't mean I will avoid dancing with her. I'm aware that there are different opinions on some of this stuff, and that some teachers do say it's OK for the follower to have an "active role" (AKA take over the lead), even if it's not my philosophy.

    I do tend to avoid followers if they have different philosophies from me AND they complain about things I am doing that they don't like. BTW, some followers actually know how to make constructive criticism without being rude or patronizing, but unfortunately not all have this skill.
  8. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member


    I am not stuck in the paradigm where, "I'm the lead, therefore, I'll be followed." Leading and following in tango is not as black and white as it seems. It is more dynamic, based on the skill level of the participants. There is such a thing as "Active following," where the follower will and does embellish and interpret the music to her preference.

    A dynamic lead would pick up on this and assimilate it into his leading, making it a part of the whole, rather than just stick with one's own idea of a lead. It makes for a very beautiful and dynamic exchange of lead-follow. It's kinda like a real-time healthy relationship where the interaction is not strictly lop-sided in one or the other's favor. Rather, the roles are clear, but there is an interchange of interaction between the two.

    It makes for a new experience every single time... even from the same follower.
  9. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Bravo, Amps! I am in full agreement. probably a good time to mention 'Passive Leading / Interpretation', as well. For those who might not know, ...a lead by permission rather than by action, and a follow by interpretation rather than by reaction. Amps, your second paragraph applies here, as well.
  10. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I guess the problems I have with hijacking are twofold:

    1. It's non-consensual.
    If I allow time and space for interpretation, that's one thing. If my follower decides to grab that time by herself, that's not what I'm trying to do, and it disrupts my focus and my harmony.

    2. It's rarely done well
    Most followers can't lead well. They can't seamlessly take the lead. And finally, they can'r seamlessly transfer control back once they've finished - they just expect leaders to pick up the slack and try to restore some order to the dance.

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