The Unused Mordida
The Mordida (detailed in volume 3 of Tango Truisms). Better known in the common vernacular as a 'foot sandwich'. Usually the Follower's feet collecting around the Lead's singular foot, usually. However, that's not always the case. Moving on. Typically the Mordida is a way of indicating to the Follower that one of several pieces of vocabulary are about to be invoked. Any one of a series of Colgadas including a series of Single Axis Turns which require the Lead to step around their Follower's feet, or a Volcada, or ... or ... or there are quite literally 10's of moves where the Mordida is an absolute requirement to set it up. It's the little lead 'cue' that the Follower has been trained to listen for. That 'cue' is a signal that something is about to change. They may not know exactly what that change is going to be, but they're pretty certain that change cometh. There's just one little tiny problem with this piece of vocabulary, it's used way too much. So much so that we have a problem. Enter The Unused Mordida!
From a Leading perspective, most are not even aware that they're invoking the a Mordida 95% of the time. They've gotten so used to dancing this way, that they'll take a side step out of their lane of dance annnnnnd .... Mordida! And here comes the problem child - they won't use it the way it was intended! Instead it gets used it as a point of collection and a way to reset the couple and the embrace and nothing more than that! And now we have the next issue, then they walk out of it. Meanwhile their Follower is left kinda wondering what they did wrong, something should have happened there but didn't, did they miss something ? This Lead doesn't realize that the message that their sending (actually two of them) is confusing to the Follower, because they're expecting X, and they get...ummm nothing! And now we have 2nd issue, they kinda look a little ridiculous and they're quite literally telegraphing ot the room that they're a beginner or worse and uneducated intermediate dancer that has stayed in that awful undefined place of less-than-desirable dancing. Where all you have to do is watch for a while and you see error after error after error. The squeezing, the pushing, the pulling, the rushing from vocabulary to vocabulary choice. Just ... <shudder>
From a Following perspective, The lead has invoked a Mordida, and quite literally you're standing there and then nothing happens. They readjust their embrace and you're wondering WTF DUDE?!?!?! And again, nothing. And then they start walking forwards and you sort of stumble backwards. No Spinny Whoosh Thingy (Single Axis Turn), No Crazy Back Breaker (Volcada) thing that he likes to do. "What on god's green earth is this guy doing ?". What's worse is he keeps doing it over and over again, is he expecting something to happen.... The first few times this happens, and nothing occurs, you just decide to be quiet and take a wait and see attitude. But he keeps doing it, there must be something to it. Hmmm...will you look at the color of the paint on the ceiling....
The Dancing Fact is that Mordida is used too often by Leads that don't know any better. They get stuck in a way of moving, a default behavior if you will, and they're not even aware that they're doing it. You quite literally have to stop them on the floor as they're doing it. They're like a dog that pees on the floor, you can't scold them afterwards, you have to catch them in the act and rub their noses in it. Same thing with a Lead.
Fixing it ? How do you fix this one ? This one has become engrained behavior at this point, and the only way to change the behavior is to catch them in the act. Further still, you have to show them that while they can come to stop (preferably one that matches what's happening in the music), they should not Mordida the Follower, further still is that they should reset the embrace (it's good practice), but rather continue down the line of dance sans Mordida! Unfortunately saying that, is muuuuuuch easier than doing it. You need a trained dancer to be relentless with Leads that do this, keep after them, constantly, because the moment they're on autopilot they'll go right back to what they were doing and that's that. Poof! Instant back tracking. So how do you fix it ?
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Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.