Height difference; avoid, open embrace, or some other strategy?

#1
If you are a leader, what are your strategies for dancing with a shorter follower, or a taller one - or do you simply avoid dancing with shorter or taller followers?

If you are are a follower, what are your strategies for dancing with a shorter leader, or a taller one - or do you simply avoid dancing with shorter or taller leaders ? Or do you take your cue from the leader?

Cheers,
 
#2
I have to break my response in two parts. The first part is about courtesy and making people feel welcome. The second part is about technique. On the first part...as a newbie to the dance (of about 2.5 years, I find that it can be very difficult, frustrating, and makes you feel like crap when nobody expresses interest in you. I've attended a number of milonga's in cities to which I've traveled on business and when someone (anyone!) reaches out to you to make you feel welcome, it's such a nice feeling. And, I'm speaking as a leader. For followers, I think it can be worse if you don't fit the mold of young, pretty, and/or a great dancer. So, in answer to part of your question, I do not support the 'avoidance' technique. If everyone did that, you might pass up an opportunity to get to know a very nice person. I do understand that leaders don't show up to milongas to do charity work and dance with those they might not otherwise dance with, but I'd like there to be more inclusion and reaching out to new folks as part of the milonga culture. So, yes...ask those who might be different. Ok, now I'll get off my soapbox.

On the subject of technique, I'd say do whatever is comfortable. Big differences in height, weight, body types (guys with big paunches or ladies with large busts) will necessitate adaptation. Close embrace is nice if one can communicate through the embrace, but if it doesn't work, I'd say go to open. I've danced with a number of followers who are very short and close embrace would not have worked. My adaptation is to dance open. I keep my left hand about at their mouth height so they are not uncomfortable with the reach, and I keep my right hand on their back and provide a firm but not uncomfortable embrace.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#3
In my experience the height of the followers does not make too much of a difference - the only real problem with height that i experience is when dancing close embrace with much taller followers because i can't see enough to navigate even when turning a lot - i tend to do some open embrace stuff like a sandwich and stepover once in a while to have an opportunity to look around. Other problems tend to be just the same problems as when dancing in a couple with the "ideal" heights, they are maybe a bit amplified and it is more difficult to fake ones way out of them, but overall i would say if the skill level is identical height is only a minor concern.

P.S. there is actually one thing - the geometry of both leader and follower saccadas can change if her legs are a lot shorter/or longer than mine, so there is some vocabulary that one needs to be carefully thought about, but as i don't tend to dance these before i have a good idea how the follower moves and we are in synch this hasn't been a problem for me yet.
 

jantango

Active Member
#5
It feels so good dancing with a partner who is the perfect height for me. Tango is danced "cheek to cheek." I don't dance with tall men. Cheek to chest isn't the same. Having my left arm vertical for three minutes isn't comfortable.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#6
It feels so good dancing with a partner who is the perfect height for me. Tango is danced "cheek to cheek." I don't dance with tall men. Cheek to chest isn't the same. Having my left arm vertical for three minutes isn't comfortable.
Although I do dance with women who are significantly shorter than I am, I have to admit, there is something really special (and unique) about the head contact when dancing tango.

FWIW, I do lower my hand, to try to make things more comfortable for the women.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#7
I don't turn down dances because of height. Sure, I'd rather dance cheek to cheek, but I can have a good time without it, too. If I can dance in close embrace, I do. If I can't, I dance in open. I am fortunate in that I am able to enjoy myself in a wide range of circumstances--differing dance styles, music, venue, leaders, atmosphere.
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#9
Since I am 188 cm (6'2"), I rarely dance with taller followers. :cool:

When dancing in close embrace with shorter followers I try to make my steps shorter, and to have more vertical posture (open embrace), but I remain as sensitive and delicate in close embrace. ;)

I used to dance more with properly tall women, but recently out of curiosity I started to dance with shorter ones, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The feeling is different, but due the positive energy and plesant dancing I like it very much.
 

TomTango

Active Member
#10
When I dance with a shorter follower in close embrace, I try to lead from a lower spot. So my stomach becomes my new chest. If I try to lead with my chest I end up feeling like I'm toppling over my follower.
 

jantango

Active Member
#11
When I dance cheek to cheek, it's also heart to heart. It's not the same for a short woman and tall man. Her head on his chest and her heart on his stomach don't give the same connection.

Many try to make do with the situation. That's fine. I need more than a good time.
 
#12
I think the beauty of Tango, as opposed to so many other dances, is that it is open to interpretation. Yes, dancing cheek to cheek is wonderful, but dancing with someone whose body you have to adjust to can be a great adventure. That said, sometimes it may not work, but you won't find out unless you try. Also, in my experience it can be very uncomfortable and even frustrating to dance with someone who is the right height for you. It all depends on the dancers.
 
#13
When I looked at the pictures, I noticed that the most followers are a half head taller than me but my experience is that we are of equal length. The only restriction for the taller followers is that I have forbidden them to rest their chin on the top of my head. :)
If possible I dance in open abrazo and if we do not have the space I advance in the line of dance but I keep my back more or less towards the center of the pista to have some visibility.
 
#14
Since I am 188 cm (6'2"), I rarely dance with taller followers. :cool:

When dancing in close embrace with shorter followers I try to make my steps shorter, and to have more vertical posture (open embrace), but I remain as sensitive and delicate in close embrace. ;)

I used to dance more with properly tall women, but recently out of curiosity I started to dance with shorter ones, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The feeling is different, but due the positive energy and plesant dancing I like it very much.
Matching tall dancers is a sublime experience;)
 
#15
A woman's height, in itself, isn't a problem. Her height with BAD FRAME causes problems. I'm short. When a woman stretches her right arm as possible, she puts pressure on my left shoulder and it feels she's going to dislocate it. I'm not going to dance in pain so I (1) force her arm downward so she's not pushing on my shoulder or (2) let go of her hand and embrace her bicep.

Those aren't ideal choices but I'm not going to sacrifice my shoulder for her dancing pleasure.

Last night, a woman two inches shorter than me pushed on my shoulder so I took self-preservation measures.

 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#16
It's simply a matter of comfort ability for either or both. The Lead must be able to comfortably embrace the Follow in such a manner as to provide a suitable lead, and the Follow must be able to do the same re following. It is pointless to say that the techniques of both dancers should well enough to adapt. If not, perhaps it is better to decline the dance for the moment en lieu of a later practica (if possible) to see if the dance will be compatible enough for a milonga.
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#17
If you are a leader, what are your strategies for dancing with a shorter follower, or a taller one - or do you simply avoid dancing with shorter or taller followers?
I avoid the shorter ones. I don't mind the taller ones, but if there is a tall guy available then I will not invite.
 
#18
I am short and I do prefer dancing with men who are closer to my height. If the man is more than a foot taller than me I find it awkward. I wouldn't turn down a dance for this reason though. I do find that certain moves work better when there is a height match. And close embrace works better also.

My regular dance partner is about a foot taller than me and he complains that dancing with shorter follows causes his back to hurt because he bends over. Does anyone else have that problem?

He has asked me to wear the highest heels I can find to help balance our height difference. Has anyone else tried this?
 
#19
.

My regular dance partner is about a foot taller than me and he complains that dancing with shorter follows causes his back to hurt because he bends over. Does anyone else have that problem?
He's NOT supposed to bend over. He should lower his frame so that his arms are at YOUR shoulder level.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#20
I am short and I do prefer dancing with men who are closer to my height. If the man is more than a foot taller than me I find it awkward. I wouldn't turn down a dance for this reason though. I do find that certain moves work better when there is a height match. And close embrace works better also.

My regular dance partner is about a foot taller than me and he complains that dancing with shorter follows causes his back to hurt because he bends over. Does anyone else have that problem?

He has asked me to wear the highest heels I can find to help balance our height difference. Has anyone else tried this?
As a taller guy, I will bend over if she is in range to make it work. However, if the difference is too great, then I will abandon trying to bend over at all, and simply lower my arms, and embrace where ever we line up. A couple times, the difference was so great, that we also exchanged the positioning on my right arm and her left arm (my right arm was above her left arm).
 

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