15 January 2009

The combination lock

A combination lock only needs 3 numbers to make it work. Each 3 numbers come from the integers of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Its the combination of these 3 numbers from the 10 integers that make each combination lock unique.

What does this have to do with tango, you may ask? Well, as a leader, this is a lesson I had to learn myself through trial and error.

You do not have to collect and memorize so many steps that you can't do yourself, let alone lead.

Rather, master at least three simple ones that you can do really well (e.g. the walk, an ocho, a giro). Do them right, make them look good. Then, like the combination lock, shuffle them around as the music dictates. Modify their delivery and speed with pauses and hesitations. Suddenly, your 3 can be delivered 10 different ways each. That makes 30 variations of steps you can use. Shuffle their delivery, of course, as the music dictates. That gives you 90 combinations all based on the original three.

Your partner, can read it because you lead it well. She'll enjoy and appreciate that. She won't get bored if you do the simple stuff well to the music, even if you're only using variations of 3 combinations.

You evolve from being a "step collector" to someone who dances tango dynamically. As you get better, progressively add another simple step, and repeat the process. If my math is right, I think the possible combinations based on three is 27,000... Can you imagine the possibilities?

1 comment:

Debbi said...

There is nothing worse, in my opinion as a follower, than a leader who can almost leading everything he is doing - it is painful. But a leader who is musical and has a limited but solid vocabulary is lovely and I will dance with him any time he asks.