Skip to content

November 25, 2008


The simple truth

Over the past weekend, I attended the first half of Hsueh-tze’s Art of Tango workshop series which will run over two weekends. I am happy to say that while some of the materials taught were already familiar to me, I was still able to pick up many subtle technical points. If anything, I think her demonstration of different ways of dancing to D’Arienzo’s “La Bruja” was well worth the price of admission, as they say!

Something that was mentioned in the class really stuck in my mind. A statement which Hsueh-tze attributed to one of her former students went something like this:

A good leader makes everything “simple” (for the follower).

Here the word “simple” can be taken to mean “effortless”. In other words, a key characteristic of a good lead is clarity, so that there is no ambiguity in the follower’s mind and no further interpretation is necessary.

As a matter of fact, this statement is very consistent with what another recent visiting teacher, Javier Rodriguez, kept emphasizing. Although, in Javier’s case, the analogy was more graphic and often involved a bullhorn of some sort. 😉

So, in contrast to a good leader, what are the tell-tale signs of a not-so-clear or bad leader?

Well, there is the case of lecturing on the dancer floor. As Jean-Michel commented: “those who can (lead well), do, and those who can’t (lead well), lecture!” There is also the slightly more subtle phenomenon of repeatedly leading a move/sequence until a follower “gets it” (one of the pet peeves by a visitor to Singapore). From what I have observed, this tends to create stress, confusion and perhaps a bit of inferiority complex in followers, especially so for the relatively new comers. Again referring to Jean-Michel’s comments, we should try to observe the following overriding “principle” at a milonga: “Milonga is a social party, let’s keep it enjoyable for everyone!”

* Obviously, exceptions are made in a class or practica situation, although even there one must not let egos (especially the leader’s) get in the way.

Read more from Musings, Techniques
1 Comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Simple yardsticks : YYQuest Tango Blog

Comments are closed.