Who are the best leaders on the dance floor and what is it that sets them apart from the rest?
You could argue that this is a subjective thing, but there is some consensus in the tango world on overall qualities to be aspired to.
If you are new to the tango scene, you might be forgiven for thinking that the best leaders are those with the widest repertoire of steps. Or perhaps those who can do the most complex moves.
You may even have watched them from the sidelines and resolved that you would learn to dance tango just like them.
And you may indeed have been watching fabulous tango dancers, but what they are doing – what is visible from the outside – is only part of the picture.
The question to ask is what does it actually *feel* like to dance with them?
Because this is what makes a good tango dancer.
Your dance partner cannot see the way you look from the sidelines. All she knows is how you feel to dance with. And in tango, your partner is always much more important than anyone watching.
So what use are flashy moves if they make your partner feel uncomfortable or take her off her balance?
And more to the point, what use are they if she cannot even understand them?
It is a fundamental philosophy of tango that the leader should be able to read the experience level of every follower he dances with and dance to that level. Even if his own level is significantly higher.
A leader who leads movements that his partner is not equipped to deal with, will not give his partner an enjoyable dance experience. In fact, one could argue that he cares more about what those on the sidelines are thinking or about his own self-development, than his partner’s needs.
I like to think that a good leader creates a tango tailor-made to every follower he dances with.
And that in tango, beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder …. but in the arms of the follower!
So next time you are at the milonga, why not try switching your gaze from him to … her. And if you happen to see a little smile playing on her lips, well you’ll know she is in good hands!