Friday, November 04, 2005

Lead, Follow, or Don't Dance

Here is an example of where the guy needs to lead clearly. Last night, Elena and I went to the Tango Nashville 2nd Anniversary party (it was free - and I am all about the free stuff). Part of the festivities was a free tango lesson. I jumped up and waded into the crowd to find some single guy to dance with. Turns out the guy next to me didn't have a partner either, so I asked him if he wanted to dance. He said, "Sure," and off we went. The steps were very basic: walking; a side step; and then a cross step for the lady, that can be very sensuous and flirtatious. 'Cept that Omar was having none of that and was, like, not willing to lead.

Argentine tango is quite different from the ballroom-style tango I have been learning, but the idea of lead–follow is the same, regardless. The man directs the movement of the lady through the use of his chest and shoulders and by shifting his body weight.

So I asked Omar 3 times if he would strengthen his lead, because I couldn't tell what foot he was on or what direction he was going. "I can't follow if you don't lead." No response.

I'm a good follower. I can usually pick up on what is going on, even with a bad lead, but this was awful. I kept missing steps. He stepped on my foot 3 times because we were off-synch. He messed up the rock step (the man signals that by bringing his right foot forward to touch the lady's left and then rock back and forth). And he was having none of the cute, sensual, flirtatious side of the tango.

PKs thought during the experience: Dude, so I'm not that little blond hottie you are staring at and who you probably wanted to dance with, ok... but for the moment, could you pay attention to what you are doing here? It would really help. And uh... she's married. Big gold ring. Right there. Easy to see. To that other professional dancer.

Elena observed the whole thing. I'm hoping that she wasn't trying to puff up my ego (because if she was, it worked) by saying that she could see that I was definitely the better dancer. I hope the workshop this weekend goes better. I'm looking forward to it.