Be able to lead ≠ dancing

I always want to say this to leaders, especially to those who are very proud of themselves being able to lead properly and do challenging/fancy sequences but never pay attention to the music – “Being able to lead doesn’t mean that you are being able to dance.” Leading is just the minimum requirement, being able to put what you lead into the music is the real challenge and the real target.

To make it clear, here’s the formula of what I’m trying to say:
Dancing = Moving with/according to the Music
Leading some steps = Moving*
And
* Moving is not necessarily with the music
So
Leading ≠ Dancing

Leaders, no matter what you’re trying to lead or do in a dance, please, listen to the music and make your movement according to the music! That will bring us (the follower, especially those who are very musical) the most joy. As a very demanding follower, I will never consider the following leaders as a reasonable dancer:

- A late Di Sarli’s music is playing and he’s like dancing on Firpo and vice versa… (Don’t laugh, it happened to me once and I swear I will never dance Di Sarli with that guy again).

- No matter what kind of music is playing, he’s never on the beat or the rhythm or the melody … (sorry, this is pure Moving, I want to dance).

To be fair and show I know what I’m saying, as a follower, I can lead as well. However, my leading ability is only good enough to survive in a tango classroom, most of the time, I can execute what the teachers are teaching in a learning environment, but I can hardly use all those stuff I learned on a social dancing environment. Why? Because I don’t commit to be a leader and I rarely practice my leading skill. So I can’t use those steps/sequences on a real dance and not even talking about putting them on the music, even though I’m quite sure that most of the time my lead is clean and clear. The conclusion: to be able to lead and to be able to dance is two different things, we need to work hard to make ourselves progress from “just leading” to “real dancing”. Being able to say a bunch of words doesn’t mean that you’re able to speak the language, that’s the same in tango.

2 Responses to “Be able to lead ≠ dancing”

  1. Derrick Lee Says:

    Ha ha!!!!
    This article recalls my memory in Tango Firework 2000 in LA.
    That’s the first time I met Royce.
    I remember one day I danced with Royce.
    After finishing that track, she said to me “You cannot dance Tango like Milonga, this is a Tango, not Milonga.”
    HA….Quite a musical girl…!
    Well, until now, I still think I just want to present the funny feeling of the “Tango”, but I might not be good enough, so that you treated it as I was dancing “Milonga” >

  2. Derrick Lee Says:

    (found reply limitation today, re-write)
    Back to this article, it’s really nice and clear. To me, a good leader could share with followers what he is listening.
    Morever, a good and thorough leader could understand what follower is listening. I saw many guys dancing too quickly with music,
    that’s okay…if the woman could follow you. If she cannot, you have to notice it as long as you’re listening to HER.
    Musicality is hard for any beginner, but I hope my students could learn how to communicate while involving in musicality.

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