30 September 2009

I write this blog...

I write this blog because this tango journey of mine has taught me so much life experiences that has brought so much value to my life. Great friends, lovely memories, an art form that I can be reasonably good at, food, wine, a rich social life, etc. All of them things to cherish and relish.

I write this blog to share my experiences from the dance floor. Because, tango is such a beautiful thing that maybe someone, somewhere, somehow will be encouraged to check this tango thing out... and get hooked.

I write this blog because tango is one of the most difficult and (simultaneously) beautiful hobbies I have ever indulged in, that I thought there should be a record of it somewhere.

I write this blog because, as a leader, my learning process has been long and hard. I want others to avoid the mistakes I've made.

I write this blog because I want to add value to a leader's skill-set. Not because I care for the leaders, but because I care for the beautiful followers who have to put up with us. The better we lead, the better the followers' tanda.

I write this blog dear friend, amigo, ami, tomodachi, tovarich, and kaibigan, so we can all learn from each other and spread the dance and the skill of this wonderful tango experience to others. We need more, and better leaders on the milonga floor. There is not enough of us.

I write this blog as a thank you for my heavenly tango partners who have allowed me the privilege of a tanda. Without you, I am nothing and "Tango" is just a word.

14 September 2009

"Thank you" for my very special tanguera

I was at my favorite milonga this weekend. As I briefly watched the floor, a thought just dawned on me...

I have had the pleasure of dancing the tango with you from the very first time you set foot on a milonga floor, up to the present day.

I have felt your progression through your first ever dance. I've felt your development as you went from teacher to teacher. I've felt your progression from my bearing your full weight, to you finding your own balance. I've felt you evolve from being a heavy stepper to walking as if you were on rollers. I've felt your brain tick as they you try to figure out what was being led, to seemingly mind-melding and responding with instantaneous responses. I've felt you go from a nervous, sometimes terrified hold to an embrace only a consummate tanguera can do. I've seen you go from a wallflower to someone I can no longer get a tanda with because someone else always cabeceo's you before I.

To you, I thank you. I thank you for hanging in there and suffering through the effort and time it takes to be good at tango. Thank you for being there. Thank you for growing. Thank you for being beautiful in soul and movement. Thank you for being a beautiful tanguera.

Thank you for still wanting to dance with me.

01 September 2009

End results—Her tango look

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!