A follower’s walking path

“In tango, the first thing you learn is how to walk. And learning to walk is a never ending story. Even after 5 or 6 years of dancing, you still have to work on your walk.” Everytime I said that to somebody who just starts dancing tango, either he/she thinks I’m kidding or cheating him/her, or he/she has a difficult time to understand what I mean. So to make it easy, let see my “walking path” as a follower:

    I spent my 1st three months to make myself feel comfortable about walking backward (Come on, how many times you walk backward on the street in your life!?);
    Spent 1 year to walk “ok” – was able to balance and other people can dance with me without big difficulties;
    Then spent 1 year to make myself walk properly (push with the supporting leg) and I didn’t need to consciously thinking about that;
    After that, I spent another 1 year to achieve the minium requirement of footwork – always keep my knees & ankles close together;

Then I moved to a second stage – to improve and perfect my walk.

    First target was to have my free leg really extended and straight, it took me few months to achieve that;
    Second target was to make myself always landing on the inner side of the feet, that took me around half year;
    Third thing I did was to explore how I could deal with the heels. That took me more than a year to study different styles and to try them out myself.
    This year in Buenos Aires, I learnt from Cacho Dante and Rosana Devesa a new way (for me) of walking, I’m still practicing and experimenting it.
    Last month in Hong Kong, Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa taught me how to stretch my body and relax my joints when I’m walking. Took me 2 weeks to do that and feel how good it can be. Now I’m trying to make it as a habit.

So what’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure there’re always rooms for improvements!

5 Responses to “A follower’s walking path”

  1. Belinda-Tang Says:

    The walk is the key. We learn to walk before we run – it stands to reason that the same logic applies in tango. It is not surprising the importance of the walking technique in a dance as finely tuned as tango.

    It is fascinating to read about your walking progress. You clearly broke it down into small, distinct elements. In a step-wise manner which is useful.

    Great inspiring stuff for those committed to the walk!

  2. Krasimir Stoyanov Says:

    “walk properly (push with the supporting leg)”

    If you use the supporting leg for anything other than “support” 🙂 you effectively lead, which is far from desirable. Why not just leaving the job to the leader?

  3. Royce Says:

    Well… of course that’s part of the leader’s job. But if we follower do nothing, then leaders will probably find themselves pushing (or dancing with) a big fridge or stone when they dance. I suppose that’s not something nice!

    Anyway, what I was talking about is part of the training and concept a follower would get through when she learns the dance. When it comes to real dancing, the mechanism is never that simple, and that’s another issue.

  4. Giedre Says:

    Hi, I really enjoy all the thoughts I read here – they are so close to my own understanding. During one lesson of Mazen and Sigrid (young dancers), Mazen told a really special thing that I just loved. He said, “I do not need a follower, I need a partner”.
    I think this is how it has to be – partnerwork, not leading and following. Lady has to have some initiative and energy to make the man’s lead easier. During lessons I sometimes take some ladies to explain some movement and do it as a leader. So, I DO know how hard and heavy they can be and you almost need to push them into the step – in my opinion, this is not how it should be.

    I just would like to ask, what about this way of walking that Julio and Corina taught? I am dancing almost 6 years, but I also learn walking all the time 🙂

  5. Royce Says:

    Hi Giedre, I think the best way to know is to take a private with Julio and Corina. I did that with a friend of mine, we ended up learning the same thing – walking. We had different issues and we rarely dance together during the class. And what I like a lot and I find very useful is how to walk with my full body but not just only focus on my legs’ movement.

Leave a Reply