Following is really starting to click, thanks to a lesson I learned in motorsports

I’m really amazed at how well following is really starting to click now! And it’s all down to an approach I learned in my pre-tango obsession: motorsports.

The biggest problem I had when I started this latest tango adventure was anticipating the lead. I was listening to the music and knew how I would interpret it. At best, I would be expecting to move in one way and then have to quickly switch gears in my head to follow what was actually led; at worst, I was doing completely unled movements …

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Feeling that festivals are my tango future

I know, I’ve only been to four events across two festivals so far, so it may be rather early to draw any firm conclusions. But certainly my limited experience to date suggests that festivals (and BsAs, of course!) may be where I do most of my dancing in future.

If this does prove to be the case, it’ll be the next stage in a gradual process for me …

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Tango by the Sea: More festival heaven

Filling the tango festival gap between the November and December Feasts was a new-to-me one: Tango by the Sea, in Felixstowe. I did have to take the ‘by the sea’ part on trust, as the furthest I got from the dance floor was a cafe about 200 feet away.

Actually, they refer to it as a house-party rather than a festival, as a way of emphasising the relaxed and fun atmosphere they want people to enjoy …

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A long weekend of heaven, at The Feast

Returning from The Feast feels a little like returning from BsAs – that I’ve been living in this incredible, magical bubble, and now I have to return to the everyday world. It’s almost jarring.

Last year, I described how it was a bit of a slow-burn as a first-timer. The vast majority of Feasters are regulars, so all know each other, and are keen to dance together again. But by my third visit, I was one of those regulars, and was receiving invitations from the first tanda …

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I’ve made surprising progress in my following: I now feel like a beginner

Perhaps it’s an odd way to express it, but after three more privates, I now feel like I’ve reached the stage of being a beginner follower.

What I mean by that is that, previously, I very much felt like a leader trying to make the very difficult transition to following. Some tango concepts learned as a leader were helpful, of course, but in other ways my experience as a leader was actually hindering my attempts to follow. Now, though, I feel like I’ve (mostly!) succeeded in letting go of the internal struggle between the two, and can actually fully focus on the follower role …

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Following … a leader, and my tango heart

I had my third private as a follower, and while I missed plenty of things, I for the first time had an experience of Just Dancing from the follower side.

I also decided to follow my tango heart when it comes to when, where and how I dance …

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A three-hour round-trip journey to dance in Cambridge, and worth every minute

Five months ago, returning from BsAs, I wrote about my determination to keep the Argentine spirit alive in my own tango – and so far, I feel like I’m succeeding.

I’ve reluctantly conceded that one key ingredient here is dancing a lot more outside of the sub-culture that is London tango. Reluctantly, because I’d love to dance a lot in my own city, and I do see London milongas doing their best to bring the Argentine spirit to London …

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The practicality and poetry of the cabeceo: Where the dance begins

There’s a magic to the cabeceo. To make eye contact across a room, with a woman I’ve never met before, whose name I do not know, whose language I may not speak, and be able to invite her to dance – and have my invitation accepted – without a single word being exchanged.

Cabeceo is, for me, one of the most beautiful things about tango. I love it for its practicality, but also for its poetry. For me, it’s the first step in the dance …

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Wonderful DJ, and more following dividends, at El Boliche

When I don’t have the energy for 5-6 hours of dancing, my approach is to go later in the evening. Generally the music gets more lyrical as the evening goes on, and as I appear physically incapable of leaving a milonga before the end, this gives me 2-3 hours of dance.

Arriving at El Boliche around 10pm felt a little like a return to BsAs timings …

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An amazing leading dividend from just two lessons as a follower

While leading and following are two very different mindsets, the technique is the same – just that followers need more of it at any given level.

I knew from past experience that following is a very powerful tool for improving my lead, but I really couldn’t believe the extent to which this paid off after just two (new) following lessons …

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