Tango Argentino > To the followers: Is dancing with beginners still enjoyable?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by gregolam, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    I understand that this might have alot to do with individual taste, but I am just curious whether or not in general followers feel one way or the other. I am progressing along very well considering a few setbacks (GF quit because she didnt like it and my other dance partner is too far away to practice with regularly) but I am still highly critical of myself, though mostly because I am an perfectionist. Alot of the women are trying to push me to stay for the practicas because they want me to stay and dance with them, and I am told I have great musicality, so I am least confident that what I am doing now I am at least doing well.

    Do the more experienced followers still enjoy dancing with a beginner who does not have a very well developed repertoire of moves, but who does the moves they know well? There are not any beginners followers in the tango community I am in, and although I am thrilled with my personal progress I am still tentative about jumping into practicas for fear of boring the more skilled followers because I do not know more advanced moves yet. I am not thinking about milongas at all right now because I am sure there is at least a different standard there.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is enjoyable to dance with beginners. But...generally for very different reasons than why it is enjoyable to dance with advanced (however defined) leaders.

    Even a beginner can do what they do well. Simple steps--forward, side, back, in place, rock steps--can be combined in interesting ways and made to fit the music. Interesting musicality with simple steps is always enjoyable.

    It is always enjoyable (to me, at least) to dance with a beginner who is insecure...and to see them smile when the find some confidence. I begin that dance with them knowing what (not) to expect, so I'm not looking for technique and repertoire and nuance like I'd expect in a more advanced lead. More simply put, the bar is lower. But so often that's coupled with so much insecurity. It's not entirely altruistic of me, but I like encouraging those leads and welcoming what they have to give and feeling them relax and gain confidence. Yes, we really can feel that.

    Long story short...it's enjoyable. Not so much for the dancing itself, which can be good, but for the interaction.

    Don't worry so much about your situation. Go to a milonga. Don't let it become a bigger Scary Thing in your mind than it needs to be. Go, enjoy yourself, try...most people are very kind.
  3. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    I’m not a dancing as follower but I have it from the mouth of some very experienced or professional dancing females:

    1.) They prefer a respectful beginner, with a decent, smooth and not to hesitant lead over any “advanced” show off, who drags them through 1000 acrobatic figures. While dancing with a beginner an experienced follower can create a very challenging interpretation of the music by adding tiny embellishments. So fast and tiny that the leader won’t even feel them. Dancing with a very experienced dancer, who might change direction and rhythm frequently, women often lack the possibility to use their full repertoire of little tricks.

    2.) Moreover, a excellent follower can make a beginner look good and it is fun to give joy.

    3.) Finally, many men are afraid to ask extremely well dancing women for a dance. So even when they are excellent dancers they will have quite a lonely evening. Those women are only ask by men with high self-assurance, unfortunately those men are sometimes not to critical about their dancing skills. See 3.

    So, even being a beginner, you might be a welcome "sparring partner" in your community.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    THAT's what I was trying to say. Very well put.
  5. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    I do get that followers as forgiving as you will also enjoy it for the experience of helping a new follower hit a good connection, but what about the ones that don't really get a kick out of that? What about the followers who show up without any interest in showing a developing milonguero the ropes?

    I am a little better than just the basic steps and a rock step. I can do all of the basic steps, go in and out of cross, lead forward and backward ochos in at least 4 different places so far, and a not quite clean molinette/giro in 2 places. With the exception of the last move, I have the rest down to the point where it doesnt look shaky or insecure, and I feel comfortable enough to use those moves in a decent variety of mostly smooth combinations. I hesitate when I forget to think about what I want to do next, but thats pretty much the worst thing I do right now and its not that often. Combined with fairly solid musicality, would all this be enough to make for an enjoyable dance even for some of the more discriminating followers?
  6. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that many more discriminating follows are probably going to be looking at your musicality and embrace before they look at how many steps are in your repertoire if you're clear and solid in leading what you already know...just a guess...but if you look at the thread from a few days ago about "exquisite dances", probably you'll see follows more often than not, mention embrace and musicality before "large vocabulary" and I'd hazard a further guess that if follows are asking you not to leave the practica, so they can dance with you...there must be some reason for it. :)
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'd say you aren't a beginner anymore. :D

    Well, except to the extent that we are all beginners forever. :rolleyes:
  8. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    A quick distinction that I would like to make is that I am assured enough to ask the better followers to dance, but critical enough that I want to make sure I have the right tools before I do. Hands down my favorite part of this dance is giving joy as you guys so aptly put it, so I probably won't be having fun unless I know my partner is also.
  9. mkjohnson

    mkjohnson Member

    I've only been dancing just under a year - so I may not fall into the category of follower you're asking about. But I can tell you my experience.

    I had a tanda about a month ago with a gentleman that had started classes two weeks before. Tango is the only dance he's tried. My dance with him was one of the best that night because he loved the music and I could feel it. We walked, rock-stepped etc - but not even anything as complicated as the cross. All I truly need from a leader to enjoy my dance with him, is to really connect with the music and to me. If a leader loves the music, it's in every part of his dance and I can feel that. If he's bored by the music, or feels no connection to it - I can feel that too.
  10. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I don't think you'll really know til you try...but if you make the focus your partner and the music...I think it'll go alright.
  11. gregolam

    gregolam Member

    Actually, just from what I have heard so far I think I should be safe even if I just perfect my current moves and keep advancing my embrace and musicality. I just wanted an unbiased opinion from you guys to make sure.

    Thanks everyone! I think I'm gonna take the plunge and just start sticking around for actual dances.
  12. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    Take out the molinette, throw in an ocho cortado and a sacada and you god most of the things those admired milongueros do on the crowded dance floor (and I’m not to sure about the sacada even). When those steps are done with the right dynamics and punctuation and you start to play with the rhythm, you'll end up with quite an enjoyable and challenging dance. Exploring your musicality is a big plus and by far more important than learning moves.

    Not, that I don’t like all those fancy steps - I’ll admit I love stage tango - but when the space gets smaller so does the usable repertoire.
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    IMO, you get better more quickly by going to practicas (and even milongas), along with the classes. The floorcraft will be the biggest challege at first, but you'll quickly find things that you will want to focus on and improve on, along with what you are comfortable with.

    Go for it!!!
  14. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I was dancing with advanced follower that is also music teacher.
    I didn't make many moves, but she liked my interpretation of music.
    IMO Enjoying the music and embrace of the partner are the most important things in tango.

    I wasn't such a beginner, but I was in CE.
    I learned first OE and later introduced in CE.
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    What he said.
  16. Temza

    Temza Member

    Dancing with people who have good musicality is very enjoyable. The level of their experience is irrelevant.
  17. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Gregolam, welcome to DF!

    Try this--> It's about leading: "The Intricacy of simplicity"
  18. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    When I was a real beginner (had 2 lessons)
    My teacher told me that she likes when leaders go on a beat.

    If you use what you have and use musicality every lady would enjoy.
    Don't forget syncopation and pauses, double slow and double fast rhythm.
    Just play with the music.

    You must know that I generally dance simple things, and only experiment with a few they I know very well.
  19. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I've know beginner leaders who would only dance with other beginners, and they wondered why their dance was at a beginners level. Then when they began dancing with better followers, they found out that they, themselves, were better dancers than they had know. More experienced dancers are usually much easier to dance with. I had the same experience myself, years ago.

    Also, there are some things that can only be learned on the dance floor. You'll never learn them in a class or practica. Sure, some things might go wrong, but that's part of the process.

    Take heart. Go for it. Have a good time.
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    The short answer is YES :)
    What makes it enjoyable? Same things that make it enjoyable at any "level" : sincerity of the partner, nice embrace, love and respect for the music, ground-ness, connection.
    The repertoir of steps is not important. It is not what you do, but how you do it, how it feels.
    From my experience, the biggest problem dancing with beginners (and most often a deal-breaker for me) would be their navigation skills. But on the other hand, it is a very common problem throughout all "levels" anyway.

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