Technique

Overcoming obedience

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Obedience is a reasonable state for a follower to take on. Much about tango suggests that this is what leaders want.

But, as you are no doubt discovering, tango is very complicated.

The first reason to overcome obedience as a follower is that you will never be good enough. There will always be leaders who want more than you can give, and you will always want to be a better dancer. Best to start now finding pleasure in the dancer you already are.

The second reason is that while leaders do want obedience, it’s far from enough. As you develop your skills for perfect listening and alacritous response, there are other skills to develop simultaneously.

As easily as you can feel a leader’s distraction, he can feel your fear and smallness. Not sexy. Not sensuous.

For your own sake, and as a gift to your leader: <strong>enjoy your body</strong>. Stretch into every movement and feel good. (N.B. stretching ≠ doing unled adornos and pivots. It means elongating your body into the moment. Wherever you are, fill the space a little more by gently stretching from your oblique muscles out through all four limbs and your neck.

You might develop a tango <strong>avatar </strong>to help manifest a bold, sweet, sexy personality. Tango is your chance to develop and enjoy yourself in ways you haven’t yet…

If that seems a bit overwhelming, you might develop a personality to match particular moves. There’s no right and wrong about this, you can make up your own. I’ll share mine just to give you some ideas:

  • Passé, front voleo: Regal shoulders and head. (Queen, not princess.)
  • Crosses (and milonga): Crisp and sharp-tongued, my grandmother in her 1940s trim sassy elegance.
  • Front steps: Blasé.
  • Calecita: I’m a ballerina! I’m a ballerina!
  • Rebote: Groovy hips.
  • Back voleo: Strong, flexible, beautiful yogi.  (I could stay here all day.)
  • Gancho: Post-sexual revolution. I don’t have to pretend I don’t like it anymore.
  • Volcada: Flying on theatrical wires.
  • Colgada: I’m an athlete, solid muscle and total control.
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Do you want to be a better dancer

but don’t feel you are getting what you need from your teachers?

Or do you get contradictory advice from different partners?

I got tired of hearing men tell me to be “natural”, “don’t do anything”, and “you’re floppy”, followed by “you’re stiff” …  So I studied biomechanics until I could teach perfect connection quickly.

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