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Lazy Follower Foot

Lazy Follower Foot

Lazy Follower Foot. Most people don’t think about this stuff except for when they’re in a class or a Follower Technique Seminar, or in a private lesson. Mostly they hear it and completely forget about it about 10 seconds after it’s been said. That is unless some diligent teacher continually reminds you of this stuff, constantly. To be fair, while this particular topic happens a lot for Followers, this happens everywhere across the entire spectrum of the dance and into real life. If someone says something to you that needs to be corrected, it will take you a few tries to remember to do it, and even then that’s a stretch. The fact is that you’re dealing with muscle memory or in this case ‘muscle comfort’. It’s comfortable for you to do this stuff. So why change it. The reality is that the change comes hard to some people, and comfort is easy. If you’re comfortable why bother changing ? Right ? What you may not realize is that that comfort may or may not be desirable to look at, as in this case of Lazy Follower Foot.

What is ‘Lazy Follower Foot’ ? It is a state where the Follower’s back foot as it comes into collection from a Forward step, is either dragged without care or unconsciously. The foot itself, seemingly hangs off the ankle, and is summarily dragged into collection from the Forward step. This doesn’t happen from the Back or Side step, that’s the ‘Dangling’ Foot error. Whole different ball of wax, but the solution is exactly the same as shown in today’s video! 

Difficulty Rating:  (0.5 / 5)

From a Following Perspective, if you think for a moment that you’re not doing this stuff, then either you’re blind, or consciously sticking your head in the sand, or you’re a teacher who has mastered their technique and have moved onto the solution to this problem and how to make the solution better than is shown above.

Let’s get something out of the way. The fact is that even we teachers have to constantly work on our own technique. Constantly. Just because we teach does not mean that we do not strive to make clean, make better, to improve our understanding of what we do and why. Nothing is accepted, everything is questioned, overturned, turned inside out, upside down, and right side up. Everything is examined. It must be examined. And if we’re doing that for ourselves, the question is, why aren’t you ? This isn’t about teaching really, it’s about striving to clean up these detail areas that for one reason or another, while you may not be able to fully identify it, something (or in most cases a lot of somethings) look ‘off’. And the attention to detail is absolutely necessary to addressing these issues.

To be fair some people have a hard time talking about this stuff, or even viewing it. They don’t want to, or in most cases, can’t engage in the idea of this discussion at all. They only view this stuff through the lens of performance or perfectionism, or “that’s for a teacher, that’s not real life”. Ahem. Not. It is real life, and you DO want to pay attention to the details here. This isn’t about perfection. Get that thought right out of your head. This stuff has very real world consequences, and the sooner that you realize this fact, the easier your Tango life will be. Because, as has been said in many other parts of your life, the details matter! Why wouldn’t they matter in Tango as well!

The reality is that when you’re talking about this stuff, and then you start to pull stuff apart that ‘seemingly’ worked (operative word in the sentence), you quickly realize just how many things do not actually function as you thought they did. And it’s right about that point where you are instantly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what’s not working, and why, and most people throw up their hands and say “to hell with it all, why bother !?!?!?”.

Why Bother With This Stuff ? Here’s why.

There will come a night, a milonga, where the usual crowd of your usual dancers is increased by a +1. A Lead that is completely unknown to you. Said Lead has popped into your town, just passing through from somewhere on their way to somewhere else. They know no one. They find a seat, put on their shoes, and they scan the room for a few moments, and begin their process of Cabeceo.  You see them dance, and to you, they look amazing. Fabulous. They’re not like every other Lead in the room, and you find yourself wanting. Waiting for their Cabeceo when they step off the floor. They’re scanning and scanning and they pick their next partner, and the next, and the next….an hour or so goes by, and you find yourself brimming with anticipation. They scan in your direction, and they lock eyes with you. Your chance has arrived. They walk around the room to engage their Salida. And off you go. From the moment their embrace starts, you know you are in the presence of ‘better’. The embrace is light but engaged. The posture is spot on but not stiff. The stance….. and then you move. Slowly at first. And then from muscle memory. Their embrace remains … light. No matter what. They’re not rushing you. However, something is … ummm … not … quite … the glee is waring off. The newness of this dancer is replaced by questioning. They looked so perfect dancing with everyone else…but you seem to be missing things. Little things at first, and then here and there, things you can’t quite get your … “what the frak was THAT ?”….and you find your feet, and recover nicely….or so you think, and … then it happens again, and again, and again….somewhere in the back of your mind you’re wondering if anyone is watching this mess ? It’s fun to be certain but you’re certain that it’s a mess. In between the songs, this Lead is pleasant and nice, good small talk, and discussing where they’re going next. The next song starts, and the odd part is that this Lead’s embrace isn’t constrictive, or restrictive, or ‘pushy’ in any way, there’s no resistance at all. In fact, it’s what you imagine that Tango Topics talks about all the time and here it is embodied. And yet, you find that dancing with this Lead isn’t…ummm ‘nice’. It’s downright challenging. You’re missing things. Your feet are getting all tangled up, and you feel like you’re dragging your feet. They’re not saying anything, but you feel a sense of ‘Jesus H. Christ! I missed that…and that…and that….and f*ck!…”.  The tanda ends, and they walk you back to your table. They smile. You smile. And away they go. On the one hand, the dance was ‘fun’. It was certainly musical. No one that you’ve ever danced with has been that musical, and playful, and just fun to dance with. There were actual tango jokes, giggles really. But on the other hand it was way beyond you. So many things missed. So many things.

The Error In Your Thinking. The reason why this dance was challenging for you, and this is the error, is that’s just their ‘style’ of dance, and it’s not your style. Yes there is an estillo to some people’s dance, but sometimes with the more advanced dancers this isn’t about style…it’s about technique and the execution of that technique! So, put simply you’re missing the other side of the equation: You’re not ready for them! And the reason is, because your understanding of your own technique, your underlying foundation, how you move, how you land your feet, how you extend your legs, how you embrace your partners, where you place your body in relationship to your L/lead, where and how you engage X piece of vocabulary…all of that stuff is not trained in you. It’s just not. Further, because you’re dancing with a certain class of L/lead mostly you only get to experience a very small sliver of what a fully trained and operational Lead can actually do. Further still the Neurology of Following (as opposed to the Neurology of Leading) is lacking in you. So as a result you ‘miss’ things. So a Lead like that above, is mostly lost on you. Yes it’s insanely fun, and challenging, but you ‘missed’ so much and what’s worse is you know it. It wasn’t embarrassing, thank god, but you know in your heart you missed so much of what was ‘said’. You missed the nuances. The subtlety.

Diving Deep.

There is a reason this stuff happens, actually four possibilities: 1.) Poor execution of technique. 2.) Poorly understood technique.  3.) No Practice. or 4.) All of the above!

While it’s not rocket science what those things mean, they do require a bit of detail.

1.) Poor Execution. This means that your attention to detail of your technique is sloppy. Meaning that you allow your foot to unconsciously move as it sees fit to move in relation to your ankle and leg. Even though you have been shown X, it’s not showing up in your dance. Either consciously or unconsciously.

2.) Poorly Understood. This happens quite frequently. We hear ‘X’ when a teacher says something to us, and in reality they meant ‘Y’.  But because we hear it through the filter of our understanding we end up misunderstanding more often than not. Poorly understood means that you hear or see something and presume that ‘A’ is ‘A’ instead of diving deeply to dig down to the roots of what ‘A’ actually is. To see it’s inner workings. Not just to accept it, but figure out for yourself how and why something functions.

3.) No Practice. This should be a no-brainer. But you’d be surprised just how many people will go to a teacher or a class and magically expect them to fix everything, and that now that they’ve visited with teacher ‘C’ that things are all better and they can go back to what they were doing in the first place. Because teacher ‘C’ said they’re “you’re doing fine but…” and “that’s fabulous, and…”, or … did you see it ? Probably not. You missed the ‘but’/‘and’ at the ends of those sentences. You only heard the praise and not the rest! Which was… “You should go home and practice the frak out of this stuff that I just spent the better portion of the last hour showing you! Not to mention you just handed me a boatload of cash to tell you this stuff, so you had damned well better go home and practice this stuff!!”.

4.) All of the Above! This needs no explanation. It’s not one or the other, but actually All of them together.

dancing in a small space ? watch these videos!

bsas-prep-title

From a Leading Perspective. You didn’t think you were going to be immune to this did you ? Wrong thinking. Got news for you. All of that stuff above where the Follower’s experience is questioning what just happened, can and will happen to you as well. So if you think this is solely a Follower issue, THINK AGAIN!

The Wrap Up. The fact is that this is just one little, tiny, aspect of examining what’s going on in your dance. It happens quite frequently, and you do need to pay attention to it to fix it, to change it, to make it better!

Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you subscribe to this website when stuff like this is available on Youtube ? Because what you'll find on Youtube doesn't explain and walk you through the how a Circular Ocho Cortado can function, but not all the toys that are described above. So this is one reason why you want this video series, and more importantly to have this stuff broken down for you from a leading and following perspective. 

So, please, go right ahead, go watch all the presentation videos on youtube all you want. Because that's what they are 'Presentation' videos. The couple's that you're used to seeing are performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they're not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about 'Social Dancing'. So please, go spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won't help you, because you're missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher! (ahem) ME!  The goal of youtube videos is to entice you to go study with those teachers in person. The goal of these videos is allow you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and be done with it. 😉

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique. 

In an hour long class, with the blind leading the blind through rotation of partners (uuuggggh!), you may glean a piece of the information you need and not get the whole thing, and you’ll miss important pieces that you’ll end up having to take a private lesson for to get the finer points. This way, you can watch over and over again, and get all the supplementary materials, and if you want you can still go take the class, only you’ll be better prepared to do so!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

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The ‘Ballet’ Rise

The 'Ballet' Rise Exercise

Let's dispense with a few misnomers right out of the gate. 1.) Balance is not the same thing as Stability. 2.) Balance is a component of Stability. 3.) Your stability is generated via 3 very different mechanisms that are all connect via your nervous system. And so that we're clear on this one, one of them is not your 'core', and anyone that tells you different is either lying through their eye-teeth, or doesn't understand anatomy and physiology of the human body. Truth be told, your 'core' muscles have absolutely nothing to do with stability. Nada. Zip. Zero. 

A Ballet Rise is an exercise that every Tango dancer should be familiar with before they put on a pair of heels as either a lead or a follow, it does not matter. The exercise is designed specifically to strengthen your very, very, very weak muscles and more importantly the tendons around the first 5 metatarsals of your foot. For some people that walk in heels all day long, those tendons will be a bit stronger than some, but not always. The tendons that surround the 5 Metatarsals are the weakest for a variety of reasons, and for some people they never bother to strengthen them mostly because no one tells them that they need to do so, and as a direct result of the lack of work (read that as exercise) that they're not doing, they'll end up with weak tendons, and thereby unable to hold a walking or articulated foot position, or they'll land improperly and not be able to recover from it, and or the more common of the affectations is clear and present lack of stability. This singular exercise is quite possibly the single most important exercise that they will ever need to do. And yes, believe or not, they do not know how to do this. But you're a smart person, right ? You know how to do this, right ? Right ? Hmmmm, well just as a refresher you should watch the teaser video above to refresh your memory.

Truthfully when this topic comes up for students, they make a few very important and key errors. Not the least of which is going too fast. This exercise isn't about speed. Speed teaches and strengthens nothing. This is about going slow. Very slow. The slower, the better! 

Linking Notation: All the links on this site are internal definition links, nothing is external (excluding tangotopics youtube channel, and facebook like & share links), meaning the links are there to create a deeper and richer clarity.

Purchase! The video above is small snippet of a full HD video (total runtime: 8m:31s). You can purchase The Ballet Rise for just 12.99 not including your level discount.

From a Following perspective, you have your work cut out for you. Your stability is directly related to 2 things. 1.) How you place your foot on the floor, and your proprioceptive abilities. Meaning how and what you sense around you without looking. What makes things challenging for you is your Lead. 9 times out of 10, they're compressing the embrace (squeezing the living daylights out of you because no one has told them to stop doing it), and/or squeezing your right hand and then using your right arm as if it were a joystick, thereby compromising you and your stability. And when that's not happening, they're usually rushing from vocabulary choice to vocabulary choice not really completing one idea nor the next. 🙁 And then blaming you for not keeping up. Compounding the problem are you in your pretty 3 in. heels that you were forced into almost immediately when you weren't really ready for them at all. And that seemingly were devised by a madman (actually they go back as far as the 8th or 9th centuries to the Persian horse riders as a way to stay in stirrups, and then there's the rumor/history of a danish king that used them to stand above his court and subjects but that's another topic that's already been covered in Tango Truism 809Volume 2). Still another compound problem is that the surface area of the heel is 40% of a normal shoe and you're supposed to instantly master your stability in these things while at the same time, turning, disassociating, applying that disassociation (erroneously thought of as a 'pivot'), and at the same time appearing elegant, and on/in time to what is being 'led', all while in the embrace of a Lead that can barely walk that's blaming you for all of their screw ups. Yup. Tall task. Good luck with that! 

From a Leading perspective, your ability to control your next steps and ultimately your next vocabulary choice is quite literally based on just how stable you are. The more stable you are, the easier it is to pull off whatever it is you want. That stability can be impacted by any number of things, foot placement, foot position, lateral foot orientation, the floor itself, knee position, an embrace that is compressive (yours and your follower's), and a follower that is hanging on you, just to name a few. In the end you must learn how to compensate for all of these things (and one of those compensations is a slight bit of knee compression - a micro bend). Your forward steps while appearing 'elegant' must also be very stable, you must learn to balance these things against each other. What makes this stuff even more challenging is that you have another human being in front of you that has their own issues going on that you must learn to 'hear'/'feel', and then learn to negate those issues (one by one) while at the same time maintaining forward momentum, good posture, while in time to the music, and all without pushing, pulling, or using resistance in any way, shape, or form so that the Follower can 'float' within the construct of the embrace. 🙂 Tall order ? Yup. You didn't think this was going to be easy did you ? And in case you're wondering, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what makes a 'good' dancer good!

dancing in a small space ? watch these videos!

bsas-prep-title

The Dancing Fact is that most of these things are related to one thing and one thing only...how the dancer places their foot in contact with the floor. Note the nomenclature: 'dancer'. Not 'Lead' (the person), Not, 'Follower'. No. 'Dancer'. Got it ? This is a gender, and really role agnostic reality that a good portion of you lot need to get your heads around. There are certain motions that are very common to both roles, and this is one of them, stability is a problem for both roles. So consequently what works for one role in terms of exercises, works for the other as well!

Quite honestly your stability can be controlled through a series of confined exercises that, if done daily, will greatly improve control of your weight transfers regardless of role, age, height, or weight! Although shedding more than a few pounds will probably do wonders for you in the long run as well.

The Ballet Rise Exercise ? One exercise that comes to mind that can help you control and contain your stability is The 'Ballet' Rise Exercise. It is so named because it comes from 1st position of Ballet. However, it borrows heavily from a guiding Tango idea: Collection! The exercise is seemingly easy at first but quickly you realize that you're going to be very unstable the first few times you try it. Truthfully you're going to wobble, you're going to waiver, you're going to 'shaky' and uncontrolled in the beginning (read that as a few days if not weeks). However in the long run it really does a wonder on your achilles tendon, as well as the 5 metatarsals (the bones of the foot) and their related tendons, as well as the phalanges (the bones of the toes) and their tendons. Talk about a humdinger of an exercise that will blow your mind ? This is the bomb! And the best part is that you can do this by yourself, as much or as little as you want, whenever you want. Standing in line, talking to someone, anywhere. You don't need to go to the studio, you don't need to go anywhere. You can do this in the comfort of your own home. 

Reality. The exercise does not come without some warnings like if you've had surgery on an Achilles Tendon, or you have chronic Plantar Fasciitis, check with your Doctor or Physical therapist before you do this kind of work. It would be a real bummer if you had to stop dancing altogether because you have ruptured or injured your tendons! So don't just jump right in and think that you're good to go. If you have these issues, then check before you jump, ok ? Otherwise, read on. Still another reality is that when starting out with the 'rise', it's important that we not overdo it. So a good practice is to perform the exercise on an 8 count very slowly, 10 times. One 8 count up, and one 8 Count down...is one repetition. Doing it more than once in a day is counter productive. So it's best to do this first thing in the morning and then to let it go. There's no reason to do it more than that. Unless you're feeling like you didn't get your reps in for the day, in which case...go do. Still another reality is that more in this case is not better, the effect is cumulative, not iterative. Meaning the more that you do is not going to improve you. This work is done over time, typically a 30 day period of time at minimum.

The key to this work is really the speed at which this is done: Slower is better. This isn't about powering through this, but rather slow and patient, mindful work! The goal of this work is to build up strength, endurance, and control. And you will learn nothing through speed! Control is not gained through powering through something but rather slow and patient understanding of this process. One more key, it is important that you not lock out your knees during this exercise. You actually want a 'micro' bend to them! 

The Benefits ? The benefits of this exercise will take time to show up. It's not going to magically happen over night. Get used to that fact. This exercise requires patience, practice, and persistence to see the benefits. And quite honestly just because you do this a few times, nothing is going to magically change in your dance. Nothing. The exercise must performed religiously every. single. day. before you start your day!  The benefits will be felt gradually, and in specific how your foot comes in contact with the floor. You'll feel a bit more control, a bit more stability and a bit more as if you can do what you want with very little effort. That's because you're building up the strength in the tendons around the bones in question. Something you quite honestly don't use all that often in quite this way. This exercise forces you to use those tendons in new and expansive ways that you will end up using in tango whether or not you realize it or not. One benefit is that you will finally be able to control that super enrosque that you want, or an over-rotation because the muscles of the foot have been strengthened for you to effectively hold your weight. Whereas prior to this work, you would fall out of the rotation or enrosque! Still another benefit is that you'll be able to hold a backstep for a few seconds longer without wobbling, or a forward step without needing to hold onto your Follower for stability! See there's that word again, stability! In short, control the foot, and you control the application of your stability! Oh and before we forget, so the 3 things above that control your stability ? 1.) Your feet. 2.) Your inner ear. 3.) Your cerebellum! Your 'balance' is an affectation of your inner ear, not (for the love of christ) your 'core', please stop repeating that lie. 

Fortunately for you, dear reader, you have access to a video that explains and shows you what to do and how to do it, and even better that you can watch it and share it with your friends. Now if only you were a Silver or Gold Level Member, then you could see the entire video. But alas you're not, unless you were to subscribe... ©Tango Topics. 

Your Trip to BsAs

Your Trip to Buenos Aires

The fact is that for a lot of you, 2 weeks in Buenos Aires is all you can really manage. You'll go, spend scads of money on airfare, apartment, shoes, clothes, privates with X and Y, and then spend every waking moment taking class after class after class in those 2 weeks. You'll be filled with Tango morning, noon, and night. Milongas, classes, food, more milongas, more classes. Your every waking moment will be tango, tango, tango...which is the whole reason you're there in the first place. You didn't fly 10000+ miles to sit on your ass you know!

From a Leading perspective, yes you're going to get your head handed to you from the moment you land, yes you're going to be intimidated, and yes you're going to have more than a few dances with people from all over the world that will challenge you, change you, and bless you...all at the same milonga in the same night. That's day one. The rest is an uphill climb for a variety of reasons.

From a Following perspective, same as above. You'll see footwork that will confound you and then you'll want to take privates to be able to do just that. Go ahead, knock yourself out.

The Dancing Reality is:

a.) You're not going to be able to retain 90% of what you've seen, heard, or practiced. Even if you video the end result. The "how" you got there will elude you. And it's the 'how' part that's insanely important!

b.) Most of what you have seen, heard, or tried to practice, you're going to screw up and misremember. You'll think you're doing one thing, when in fact you're doing another! The kicker is that you won't notice it.

c.) Most of what you will see, hear, and learn will screw with your head because a good portion of the information is specific to just BsAs. Meaning that it only applies to BsAs.

d.) Most of what you will experience from shows and classes is showy noise that does not and can not work in the line of dance. The trick is to focus on the social stuff that you can actually use in the line of dance. The real trick is being able to see the difference between Tango for Export and Social Tango!

d.) The trick to getting the most out of your trip to BsAs is working on your foundation (your walk, your stability, your underlying technique). This can create change in you. Steps, patterns, figures, or dancing like X, Y, or Z will not help you. Change comes from how the foundation is put together. 🙂 

e.) The Argentines are a lovely people. They are. They've been through hell and back again. There is one immutable fact, no matter how 'nice' they are, they're STILL not going to dance with you until you prove that you have a handle on this Tango thing...that means:

From a Leading perspective: Following the line of dance, not killing your partners with crazy, bullshit vocabulary (all 502 Sacadas known to man, or the 410 types of volcadas, etc all thrown into one song), and not bumping into anyone causing blood or limb loss. While at the same time looking elegant.  All the while, making it musical, fun, and engaging for your Follower partners and showing them off! This may prove to be challenging for you because the embrace will be filled with levels of compression, and the walk will be a near constant 'impact' that you'll feel of the follower's foot on the floor - not to mention the hanging, the pulling, and the pushing. If you're looking for 'stellar', you're lookin' in the wrong place! Good luck!

From a Following perspective: Dancing with the locals is a bit easier. They're actually wanting to dance with you, and not because you're stellar either. It's because you're Norte Americano. The fact that you're female and susceptible to their charms is...icing on the cake! Truth be told you've never had a man woo you like an Argentine man will. And the attention is unlike anything you've ever experienced (unless you're Italian, or from NYC, and in which case you got this).  

f.) The floors, at certain times of the years, are packed. Read that as Jan - Mar. That's the 'high' season. When every teacher in the known universe is in Buenos Fuckin' Aires. The floors are packed with teacher/dancers...of a sufficient quality that will quite literally blow your mind. The rest of the year, if you're looking for that experience...good luck with that. It's like a ghost town by comparison. Keep that in mind when you're booking your trip, and looking for the dancing reality that is Buenos Aires. 

g.) Two fucking weeks is not fucking long enough. Quite honestly, you're wasting your time and your money by spending two weeks there. It's a waste of money to rush down there for 2 weeks. You ideally want to be there at least a month, and really 3 and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Quite honestly those first 2 weeks is just getting the lay of the land. The rest of the time is figuring out how you're going to extend your stay by another 2 to 3 months! Realistically, you'll be afraid and isolated the first few days. You'll wonder how on earth you got yourself into this mess. Going to the Milongas and classes and wonder 'WTF!'. In the end you'll be so sad when you leave that you'll have forgotten the depths of the horrors your were thinking just a few days earlier. 

h.) Learn to pace yourself. All the running around you're going to do is going to tire you out no matter how old or young you are. You can not do it all. Realistically it's about finding good experiences, not about the quantity of those experiences. Quality is the order of the day. And learning how to pace yourself in the face of those quality experiences in the mass that is BsAs is quite essential. 

i.) You're going to find people that you groove with, and not groove with. You will dance really well with some people and not others. There's a reason for this: You're all at very different places in your tango development. The more experienced you are as a dancer will allow you to dance with nearly everyone and create a 'nice' experience, and know how to manage those dances to make them palatable for both parties. The less experienced dancer (the one's that hang, pull, push,can not navigate the floor musically. And then a few days later...you'll 'magically' be able to dance with X, Y, and Z for some reason. Again, simple reason, you're getting in tune with the pace of Tango, and the idea of Tango that is BsAs. That getting in tune will leave you when you go back home. 

j.) Tango is very different at home than what you'll experience in Buenos Aires. Very different. And yet...it is the same thing. Which is to say that while it looks the same, the music is the same, the people are the same...the experience itself is vastly different for a reason:  Dancing in Buenos Aires is about a way of life. At home, you're trying to imitate that way of life in a 4 or 5 hour time period through a Milonga. The Milonga is a way of life in Buenos Aires, better known as "Tango Es Vida". Once you understand this thing, Tango then takes on a whole different way of being as does your 'two weeks' in BsAs. ©Tango Topics.

Follower Back Sacada

Follower Back Sacadas

Realistically there are very few sources of information about this stuff. 

In order to be an efficacious dancing partner for a Lead that engages with these things, there are 3 things you absolutely must be able to do without hanging, pulling, or pushing on your Lead:

1.) Disassociation and Applied Disassociation.
2.) Controlled Collection from the Forward (Lead/Follower), Side, or Back Steps. and
3.) Heels, heels, heels in every sense of the word!

The simple fact is that good tango, from the Follower's side of things via a Lead perspective, comes from a Follower who has mastered these things in lurid detail, you practice and practice and practice this stuff religiously so that you don't have to think about it at all when you're dancing...instead you 'react' and that reaction is born of the technique that you clearly have built into you over and over and over again. 

But let's be clear about something this 'technique' is not just about repetition. That's a mistake. This is MINDFUL repetition. Meaning that you consciously build or weed out errors from a movement and a motion, slowly, carefully building it to the point where it becomes reactionary. However, again, this is not necessarily all about reaction but a good portion of the time – very controlled! 

You want to be able to control every facet of your movements from toes to feet, to heel, to ankle, knees, hips, torso, shoulders, head, arms, and fingers. Every aspect of those body parts in exacting precision. Failure to do that, and you have not mastered your tool. Your body is an instrument and it must be learned, toned, tooled, and retooled, constantly. You are never a finished product, never. 

What specifically are you focusing on then ? 

Your forward step, your side step, and your back step. Your embrace within the construct of the movement of those steps. Your disassociation. Your applied disassociation. And you would think that this is just easy work...like hell it is! It's a ton of work that must be controlled, tamed, tooled and re-tooled....hours, weeks, months of time just to weed out your issues so that better technique can creep in. 

 
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