Category Archives: Following

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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Patio de Tango, La Viruta and a magical evening at Salon Canning

Canning dance.jpg

You’ll have to excuse the blobby photos from milongas. I’m really trying not to take photos this trip. Instead, I’m shooting very short video clips with my phone, and will then edit them into maybe a 5-10 minute overview of the whole trip. This means most of my photos are in fact screengrabs from video, thus not the greatest quality.

The daytime part of the blog is rather brief. We had breakfast in bed, then I lazed (apart from accidentally writing a blog post) while Steph went shoe-shopping for some very nice women’s leading shoes before visiting her Spanish teacher.

I made up for this laziness in the evening, managing one-and-a-bit classes and three milongas …

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Improvisation, initiation, following, accessible Pugliese and the perfect ending to a milonga

infinity

I decided last time that Juan Martin and Steffi’s classes are so good that I had to take full advantage of their limited time in London, despite my determination to do fewer classes and more milongas. The classes do at least double as a way to get to know followers for the Los Angelitos milonga which follows, so I can kind of claim they are in the spirit of dancing more.

Today’s classes were again advertised as technique-focused, with ‘pivots and communication’ the theme, though interestingly that turned out to be more true of the beginner/improver class than the intermediate one …

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Dropping the beginner class, and getting some bonus experience as a follower

levels

Many years ago, I did an introductory scuba diving course. Known as the PADI Open Water Diver course, it took four days, and comprised about a day’s theory, some swimming pool exercises and then a couple of days of diving. Do that, and you emerge as a certified diver.

Want to become an Advanced Open Water Diver? Certainly: go on to do one deep dive (30m), one navigation dive (following a compass to swim in a triangle) and three other ‘adventure’ dives (eg. a night dive), and suddenly I’m an ‘advanced’ diver – with all of eight days in the water.

Tango gradings aren’t quite that bad, but schools definitely use inflated levels designed to flatter the student …

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