Counterproductive Up in the Lead

Many students (and teachers) over-use Up for aspects of the lead where it is inappropriate. Using up as a trick to make something difficult happen must be un-learned as students advance. Moving your hands upward should only be used to lift the follower’s free leg into the air. Up is counterproductive for:

Cross with change of foot (as it’s actually the correct lead for a faked/incompleted cross)

• Change of weight, as it actually communicates to the follower not to change foot. (The correct lead for change of foot is that the leader straightens his own base leg and then directs her spine 2cm toward her other leg, keeping the embrace relaxed so she can feel a subtle lead for a subtle movement.)

•Stopping, as it blocks her ability to arrive strongly to her axis, which is what she needs in order stop. (The correct lead for stopping is deceleration and receiving her power with your body.) If you want to stop the follower after a forward ocho with her left foot, rather than raising your left arm, send the left part of your chest to meet her. This a more delicious and effective way to stop her.

Constantly giving the follower a sensation of up will also cause her steps to be shorter and more hesitant as it prevents her relation with her leg muscles.

If your hand or arm is in contact with the follower’s underarm you are likely leading too much up. Also if you find that her clothing has been drawn upward, you have been pulling on her.


I want you to know that you are not alone…

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?



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