Adam’s Note to Tango Leaders

Every week one of my students comes to our private lesson with “feedback.” The feedback she tells me about is the feedback that numerous leaders in the community have been giving her. For many weeks I just answered her questions regarding the feedback (often times I was telling her that the feedback is wrong, because it has been) but today I asked her “how do you get all this feedback from these leaders, do you ask for it?” Her answer “sometimes but usually not.”

I mentioned this to Tilly and told her how surprised I was at how many leaders are giving this follower feedback and Tilly’s first comment was “that’s just part of being a follower.” She didn’t mean this as “that’s what makes followers good,” she meant it as “that’s a sad realization that followers have to put up with.” Tilly herself dealt with this for years when she was trying to be a part of the Boston tango community but quit multiple times because she as creeped out.

Here is my suggestion to leaders: STOP IT!!!

There is no reason why you should be giving this feedback. I watch so many leaders try to teach followers on the dance floor, STOP IT!!!

First: It is completely disrespectful to the follower. You are assuming that you are better than she is, which may not be the case.

Second: You are not the best judge of your own abilities. Often times if a follower is doing something wrong it is because your own problems are being amplified through her body and you are actually seeing your own problems. A true test of your own skill as a leader is to dance with a beginner and have her successfully move on the dance floor with you without saying a word. Showing/teaching her the new gancho (or anything for that matter) you just learned from youtube (or in a class but most likely not because you are now too good to continue your education) is ridiculous .

Third: You are scaring off our new followers. So often I see old men (and some young men) prey on the youngest and newest dancers to the community. There is nothing wrong with large age gaps in dancers. One of my favorite dancers in the world is Lyne Laflamme. Although I don’t know her age, our age difference is relative to this point. If you are much older than that early 20 something follower walking in for her first or second time and you feel it necessary to teach her how to dance allowing you access to her for 3-5 tandas, you’re being creepy, STOP IT!!!

Fourth: Leaders, when talking to an advanced follower stop comparing her to anything else but herself. She is not a porsche, lamborghini, volkswagen or any other car, or any other item. If you MUST say something, tell her “you are such a wonderful dancer,” a leave it at that.

While I’m at it (and these are actually complaints I’ve heard from women over the years): shower, wear deodorant, don’t push your package on her, don’t kiss her, don’t touch her inappropriately (grabbing areas that are not part of the dance), don’t put her hand on your parts, don’t sing in her ear, don’t assume that it’s always the other guys fault when you two bump, stay in your lane, don’t get within a dancers width of the couple in front of you, don’t dance around the room without your embrace (tango without hands or chest) expecting your follower to read your body language as a connection, and last but not least USE THE CABECEO (see awkward picture of me up top, don’t do that).