Why Dance the Argentine Tango?
Followers Can Take the Lead Too
Ideal Communication for Partners
Tango Dance Etiquette & Helpful Hints
Styles of Argentine tango
Followers Can Take the Lead Too
By Ken & Natasha
(Special thanks to P.J., Moss and Christine for their input.)
The last and best piece of advice for followers has to do with actually taking the lead. Picture yourself at a milonga: beautiful tango music is the ambiance is just right, yet no one has come over to ask you to dance. What is a follower to do? Traditionally followers wait until a leader asks them to dance, but actually there is nothing wrong- in fact, everything right- with taking the initiative and asking a leader to dance. The majority of leaders will welcome a follower asking them to dance and react with enthusiasm. Most of the time it takes the pressure off a leader and is a good way to break the ice. This does not mean that all leaders will enjoy being asked to dance; some will not or they may even decline to dance, but this is no different a situation than when the leaders ask followers to dance. Often times when you first take the initiative, later on that evening these same leaders will ask you to dance again providing to both the leader and the follower an incredibly enjoyable dancing experience.
A follower need not worry that in asking a leader to dance she must already be an accomplished dancer. On the contrary, a good leader can gauge with the first few steps of the dance how advanced a follower is or is not. Even if you do make a mistake or miss a step, don't worry! It is only through mistakes that you learn, whether you're a leader or a follower. Also by asking a leader to dance, a follower is in an advantageous position: the leader does not want to scare you off by trying to do a lot of fancy steps, and he also wants to show you a good time by not being too repetitive. Therefore most leaders try their best to keep you interested, but avoid elaborate steps that may make you fumble.
These are just a few reasons to convince you that it is in your greatest interest as a follower to be assertive and ask leaders to dance. I guarantee you, the best experiences are those where you take the reins and ask any available leader to dance. Actually it is best to ask all of them! Sometimes the best dances are with those leaders who you least expect will show you a good time; these individuals often have a lot of experience, but they may be shy, or are not as outgoing or assertive as other leaders who are eager to get on the dance floor to show off their fancy moves.
We are blessed to be in the Bay Area where the tango community is alive and flourishing. There is a tango dance in San Francisco nearly every night of the week! If you have internet access you can find all the tango activities including times and locations of daily milongas at www.sftango.com. Take advantage of our unique opportunity and seize the moment. You can gain a great deal by going to milongas to practice what you learn in class. The best way to learn is to not be afraid to ask leaders to dance and not be afraid to learn by your mistakes. Remember we, were all beginners at one point, and we only grow through experience.
San Francisco Tango