One of the best indications that a woman is having a wonderful time at tango is her facial expression during the tanda. Some look like they're in a trance, some wear a smile, some are in a sublime and heavenly place.
When women are having a NOT so good time, her expressions will be in stark contrast. She looks bewildered, shocked, confused, annoyed, and sometimes, upset. A myriad of emotions, other than happy. Instead of enjoying the tanda, she's trying to think, analyze, compensate, and figure out what the lead is trying to do.
She needs to FEEL you
Improving one's leading technique increases the chances of your partner's fulfillment during the time spent with you. The lead needs to be unmistakeably clear, concise, deliberate, and vibrant. You need to tell her (without words) what you want to happen.
She needs to understand what you're trying to do without vagueness and ambiguity. You shouldn't talk—She needs to feel you. You need to convey your thoughts, wishes, and intentions with the language of your body. At the same time maintaining balance, fluidity, floor craft, navigation, and musicality. She needs to feel that you care, are confident, and that you will protect her.
When a woman wears facial expressions of apprehension...
- The tentative & hollow lead = Her frustrated look
This happens when the lead is not quite sure of what he wants to do. The leader's lack of confidence is manifested by fizzled leads. He starts something, becomes tentative, the movement fades. The follow snaps out of her concentration and wonders, "What's next?" This causes lapses on concentration on both sides. When the leader does decide to continue, he catches the follow thinking, and an awkward close embrace collision occurs. If this persists throughout the tanda, it becomes extremely frustrating for the follower.
The leader who does NOT use his core as the source of the lead, tends to generate the same frustrated look from her, as the lead dissipates, it causes her to wonder, "Where did you go?"
- The no-technique-step lead = Her baffled (and panicked) look
This type of leader creates a mental and physical challenge for the follow. Especially, when the lead is obsessed with fancy footwork, patterns, and moves while lacking a fundamental understanding of basic technique. The follow gets knocked off her axis and muscled and/or forced into doing goofy stuff. It feels awkward, contrived, sometime dangerous.
"What are you doing?" is the question written on her face.
- The band conductor lead = Her look of annoyance
Followers look annoyed with leaders who dance as if they're conducting a band. Their shoulders pop up and down with their arms pumping with the beat. They generate so much body noise that it obfuscates whatever it is they are trying to lead.
- The wrestler lead = Her shocked look
Several followers have told me that this is one type of people they really don't care for. This happens when the lead heaves the woman around like a sack of potatoes. It hurts them, it shocks them, and is not pleasant by any means.
- The creepy lead = Her terrified look
Several follows have asked me to help them avoid several people before. Because, according to them, "They're creepy."
Their practices of malevolence goes from stroking, roving hands, squeezing, licking, and a lot of other things which infuriates decent tango dancers.
Tango is intimate enough as it is, and these behaviors are simply inexcusable.
Trying to achieve her look of "Bliss"
I would like to kindly refer you (dear reader) to some of my older posts as reference. My blog is all about the leader's steady improvement down the path of making it "All about her."
Her sublime tango look
Pictures courtesy of the masterful eye of Paul Yang's Seattle Tango Magic 2009 album. Thank you Paul!