Tango Argentino > Leaders should learn to follow

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by AndaBien, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    You should count yourself lucky we're not talking about something totally unrelated by now. :p
  2. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    But that just means you've encountered some experienced followers, who've learned to lead.

    It doesn't mean that learning to lead has helped those followers more than (say) spending the same amount of time learning to follow better. Although, admittedly, I'm not sure how you could prove that one way or the other.

    That was a massive shock for me too, I can tell you. Mind you, we dance in London. :(
  3. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    re leading and floorcraft; they should get those ornithological scientists to figure out how 3 million starlings can fly without bumping into each other then go and teach it to Londoners
  4. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    IME, women leading men is much more different than women leading women and men leading men.
  5. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Exactly- that is part of a leaders skillset.

    To answer the question put to me as to why I thought that my following didn't help all that much in my learning to lead, well, that is certainly part of it at the start.

    It was (and sometimes still is) very daunting to me to try and lead in VERY crowded situations, though less now than 2 1/2 years ago when I started leading. (I don't lead all that often.)

    However, the thing that most led me to the conclusion that leading is a different skillset is that things I already knew how to do subconsciously (things having to do with dissociation and torso rotation) I had to relearn from the leaders perspective. It obviously doesn't follow that just because I knew how to follow an ocho that I would know how to lead one. I may have picked it up a little faster than a complete beginner because I already had some dance experience and knew the concept behind it, but I still had to train the muscles just like a beginner would.

    I feel like my other half went through the same thing when he first started following. He was (hopefully he'll forgive me if he reads this) pretty hard to move about. :) I find his connection now better than some of the ladies in the area I have tried to lead lately and he follows better than a good chunk of them now, I think. But he still had to go through that awkward time to get there.

    Just as an aside, he lurked through this thread and also commented that he considered following a different skillset also, and a very helpful one. Already leading may have helped him some, but he still had to work through the "feeling" of what leads feel like from the other side just as any new follow would.

    Now we both consider it necessary to have at least a rudimetary understanding of what each other is doing escpecially regarding complicated ideas and we try more and more to learn a little about the other role when learning advanced materials.
  6. bastet

    bastet Active Member


    Men's center of gravity seems to be in a different spot and they are also generally jsut a lot bigger!

    I've always had an easier time leading ladies, even at the start of learning to lead and my other half had a much easier time following men, who are already nearer his size or mass.
  7. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I would also make one other comment reagarding the negative view portrayed by some of follows who learn to lead and having it affect their dancing (whatever that means).

    One question I think you'd have to ask yourself...well, one of several...

    1- What was their following like before they learned leading- good or bad?
    2- why did they learn to lead (because they weren't getting dances? because they were bored?)
    3- did they continue to train as follows after learing to lead?

    I personally, never stopped training as a follow, just because I wanted to learn to lead. Following is my main task in the dance. Even when I lead, I try to incorporate some of what I do as a follow, which is try to listen intently to my partner and where they are and what they need. But when I lead I also incorporate the idea of decisiveness and strong intent when I am connected to someone.

    Follows are also taught this idea as "active following". The idea that you don't wait for a lead to push you around like a piece of furniture. When they give you a clear signal, you go with the intent to match them and their decisiveness, as if it were also your idea to go where they have requested. And I don't mean this in the "the follower is running away sense" where they aren't grounded, but in the grounded and dynamic sense.

    Perhaps you should also consider that a follow who becomes more powerful and present in her following may feel threatening to a lead who is unaccustomed to it.

    For instance, I know a lady in the area who is a professional tango dancer. She is all fire, all the time- very powerful! She leads and follows. A lead I know danced with her socially and so did my other half and they were discussing how disconcerted they felt with all that power in front of them...then they got used to it.

    Something to think about?
  8. Me

    Me New Member

    I think everybody should learn both sides... we do this in life all the time- Why not in dance? We learn in time that we cannot have healthy relationships with people if we have no idea of how what we say or do makes them feel. The same applies to dance, IMO.

    Learning the other role also provides a valuable lesson in the importance of dancing your own role well. A lead who learns follow now knows what it feels like to be slung into a boleo or how it feels to have his back twisted. A follow who learns lead now knows how it feels to haul a 500lb bag of sand across the floor, or the frustration of having your partner dance off without you. We are told not to do things, and we are told why not to do these things, but we always seem to learn better from experience, no?
  9. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    exactly- I think this is what the biggest help learning to lead gave me- better insight in to the problems the leader faces. Technical issues more so than being able to do an ocho better just because I learned to lead one- different muscles and skills used on each side of the embrace...my other half says the same of learning to follow.
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    And should we be wearing stilettos when we follow!

    I have been threatened with this by one follower but I'm not going shopping for ladies shoes for myself and most ladies seem to have smaller feet than mine.
  11. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Ghost has bought himself a pair of women's shoes. I've seen them.

    I'll get a vid up from the next TPG meeting... :)
  12. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Surely, raised and immersed in the culture that produced the music in the first place has a giant effect on the dancer or singer. ..it goes for Spanish/gypsy Flamenco singers and dancers, too.
    I will be looking for YouTube videos of Amerikan and Euro dancers in order to prove myself wrong that yes, they too can have that Argentine feel to their dance... meanwhile, if you find one first, please post it.
  13. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Yes Jan, you can expect to be attacked for spreading such political incorrectness....Alito sounds like a very wise person to me...a Mister Natural so to speak. I often wince before telling others (North Amerikans) that I'm in this dance for the Music and the Embrace...I use the euphamism 'Connection' because I'm chicken to say "Embrace"....they will look at me funny, think that I'm hard-up or a prevert. :sad: Thank goddess that there is still a place where a person can say that men and women are different and that their embrace es unico y insolito.:ladiesma:
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yes. Immersion and understanding of the culture. Which can be done through learning. It has nothing to do with where one is born, although it makes it easier to attain that immersion and cultural understanding.

    That said, there's also nothing wrong with people bringing their own cultures into the dance.
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    It's nothing to do with the political incorrectness. I don't think anyone expects two women dancing, or a woman leading a man, or two men dancing to be the same and have the same energy as a man and a woman dancing together. They're separate, unique, wholly different things...which are equally, if differently beautiful.

    As for being in it for the embrace, or "connection"... While I love a good embrace as much as the next person, and cherish that feeling of "snuggling in" when it's really good, and the feeling of utter relaxation and being completely protected in a good embrace...yeah, definitely count me creeped out by someone who says that they're in it for the embrace. IMO, being in it for the feelings and comfort created by a good embrace (physical comfort, feelins of connectedness and safety) is entirely different than being it for the embrace itself. Yes, that just sounds like you're in it for a cheap feel, which I gather is not what you mean. It's got nothing to do with the idea of men and women being different, or not.
  16. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    You know- I've thought a lot over the last 4 1/2 years on that "Argentine's have a better embrace" and "No one moves like an Argentine" and have come to some conclusions.

    I do like the ease which I tend to see in most of the videos I see of good Argentine couples dancing.

    If you recall the whole clap trap threads we've had about Argentine tango and "mysteriousness". I think it fits in with that, but not because there is something inherently "mysterious" that only an Argentine could master, but it comes down to immersion, to some degree, and what I have found as a distinct lack of ability of Argentine teachers I have had to be able to verbalize a nuanced point.

    The embrace was my latest experience with this. My other half and I were having lessons with an Argentine couple who dance socially in BsAs, and we wanted to finesse our embraces a little more.

    I spent 3 days trying to get them to explain a point in the embrace that they didn't explain to my other half, but that I could FEEL every time I got in to an embrace with either one of them.

    I think Argentines tend to do certain things that just become a part of their dance that they forget about, and then don't mention and so it acquires that "mysterious" quality- not because it actually is mysterious, but because it becomes so second nature they forget to tell you about it.

    I have a feeling the "cadencia" issue is much the same. If someone could come up with the right way to ask an Argentine the question about it, the mystery would probably be solved, or at least less of a mystery.
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I have lived there, and have known many argentines who not only do not have a good embrace, but do not... can not dance tango, at all. This business of no one dances like / embraces like / feels like / senses like / interprets like / bla bla bla like an argentine is complete BS.

    Bastet's point about immersion is a good one. Can not a non-native person learn to speak spanish like a native? Can not a non-native love / appreciate / learn / become engulfed in / become adept in / become an accepted member / expert in a foreign culture? Of course.
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

  19. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    We disagree here that's for sure. Learning about a culture and being raised a part of it are quite different.:artsy:
  20. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    No, you are mistaken about me. Yes, I am in it for the feel..but it's you who calls it "cheap"... Should I marry the woman and make it "expensive"?:raisebro:

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