I was at a tango festival recently watching several women leading. What struck me most was – can you guess? – Of course, their posture and the lack of clear attention to their intention and to being grounded.
The power in the lead comes from the legs and their connection to the ground, not from trying to thrust our chest into our partners’. (No side comments please!) This is all about physics, which I will leave to those who can speak that language. However, the strength in our stride comes from the connection of our legs to the ground, think about your hamstrings reaching all the way down the back of the leg to the heel. (Just for the record, they do not reach the floor but stop below the knee.) The understanding of how to use this power, from our natural centers and how it relates to your axis and that of your partners’ is the key. If you are thrusting your chest then you are falling forward into your partner and thus, forcing a counter activity from your partners’ axis. It is so frustrating for me to see such misuse of body mechanics.
I have been enjoying very much my Leading Ladies workshops in Phoenix, watching ladies of all ages engage in taking the lead. Some come because they are interested in learning to lead but I would say they come out of curiosity and with that curiosity comes amazing insight. Again, understanding the technique of how to move the body with another person through the connection of the embrace is essential. And they soon discover that following doesn’t work either when these things aren’t!
I can hear some of the critics including my tango partner who says, “ladies need to learn to lead from a man who leads”. I hear that, I understand that argument, but I find that a lovely gaggle of ladies together is not only fun but helpful to each other. So many times in classes (almost all the time that I have experienced) the attention is given to the leader. In the classroom setting it is a challenge to try to address leaders and followers equally and for all parties to feel that they too have equal voice. (And this is another topic for another blog!) Gathering the ladies to introduce them to leading skills improves their following and, I am going to guess, that it could have farther reaches into improving the community overall.
I have found that the types of questions that are posed in my leading ladies workshops are similar to the line of inquiry that I get from my college students. It is SO exciting!
If you are interested in coming to the next Leading Ladies – it will be Saturday February 8th at 12:00pm – 1:30pm at the Solana Tango Room. RSVP please and I’ll pass on the address if you don’t already have it.