The most important thing is that the follower gets it..

We as Tango leaders have the responsibility of taking the music and communicating with precision an emotional response.

This response need not necessarily be one of longing, sadness or even beauty – although given the nature of Tango it might often be exactly that. It could be playfulness, joy or something much more precise – perhaps how you feel about someone that matters to you.

The emotion might be the joy of dancing itself, the celebration of a parade, of going for a walk together. Of fresh air, nature or conversely the darker attraction of late night urban landscapes.

It may be the shared joy that Biagi is just so difficult to catch together, or that D’Arienzo makes our feet whiz through the  smallest of steps. Or that Pugliese at his best should carry a health warning and be subject to consumption limits to prevent all of our reality from totally slipping away from us.

If the music we are dancing to is not that special for us then perhaps we can hang our experience together at least on the beauty of the violins – or perhaps on  the underlying rhythms and syncopation. All music has a space and as a great teacher said to us last week we should not be afraid to just be there and accept that space for what it is.

Whatever you are choosing to lead to – you have to choose something. Please.

We as leaders have to communicate what it is that we are dancing to. Clearly. And every day we should face up to the mirror and ask ourselves how often we do – and how often we do not.

Follows of course need to listen, and based on that communication choose how they wish to move and express their own feelings to change our dancescape in order to make it a truly joint creation.

But she has to know what it is we are communicating – or she will have nothing but her own thoughts on the music to guide her. Without this clarity from the lead and echoing understanding from herself she has no foundation on which to build a precise, informed response. Her palette is unrefined – she has no guidance at all. And this lack of focus and discipline creates a muddy world full of random gestures that were equally meaningless to the last piece of music she danced to – with someone else – that had approximately the same rhythm.

This leads us to so many possible conclusions.

Importantly I feel that unless both dancers have an understanding and love for the music much of this will be lost or at best very dull and unrefined in it’s shaping.

Echoes of individual Tango recordings circle through the decades in the same complex way as the helical strands of our DNA – so when we hear Recuerdo as an example we  instinctively understand so many things. So many levels. The “memory” – memory of what? The disputed authorship – the way this piece helped to define a change in the very heart of Tango music – the so very young Pugliese and his friends … Chicho and Vanina Bilous dancing on a sixpence.. echoes and echoes as this wonderful piece of music have moved through the decades to eventually intersect with us like a laser revealing us both here and now in this dance of ours – in all our abilities but also in our insecurities.

But if you do not know this – if it is lost on you – then what you dance has lost all of the richness of this wonderful  inheritance.

So what is my point?  I realise that the title of this blog is provocative. It might be interpreted that the follow should wake up and respond. But what I actually mean is that we as leaders need to give her a precise feeling – and that given that she can then have the structure, awareness and the listening skills to  create a response that in turn evolves and fundamentally changes how we both feel about this short time that we are spending together.

When that happens we have created something that feels so special – and in some strange way the music itself continues rippling through time all the richer for having briefly touched our lives.

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