16 July 2008

What Argentine Tango Leaders should know...

Here is my attempt at a synopsis for the benefit of the leaders, both seasoned and new:


  • The arms are for the embrace NOT for leading
  • The arms are there to hold the connection comfortably, and not to be used steer your partner like a boat rudder
  • Granted every now and then you can use the arms for sending lead impulses. But that's an exception
  • Maintain your Tango posture
  • Stand straight, weight forward, relax, chest out, don't cave your chest, don't nuzzle
  • Lead from your chest
  • Use your chest, core, center, frame
  • Use them to direct and guide the motion of your partner
  • Leading movements in AT is an excercize in improvisation, NOT memorization
  • Get the lessons you have learned and string them together to form your interpretatation of the song
  • Don't rely on fixed patterns
  • They are boring
  • If your leading a movement, and it doesn't work, move on. DON't teach!
  • A common newbie mistake
  • Don't impress her with your fancy steps. Impress her with your simplicity
  • Keep it simple, feel the music, out of simplicity, beauty comes
  • Listen to the music. Develop your rhythmic skill
  • Dance in-tune with the music. It makes such a difference in your leading
  • Maintain your lane
  • Counterclockwise please, and maitain your lane. Don't drift
  • Dance in the appropriate size
  • If you have the space, go ahead and do your showy stuff. Dance big
  • If its a packed house, dance small, dance close to the floor and avoid the flailing leg things and the huge strides
  • Be aware of where you're at at all times
  • You are blind-sided on the right, do half turns, giros so you can see around you
  • Adjust your position to those around you
  • Don't back into traffic
  • Inconsiderate and dangerous
  • Don't stop traffic
  • Inconsiderate
  • If you must do your slow, stationary, and showy moves, move to the center
  • The outside lanes are for moving traffic and for more experienced dancers
  • The inside lanes are slower and offer more spcae for experimentation
  • If you are just getting into AT, use the inner lanes
  • If AT is new to you stay in the inner lanes. They are slower and much more forgiving
  • If you bump into someone, make eye contact and apologize-EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT the instigator
  • Gentlemanly behaviour makes for a good milonga. You will know who is at fault
  • Maintain good personal hygiene
  • You will be dancing close. VERY close. You must not stink!
  • AT music is varied, familiarize yourself, and adapt your dancing to the music
  • Depending who the composer is, AT music can have consistent rhythm, to changing rhythm several times in the same song
  • This is one element in AT that is quite difficult to get the hang of. BE PATIENT in learning to "hear" the music
  • Maintaining and dancing connected to one's partner at an etheriel level is the point of AT. NOT dancing steps and patterns
  • You'll know once it happens
  • Lots of endorphins
  • Dance for your partner. NOT for the audience
  • If you want to show off stay in the center of the floor
  • When you dance, no one else matters except your partner
  • AT is a 3 minute date
  • Don't analyze it, Dance it
  • When you are on the floor dance for the sake of the enjoyment of you and your partner
  • Don't overanalyze things. It shows in your dance and mess you up
  • Let things flow as they will
  • Things will never be perfect, so let it go and flow
  • AT is a conversation between two bodies without words
  • Your partner chose to accept your invitation and dance with you. Return the courtesy and respect her
  • Your partner is there to complete the AT equation
  • No matter how good you think you are, you are nothing without a partner
  • Adapt to your partner's level
  • Don't force your "advanced" skills on your partner
  • A talented leader will be able to dance with any partner at any level of skill, and the dance will look good
I'm sure I missed a lot more, but these are the things that jump out immediately based on our discussion and observations at a milonga.