Tango Topics | Social Dancing Tools

The Molinete Problem

There is an issue with the Follower’s Molinete, and the Lead’s corresponding Giro. An issue so big, so problematic that when you see it, you’ll think that there’s no issue at all. None. Truth be told you see the issue all the time, and because it happens with such frequency, that you hardly pay any attention to it. That is until your local teacher (worth the whole reason you’re paying them in the first place) says to you in the nicest way they know how something to the effect of, “Hey! Pinhead! What are you doing ?“. Now at this point it should be pointed out that this is not just one problem, but in fact two. The Follower’s and The Lead’s. Both issues co-combine to create this problem child. So what exactly is the issue ? The Molinete Problem.

From a Leading perspective, the Molinete Problem can best be described as three (3) issues that happen to line up just perfectly. Issue #1.) Your hips are in the way of the Follower. Quite honestly, you’re a big piece of man, and as such perhaps no one has mentioned this to you but you’re not exactly made of wispy fluffy clouds my friend. Meaning ? That no one, absolutely no one is going to magically move through you, and that translates as you must move out of the way just enough to allow the Follower to getting around you. Issue #2.) You are one lazy S.O.B. Meaning ? That you do not actually ask for the applied disassociation from the Follower, you just assume that it’s magically going to happen. You start turning and BAM, they’re instantly supposed to know that they should invoke a molinete ? Excuse me ? What ? How’s that ? Issue #3.) A good portion of the time, you are watching the Follower’s feet to check to see if they’re going in the right place, or perhaps you’re checking out their new pedicure, or you’re secretly impressed with the choice of shoe (madame pivot, or comme il fauts). Whatever the reason, you’re foot watching and this creates more problems than it’s worth for you. Most notably, you never develop a rather necessary skill – tango proprioception! What’s that you ask ? It means that from a Tango perspective, that you sense where the Follower’s body, arms, head, legs, knees, hands, and feet are in space and time at all times. Failure to develop this skill and you end up watching what the Follower is doing. And as a result you end up becoming THAT guy that you can’t stand to watch dancing. Because their posture is awful, their Followers complain about them behind their backs, and no one has said a word to them for years about what’s really going on! And you don’t want to be THAT guy.

From a Following perspective, the Molinete Problem could be described as three (3) issues that happen almost in sequence. Almost. Issue #1.) While you have been taught ‘proper’ technique, reality has taught you that a good portion of Leads that you’re dancing with are going to squeeze the living daylights out of you in the turn specifically on your back steps. As a result, disassociation and applied disassociation are not possible. The fact that the Lead is squeezing you, keeping you from going away from them, is quite literally stopping your applied disassociation. No disassociation, which translates as no applied disassociation, which translates as Issue #2.) Your stunted side steps AND wacky back steps.  They end up muuuuch smaller than you actually need them to be which in turn helps to co-create Issue #3.) You can’t actually get around your lead, because Mister Amazing Lead (ahem) is quite literally in your way. Now to be fair, while a good portion of this problem is Mister Amazing Lead’s problem, you are responsible for a good portion of it as well. How’s that ? Perhaps you haven’t noticed this fact but, you don’t pass through collection on your back steps. And as a result you just willy-nilly throw your leg back behind yourself thereby pulling the couple (you and your partner) into this weird not-semi-circle-ish thing. So in short, because you don’t actually pass through collection on your back steps, and your back steps tend to go away from the Lead (the person, not the action), not around them, we have a tiny little problem.  At the same time, while all this is going on, you assume that said Lead is leading a turn, when in fact that they aren’t. They’re ‘inferring’ a turn be initiated by turning away from you. This is known as the ‘Lazy Man’s Turn and you just assume because they’re ‘turning’ that you should invoke your Molinete! Hmmm, how do we put this in a word ? Ummmmmm … NOT! Put simply, if there is no disassociation from the lead (the action, not the person), then that means that you invoke a Milonguero Turn not your Molinete! This is seemingly contrary to what you’ve been told. ‘Seemingly‘ being the operative word here. It’s not contrary, it’s just not complete. Either no one has drilled this information into your head, or your teachers weren’t aware of this possibility, or you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t bothered to watch the Milonguero/Salon style dancers that have been around for ages and that do this sort of thing. So as a result of your lack of awareness of the topic, you end up doing a lot more work than you rightfully should mostly because you ‘assume’ (wrongly) that the Lead is invoking your Molinete when in fact they’re not. They’re inferring it, and you assume it, so therefore we have yet another problem.

The Dancing Fact is that these problems can be solved in one of a few ways. Education being chief among the solutions. ‘Knowledge is power’, as they say. Knowledge alone, however, is not going to dig you out of this hole. In fact about the only thing that will is some good old fashioned hard work, toil, sweat, and probably more than a few tears. Yes the dance is supposed to be fun, however when you’re dealing with engrained behavior it takes time, patience, hard work, and a few tears to unlearn what you have learned. Put simply, your behaviors are not going to change over night simply because you watched a video and magically there was change. No! Change of habit takes time, patience, diligence, and the willingness to change, and working at the problem every day for a while in order for there to be any results. However, having the right tools…well then you’ve come to the right place! 

The Right Tools. For Followers those tools are going back to your foundation, and practicing your collections, and applied disassociations. Make them 2nd nature behaviors. For the Lead it means moving your hips (just the hips) out of the way. However, this only solves the long term problem not the short term problem of Fixing the Problem!

Fixing The Problem. The simplest solution to this problem is three fold. The first and second solutions are from a Leading perspective, and the 3rd is from a Following perspective. The reality is that these solutions are simple and easy. The hard part is remembering to do them. To change your habits. Unfortunately you’re not going to do that unless you have good reason to do so. Nobody likes change because change is hard. It means doing things inconveniently that are probably good for you in the long run but in the short term it’s very disruptive on multiple levels. At the same time, it’s also good to have very clear examples of good, clear, clean technique and solutions to these types of problems. Sadly though, you are a free user so you only see this bullshit paragraph that doesn’t really help you out all that much. And more importantly the video up above is only half of the problem…(e.g. showing you the problem). You really want to see the whole thing. And that means subscribing to this website and then upgrading the subscription to Gold level to see the more than 150+ (now) videos that are here ranging from follower technique, to lead technique, to these videos of What Happens In The Case Of….WHIC! Hit that green button that says “SUBSCRIBE“. 
 

Scroll to top