Pushmi-Pullyu

One of my favorite ideas from this weekend was just a small piece of a larger venture, but it’s the one I hope everyone absorbs. This idea came from a discussion of the molinete, although it is applicable pretty much any time the leader invites the follower to move to her right side.

Imagine the moment that a leader begins the molinete. He opens his torso, creating space for the follower to step around him … and then comes the close side of the embrace, crushing inward, moving her along. Ack! That push on the follower’s left side is a serious pet peeve of mine. I don’t need to be pushed into the molinete (or any step!). It is uncomfortable, it can rush me, it can knock me off balance, and if you are leading me well it is unnecessary.

This weekend, we talked about taking away that side of the embrace entirely. Put that arm behind your back, for practice. Think of the leader’s invitation as happening just ahead of the follower’s step. The follower, as Cristina put it, is on the prowl. She is stalking the leader. He is just barely ahead of her – and with a solid frame and a torso that opens to initiate this lead, his left hand/arm are pulling her into the next step. Not a forceful tug, just a constant force that moves along with his torso, as part of the invitation.

I have been amazed at how comfortable and smooth molinetes can be with just this little change. And how sensitive I have become to that push from the leader. I can be quite stubborn, and you should have seen me as we practiced this movement: I grounded myself and did. not. move. until my leader stopped pushing and started guiding me forward with the left side of his embrace. This is not recommended milonga etiquette (haha!), but it is highly recommended for practicas to encourage leaders to make this change. And the change is heavenly.

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