Dancing with or through your Partner?

tido

New Member
#1
Hi Folks,

How do you guys think/feel about your lead? Do you treat you partner as an extension of your own body? Do you guide her and only follow up to the movements she reacts to? Do you treat your partner as a conduit, to channel ones musical inspiration/interpretation through? Basically the lead providing the drive/direction and your partner taking that direction and responding accordingly, then only following up with the next impulse? Like your follower is a mirror of your intention, where your intention becomes physically visible through her movement. Placing the follower to be seen and admired by everyone, with the leads intention behind it. Not sure if I'm phrasing or expressing myself properly, but something to do with dancing through your partner and not just with your partner.

Cheers,
 
#5
Your question is quite articulate and worthy of an intellectual exercise to find the answer. But, one thing I don't see in your question is the nature of give and take, and to me that's the most important aspect of the two of you in the dance. I almost always think of the dance as a conversation and you both have something to say. Therefore, all this 'extension' of one's self etc. sort of misses the point of the dance. Sure, you want the follower engaged in the conversation such that if you lead a boleo, she/he follows. And, at times you do want to give them the opportunity to be seen or demonstrate their skills, or you to demonstrate your enrosque-lapiz-sacada skills. But even these things are part of the conversation with a give and take.
Dance is an art and their are many aspects to it such as social (dancing with friends) or technical (dancing to improve a skill). So there isn't a single aspect to leading that I can say I expect of my follower other than to try their best (some followers are absolute beginners so there isn't a point of showing how good a leader you are by taking them through moves they can't do). Ultimately, as just a serious social dancer, I'm really looking to be social and have a good time. A follower with a good attitude who tries is what I'm looking for. And the richer their skill set (posture, technique, etc.) the more interesting the conversation. But that isn't the whole picture either as sometimes it's to engage with a beginner, a new person to the milonga or practica, or just to enjoy the connection.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#7
What does that mean thick of things?
To be at the center of attention!
tido said:
..I'd be happy with my partner glowing..
A lot of tangueros simply dance for the reason to cuddle for free, expressed by the mystification of the embrace and the transcendental experience of the connection between the dance partners. That´s not mine. After dancing tango for 17 years, the best dances remain those alone on the dance floor, only connected to me and the music.
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#8
Hi Folks,

How do you guys think/feel about your lead? Do you treat you partner as an extension of your own body? Do you guide her and only follow up to the movements she reacts to? Do you treat your partner as a conduit, to channel ones musical inspiration/interpretation through? Basically the lead providing the drive/direction and your partner taking that direction and responding accordingly, then only following up with the next impulse? Like your follower is a mirror of your intention, where your intention becomes physically visible through her movement. Placing the follower to be seen and admired by everyone, with the leads intention behind it. Not sure if I'm phrasing or expressing myself properly, but something to do with dancing through your partner and not just with your partner.

Cheers,
She's the violin, I am the musician.
 

tido

New Member
#9
She's the violin, I am the musician.
That's helpful. Interesting to think of your partner as an instrument. She is playing what you are composing. Good one! And you get feedback as you compose. Cool stuff.

If you invite s/o - what do you say/think: "please dance with me" or "please let me dance through you"? :cool:
Yes, I'm dancing with my partner. But my question goes deeper, there is a reason why one is the sender (lead/yang), and one is the receiver (follower/yin). We're not the same, :), we're complementary forces.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Your question is quite articulate and worthy of an intellectual exercise to find the answer. But, one thing I don't see in your question is the nature of give and take, and to me that's the most important aspect of the two of you in the dance. I almost always think of the dance as a conversation and you both have something to say. Therefore, all this 'extension' of one's self etc. sort of misses the point of the dance. Sure, you want the follower engaged in the conversation such that if you lead a boleo, she/he follows. And, at times you do want to give them the opportunity to be seen or demonstrate their skills, or you to demonstrate your enrosque-lapiz-sacada skills. But even these things are part of the conversation with a give and take.
One of the things that makes tango (and all art) so interesting, is that there are many ways to approach it. The conversation thing is the most important aspect to you, but to some others it's not that important, and for others, completely unwanted. Obviously, the better someone is at a certain aspect, the more desirable they might be (at least to me), to utilize that aspect.

For me, I will dance very differently, depending on the song, and the follower. A lot of the time, I will try to match what a follower is good at, with how I would like to dance (based on how the music inspires me) to a specific song.
 
#13
She's the violin, I am the musician.
I invite my partner to do something with my mark. She responds. It may not be what I intended at all, but that's generally okay. Then I follow her. I know that is a cliched approach, but it is really the one I take. I try to be especially sensitive to her response to the music, and if she is willing, I try to let her control the speed and musicality of the dance as an equal partner. I am NOT the musician and she the violin. I do NOT "drive her like a car." Or any of those other super macho approaches. We are both dancers, responding to the floor and the music. The only exception is navigation. Either of us may become forceful to stop a collision.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#14
I invite my partner to do something with my mark. She responds. It may not be what I intended at all, but that's generally okay. Then I follow her. I know that is a cliched approach, but it is really the one I take. I try to be especially sensitive to her response to the music, and if she is willing, I try to let her control the speed and musicality of the dance as an equal partner. I am NOT the musician and she the violin. I do NOT "drive her like a car." Or any of those other super macho approaches. We are both dancers, responding to the floor and the music. The only exception is navigation. Either of us may become forceful to stop a collision.
Each to their own . . . but please don't characterise
other ways of dancing so pejoratively.
 
#15
I think "I'm the musician and you're my instrument" (in that order :cool:) is a traditional Argentine approach to Tango. And I suppose that many tangueras would be very pleased if they'd get at least that feeling. :shy:
 
#16
Each to their own . . . but please don't characterise
other ways of dancing so pejoratively.
I apologize if it sounds pejorative. OTOH, my approach is the result of conversations with many younger follows, generally not Argentine, who range from good to excellent, who want to feel as equal participants in the dance. I also think that itwillhappen's remark that "many tangueras would be very pleased if they'd get at least that feeling. :shy:" is possibly on the money.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#17
I apologize if it sounds pejorative. OTOH, my approach is the result of conversations with many younger follows, generally not Argentine, who range from good to excellent, who want to feel as equal participants in the dance. I also think that itwillhappen's remark that "many tangueras would be very pleased if they'd get at least that feeling. :shy:" is possibly on the money.
OK, thanks. This is indeed a very difficult area to convey
in writing without the possibility of misinterpretation. But
using phrases like "super-macho" doesn't help. You know
that is the accusation about Argentine men, and yes their
society is rather more unequal legally than many other
countries but Argentine women aren't weak nor submissive.
Argentine men are not emasculated and the women match
that with spirit, energy and opinions and I rather like them.
But in the dance they enjoy their own role as much as the men
enjoy theirs, they're different but essentially complementary
as in all the best partnerships. Don't misinterpret this, others
may have different opinions (hurriedly adding a disclaimer!).

What the young want, and older people new to any dance,
is not what older and/or more experienced dancers may want
or expect. I learnt most of the archetypal, hackneyed tango
"moves" and, as an experienced dancer of other dances,
I found the result with the available partners unsatisfactory
as a dance. Was it the teacher, the students, or just the style?
Or me perhaps? You can take your pick.

I went looking elsewhere to find the real dance of partnership.
It took much time and effort.

For me, the most important part of a successful social scene
is the existence of sufficient dancers of both complementary
roles for all to have choices. Teachers of organised (sometimes
rather hierarchical) classes, attempting to create their own
"communities", can produce restricted and judgemental dancers.
Anti-social atmospheres can be the result, both in classes
and out of them should they ever reach the milonga stage.
 

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