Intention Based Dancing
"Resistance, give me resistance! I can't feel you!". Followers hear this so often that it begs the question if Leads learn this as part of their technique classes on "How to be annoying in 10 seconds or less!" or "10 things to say to your Follower that will piss them off!". Piss them off ? Yup. Why ? From a Leading perspective you're screaming to your Followers that you need to control them, and that's all you know and or can hear. From a Following perspective, it screams..."I am unstable" and "I need to hang on you!". This dance is all about nuance. Meaning that arm and or hand force, tension, pressure, compression, not so much with that.
From a Leading perspective: You believe erroneously that you must apply force and pressure to get what you want out of your Followers. When the complete opposite is true. Yes, you can apply force to them to get them to do what you want. This methodology, however, says that you must control them. It also says to them that you don't trust them and can't rely on them to listen to what you're leading, and then to execute it. Furthermore what it also says is that they will never, ever be able to hear the level of precision that you desire the most. Put simply if you don't take the 'guiding' (ahem... and this is being kind when using that word...it's more 'steering' and rough steering at that) platform of your arms and hands away from them, then they'll never be able to control that stuff themselves because you're too busy being heavy handed. As a result they'll never learn how to manage their own stability, and their own bodily control. Further still, you'll never learn to lead someone with nuance instead of Force! And beyond that, you'll never be able to tell when you have a Follower in your arms that responds to effortless dancing because you're too busy over-functioning, over-managing, over-controlling them! Further still is that there is no way to separate what's your's and what's theirs if you're constantly forcing your dance partner to do X, Y, and Z. There's only one game here, and that's you telling, or dictating to the Follower what they should do. The whole point is to suggest, invite, engage...not tell! No one, absolutely no one likes to be told what to do. So if you don't like it, what on god's green earth makes you believe the Follower is going to enjoy it ?
From a Following perspective: Truth be told, you have been told so often, in nearly every class or workshop, by Female teachers (who rightfully should know better) and Male teachers that you must ... 'wait for your lead'. As a result that waiting turns into a lag in you. You get so used to 'waiting' that you become reliant on that 'wait' to do everything! That lag results in the Lead needing to push or force you to do X, Y, and Z which as a result turns into...resistance. In this instance you want to move with the intent of what's being given to you. As you feel the intent to move, GO! Don't sit there and wait to be pushed to do something...GO! These statements can easily lead one to believe that we're talking about an out of control Follower, or a willful Follower that is willy-nilly going wherever they feel the need to. That's not the case. The intent in this case is very small, your goal is to read that 'small' part and then to interpret it as either forward, side, back, or incremental, and either linear or circular and then to go with it while at the same time following a basic principle: Staying 'with' your Lead.
From a Dancing perspective: Most of this topic has dealt with resistance and it's deleterious effects on the dancing couple. However, what would happen if you removed all that 'stuff' above ? What would happen if you were to engage stability as a Follower, where you didn't need to be so heavy handed as a Lead ? What would happen if you were be responsible for your own walk, your own embrace, your own individual component of the dance ? What would happen ? Freedom is what happens! Options and opportunities happen! At first there is a lack of precision that occurs, and then later on the more that you practice this way of dancing the more precise control you have over the tiniest of things. For one thing there's less sweat! This was of dancing is almost unreal! The dancing couple that is engaging in Intention Based Dancing is lighter, appears and acts effortless, there's less stress on the couple as a whole, and more over far more precision in technique as well as musically. Over time what ends up happening to those people that dance from intention, both parties enjoy the experience and can then access the whole reason that they're there for in the first place: Tango Nirvana. Now comes the kicker – a good portion of the better dancers use this 'way' of dancing. They don't require the things described here because they know that something else is possible! Not all of them but a good portion of them employ this way of dancing.
Think of This: Applying resistance, tension, force, compression: Each time that you apply any of these things in any level of measure, it's like a jarring transition from sleep! Do you like it when your alarm clock goes off first thing in the morning ? Probably not. Guess what ? You're doing the same thing here with all that stuff to your dancing partners!
How do you change ? First do you want to change ? Put another way, do you want to wake your partners as if you were an alarm clock ? Probably not. Guess what ? You're doing just that in a myriad of ways from your walk to your embrace to the choice of vocabulary. From a 'THUD' to 'Compression' and everything in between. So if the answer to that question is a "I'd like to do that but it sounds like too much work and too much effort..." then thank you very much for reading, and have a lovely day! Otherwise if the answer to that question is an emphatic "Yes Miles!!!" then read on....
Actual Change ? Sadly. This is not something that you can learn from a video. More specifically you can not learn the kinesthetics from a video. However, you can learn the vocabulary and how to move from a video. The kinesthetics is something that must be felt and then replicated over time with someone who can adjust how you feel in every aspect of your embrace and your walk at the same time.
From a Follower's perspective this change deals mostly with corrective back step issues that arise from how the leg extends and how the foot lands on the floor. This change must be drilled, and trained into the Follower over and over again. It is repetitive in one respect and corrective in another. This isn't about mindless repetition but rather 'mindful' or conscious process. Now we add the embrace component and really dealing with 2 very important phrases that means very little now but will mean an enormous amount later. 1.) Staying in front of your Lead. and 2.) Staying with your lead. It's important to note the distinction here of 'Lead' and 'lead'. The 1st is the person (Lead) and the 2nd is the action (lead)!