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How to get the follower to do more

Sharing this excerpt from a post by Terpsichoral Tangoaddict


Quote of the day from Mari Mabon Johnson, in response to a question about how to get the follower to do more, to decorate and play (Alicia Pons was held up as a role model of the kind of thing the leader was hoping to elicit).


If you're going to post dancers like Alicia Pons as an example of the following you're looking for - much of that is coming from Alicia herself - her interpretation of the music. . . Speaking for myself as a follower, most of the time I don't need my partner to lead me fancy moves to keep me entertained - only to give me the time and invitation (even encouragement) to express the music more creatively within our dance. If my partner is more focused on his technique for his moves while we dance - I have no time and likely won't be relaxed and comfortable enough to do anything more expressive. . . .

If your partner is resistant, I am willing to bet that leading her into more "interesting" moves isn't going to help things. It's not something someone can make her do. Just, again, speaking for myself, when I feel most free to express the music at my creative best, this is what I need:

- non-verbal, consistent encouragement from my partner to let me know that he welcomes it. This is in his relaxed body language - not in his words.
- my partner needs to be on his axis and stay there - and not knock me off of my balance. If I have to monitor my partner's lack of balance, or his pushing me off my balance - I don't have time, energy or room to do much of anything
- time. I need time - not the "stand there and wait for me to do something" kind of time rather the kind of time that comes from completely landing your steps and letting me completely land my steps before taking the next step.
- this is the hardest - I need my own relationship with the piece of music. In general the more strongly I feel about the piece of music, the more likely I am to play with it. Likewise if I am very familiar with it. That comes with time on my own, walking to the music by myself - as with all dancers. There is no shortcut.

In some ways, the more you want her to do - the less you should do. Just my 2 cents. Well, rather a lot more than 2 cents really.