Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wow, I'm punctual. Also: I talk about tango some more.

Almost a full week without posting! Obviously I've been dancing a lot. Or, I fell in a hole and was only now rescued by municipal authorities. You can decide which one you want to be true.

Hint: since this post is about dancing, it's safe to assume I got some dancing done before I fell into the hole. Place your bets accordingly; no need to lose money because you were underinformed.

This weekend I hit the 50/50 mark, where I led a tanda for every tanda I followed. I learned a lot of things from this. The most important thing I learned was that I can change out of a pair of heels in about ten seconds. I also learned some stuff about dancing, I guess, but come on! Ten seconds to be in a completely different pair of shoes with ties and everything! I'll never miss a song again!

Other things I noticed from all this floor time are the respective lists of demands for leaders and followers:

* Hold the follower in a solid yet gentle embrace.
* Step decisively and strongly without overpowering the follower.
* Lead with the chest, not the arms.
* Navigate the floor successfully.
* Listen to the music and interpret it dynamically and engagingly into your dance.

* Step nicely and with good posture.
* Be psychic.

Followers win, seriously. It is so infinitely harder to follow than to lead, because they have to be relaxed enough to follow whatever lead comes, but they also have to be PSYCHIC and intuit what move the leader was going for, so even if he leads [enter complicated move here] without giving the follower room, she can beautifully and gracefully make it into a [slightly different yet still very slick move]. Guys can laugh here, but I promise you, the women? Backlead.

After a weekend of doing both, the following is much more exhausting than the leading. The leading is more nerve-wracking.

I don't do any of the fancy stuff yet, nor can I see myself ever really doing so - I'm too milonguero to enjoy colgadas and volcadas and all that crazy stuff the kids are doing these days. My leading is focused on the little list above; most of what I'm learning about leading happens as I'm following and think either "I see!" or "...I see."

Recently, people are asking which I prefer, leading or following. In all honesty, it really is like trains and boats - they both take you someplace, and sometimes you prefer one or the other, but in general they're both lovely ways to get around. If there's a decent leader with whom I enjoy dancing, I love following. But I'm a picky follower, and it's just as likely I'll run into a follower I like dancing with, and well, why not lead?

ps. I don't know why this is, but I get all these skeevy guys who are like, "I've always wanted to be led by a woman, you know."


There are a few men I wouldn't mind leading, but these are men who genuinely want to understand following and are willing to follow other men as well and aren't just looking for jollies. There are plenty of men who are willing to lead other men where I am, so there's no excuses, and I am not really interested in being some guy's free dominatrix for ten minutes, you guys. Seriously.

Also, I'll try to post more, even when I have nothing to say. Expect a lot of polls!


Debbi said...

I had to laugh as I was reading your post. Sunday evening after practica a group of us (3 leaders, 2 followers) went to a pub for some pub grub and drinks and talk tango, naturally.... which led to a very heated (at times) discussion about which was harder, leading or following. It got very hot at times as one of our group felt that leading had more elements to it that made it more complicated and just about everyone else jumped in arguing that either following was harder or that they were too different to say one was harder than the other. I kind of just sat and took in the melee as I have only followed, and not for very long at that, so I felt my opinion was too young to really have any weight. But needless to say the conversation was never resolved, and I think it might never be actually....
I'll have to get back in about 10 years when I can do both proficiently and give my opinion on the subject.... ;-)
But glad to see you posting again.... I always love reading your blog! :-D

Caroline said...

I always thought leading would be harder because they have to do all the work and all women have to do is just follow. BUT if the leading was bad, then definitely it's the followers who have to work harder, i.e. exercise their otherwise dormant ESP powers.
One man told me he likes to follow once in a while because then he doesn't have to work at it, so it's a refreshing change of pace for him.