Tango Argentino > Leaders should learn to follow

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

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    FWIW, I agree with TJ. Plus, probably the best dancer I ever had a leaders class from, said it is a myth that leaders need to learn how to follow, and then he said that he doesn't follow. I guess that always stuck with me. Still, I will occasionally do followers steps, but just enough to understand them (not to try and get good at following).
  2. Me

    Me New Member

    Huh. Well, maybe we're more progressive here in Mississippi than I thought. I have men who lead each other and fight over who gets to follow. But then again, one of them practices his tango walk in Wal*Mart...
  3. Me

    Me New Member

    Welcome to the DF, tanjive. :)
  4. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Meh, I'm going to go with what Puppy said. Until I find someone who's a better dancer than he that says otherwise. :D
  5. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the DF

    Agreed. Guys do not have to be good follows, but, I do believe that good leads need to understand well the follow's movements and needs.
  6. ant

    ant Member

    So far in my learning the only times that I have found following as a leader to be helpful has been:

    - when I practice with another guy, I don't have to be as careful as if I was practicing with a woman. But as a quid pro quo I have to take my turn at following.

    - gender balancing in a class

    - if I attend a more basic level class because of who is teaching, it can make that class more interesting if I follow

    As regards understanding the dance from a followers point of view, the only areas this view seems to apply are

    - realising how difficult it is for a follower. I would have thought a leader would already have respected this position and it should only take one or two times as a follower to find this out

    - understanding how difficult a particular movement is or if you are leading a move in a way that the follower does not like. In both of these situations you should feel the problem in the embrace and you are then in a position to correct the problem anyway. The odd time when a further understanding of the problem is aided by following are rare and very specific.

    Based upon feedback I have had from followers that lead, other than to even up numbers in local communities their main motivation has been to bring there own intgerpretation of the music to the dance, which is something they find more difficult to do as a follower.

    I notice among teachers that there are many lady teachers who are great followers and very good leaders but I come across a male teacher that I can say is a very good follower rarely. The one or two that can, that I have come across for their own individual reasons are genereally followers anyway.
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    The point is neither of these things. It is simply that if one better understands what the follow is to feel/do, then one who is educated enough will know what is necessary to accommodate such.
    Yes.There is not an equitable reason for a follow to lead, other than to intend to teach at some point.
  8. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Absolutely. While I agree most guys dont need to (or want to) become great followers, I think its definitely worth becoming adequate or even "good" in that role.

    Let's face it, the first time us leads try to follow, it's usually an unmitigated disaster. So we dont try again for a while. Then you find - hey, actually, there arent that many opportunities to practise following anyway. Especially with good leaders. So you usually remain at that "rubbish" level and you never get good at following.

    I think therefore it takes concerted time and effort for leaders to become even adequate at following. Becoming great is so unlikely that it is hardly worth worrying about.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i agree with this; I;ve never learnt to follow but as a teacher I need to know how the follower responds and to sort out a couple to find out if the problem lies with the lead or follow. It is better to play one musical instrument well than two badly; but the occasional bit of following in a practica or class will give you some understanding of how it is to receive a clear lead.

    But I can follow, but it just happened no one taught me.
  10. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Well, shouldn't it be obvious that a six-year old Nepali kid who's been trained from birth would be better at something that's part of Nepali culture than an expat Yank would be?
  11. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    this does bring up another point about learning the other role.

    I happen to believe that, especially for people who are or want to teach, it would be next to impossible to diagnose problems properly without some adequate understanding of how it feel to do the "other side". If a leader who teaches doesn't follow, or doesn't even follow adequately, I'd say it'd be pretty hard for them to tell where a problem is coming from, or even if the problem is from their own lack of ability in the other role.

    As I said before, I don't believe that just because you can lead a particular step would imply automatically you know how to follow it, nor have the reverse be true. You'd have to train your muscles for the "other side" in both cases.
  12. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Yes, for me, this is the point. I can follow, pretty well, and I was never taught, but I have no desire to be a follower. I just think it's important for leaders to understand the lead/follow situation from both viewpoints.

    It's something like physicians who have been patients have become improved physicians, by understanding the patients viewpoint.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Then I'd have to say about the same for someone who grows up in an "Argentine Tango culture".
    How often this happens now a days, and how much we can emulate the same mannerisms, etc, is what is in question.
    With substantial, sustained effort, I think it's possible to get there.
    I wonder though, because, as another example, when I get tired, or have a few drinks, my Western Pennsylvania accent becomes noticable. "You can take the boy out of McKeesport, but..."

    The leader on our trip repeatedly complemented my rudimentary Nepalese, which I spent two months studying before the trip.
    I'd like to think I have a decent, rather than comical, head waggle, too.
    I'd like to think the same about my tango.
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    In a word - empathy.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Exactly. Being a patient doesn't necessarily help the doctor diagnose illnesses any faster, but it does help with his empathy.
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It is now being documented that there are actual, measureable, effects that result from, let's call it, being treated differently, that can influence the outcome of treatments.
    So, all other things being equal, an empathetic doctor could/should be a better doctor as measured by the outcome(s) of his/her care.
  17. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    And I is a witchdoctor!
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Agreed, however being a patient is not the only way for a doctor to acquire empathy.

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