Category Archives: Following

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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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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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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A time to lead, a time to follow

Six weeks ago, I said I was pausing my privates while I figured out my next step. A few days after that, I mulled over the possibility of learning to follow – at least, to some degree.

Sure, I’ve taken a few lessons as a follower, but those have always been geared to helping my lead, rather than actually focusing on following. But I’ve decided it’s now time to have a real go at the opposite (and, I suspect, more challenging) role …

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The only leader is the music: A joyful Feast

Felipe Martinez recently talked about the difference between danceable music and music which moves you, literally and figuratively. I think that’s a good way of describing what is, to me, the difference between rhythmic and lyrical tango.

I’d expected the work I was doing on double-time to increase my enjoyment of rhythmic music. It has, but to my surprise, that wasn’t the biggest benefit …

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Dancing the exercises, and three levels of collaborative dance

Three levels

I wrote last time about my challenge with motivation. About the wonderful theory of lockdown being the perfect time to hone our technique, and the less wonderful practice of dancing feeling like such a distant dream it’s hard to maintain the motivation.

I had figured out one thing that helped a little with technique exercises …

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A lesson in improvisation, switching between lead and follow

improvisation.jpg

I know, a lesson in improvisation sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it was a private I really needed!

In trying to work toward truly improvised dance, I need a better understanding of the core elements and the possibilities. I also need to find ways of freeing myself from auto-pilot. I can kind of do that when dancing quickly, but slow dance tends to gravitate back to my core vocabulary …

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A touch of BsAs in London, and dancing almost every tanda

La Rubia

I’d wondered how it would feel, returning to dancing in London. Whether my familiar milongas would now feel strange. Tonight’s didn’t: lots of friends were there, and I dived straight back in.

What did feel strange was that it had been four whole days since my last milonga! Technically, three days, I suppose, since we left Yira Yira in the early hours of Saturday morning and I was at the Tango Space milonga when it started at 8pm on Tuesday. As an added bonus, there was a touch of Buenos Aires to the dance …

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