The Importance of Anticipation in Tango

Anticipation in tango… a bad thing?

I’ve always been told so. Of course a follower shouldn’t anticipate the lead, but doesn’t it happen naturally the other way around? Or even develop through a good connection?

I dance differently with every follower, of course, for the same reason that I dance differently to different pieces of music. And tango is a three-way conversation between the music, the woman and the man. Each has an effect on, and expects a response from the other.

The woman and the man respond to each other and the music. And although the music does not respond in turn, the way it is heard depends on the emotional state of the dancers and their ability to work with the complexities of rhythm and melody.

So when I dance with a follower I should begin to understand the way she responds to the music and my lead, and therefore, perhaps, to anticipate a little the possibilities of her response.

A good leader should also be aware of the dancers around him and his partner, and be able to anticpate a little their possible movements in order to protect his partner… here’s an experienced dancer: no problem; the couple over there are less experienced and don’t seem to be paying as much attention to the music as they might: best keep a safe distance in case of unexpected back-steps or flamboyant moves.

Of course there’s also the other kind of anticipation which begins before the dance. The anticipation which builds before and during the day of the milonga… listening to tango music at home or in the car on the way to the venue. That’s the sort of anticipation we should all feel.

A tango senryu

My heart moving
To the way her body moves

~ by magickwords on Saturday, 23 June 2012.

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