¿Qué nos trae al nirvana?

I would love to get your feedback on these questions:

What makes you want to dance with someone? What turns you off to them?

There are many things that can make a leader enticing to me, and they don’t all appear in every leader. It’s hard for me to even say that I like one thing more than another – and thus one leader more than another. I expect all leaders to respect me, to be polite and kind, to respect my limitations (either ones that I impose or ones that are imposed on me by my inexperience), and to not mix talking and dancing. But leaders who will draw me in again and again have great musicality – some will be slow and luscious, some will be quick and playful, but all will have a sense of musical phrasing and rhythm. They will have soft but very present frames, with good posture. (Oh the pain of refusing a dance with an otherwise good leader who always leaves me with an aching back!) They will listen for the times when I want to play, rather than steamrolling my contributions and dictating every move. They will also respond to our moods and the music, giving me something slightly new every time we dance.

Things that turn me off are, I think, fairly common: Poor posture, lack of any sense of the beat (although I will certainly dance with beginners who are just learning how to use the beat and rhythm of the music!), teaching on the floor, talking through the dances, dragging me off balance, insisting on wild moves when I am clearly asking to avoid them, running me into other people, etc. I won’t hold beginners to an impossible standard, but I do insist that they focus on what is important (staying on the beat, navigating safely, respecting me) and not jumping into crazy moves when they don’t have the foundation for them. And I won’t blacklist a leader for a minor infraction. I also don’t concern myself with the other followers that a leader chooses to dance with, unless I see him consistently running for the Pretty Young Things (a term I’m pretty sure I picked up somewhere … ?) and ignoring better but less conventionally attractive followers.

On what points do you disagree? What have I forgotten? And, very importantly, what do the leaders think?

*This post inspired by Alex’s recent post about how you decide to dance with someone … and what makes you decide not to.


One thought on “¿Qué nos trae al nirvana?

  1. Hi MT, how are you?Hm, I’ve been thinking about this very topic recently and I think you covered a lot of the essentials for prospective dance partners. But I think perhaps one of the most important things for me is that I feel that my partner is dancing *with* me and not simply *before* me, if you know what I mean. I dislike it when I feel that my partner isn’t really focused on my lead. It makes me feel that I can’t channel my interpretation through her, which defeats the purpose in my mind. And also, I can’t really tell if she really enjoys dancing with me or if I’m just being used as a vehicle for her.Related to the latter idea, I find it difficult to dance with people who are overly aloof or generally inscrutable in the sense that I can’t tell if she is enjoying the dance with me or not. If I can’t be sure she is having a good time then I feel I have failed in my obligation as a leader. The “sharing” aspect of tango is very important to me and so there has to be a good personal rapport off the floor as well as on. I can forgive a lot of technical stuff if there is chemistry. For this reason, I almost never ask anyone to dance without at least initiating things by breaking the ice with some conversation, even if I know for sure she is a fantastic dancer. And while I know there is a separation between the dance relation and non-tango relations, I have a hard time enjoying the dance if we don’t connect on a personal level. It makes the spaces between the songs really awkward and who needs that?Anyway, those are just a couple of thoughts.

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