Back in the 1800s, Tango was about meeting someone you were going to marry. A 13-year-old would be considered an ‘adult’, and would begin learning to both lead and follow from older men. After 3 years of training in men-only practicas, he would be deemed ready to go to a ‘milonga’ (tango salon) and would try his luck at meeting a woman.
Women were very scarce in Argentina at the time. This meant that women were the only real judges of a man’s ability as a dancer. If a young man danced poorly or was inconsiderate, he would have no chance of ever finding a wife (as she would inevitably tell all her friends about him). Therefore, it didn’t matter how good a dancer he was– all that mattered was whether his partner found his dancing enjoyable.
As Zouk Instructors we have thought deeply about what they want in a dance partner. Below is how we answer the question “What would I want in my dream dance partner?”
If I had my dream Follow she (or he) would:
- Smile and dance with most people who ask!
- Let leads know if they are too aggressive or rude
- Be balanced and self-reliant
- Move confidently rather than tentatively
- Develop nice styling and technique
- Play with the music without disrupting the lead
- Wait for my lead before executing a movement
- Stay on her own line of dance as much as possible
- Provide a supple and flexible connection
- Look at me when she dances with me
- Predict musical transitions and prepares for them
- Be adaptable to differences in our dance styles
- Dance with me another song if she enjoyed it
- Thank me for the dance when we’re done!
If I had my dream Lead he (or she) would:
- Escort me onto and off of the dance floor
- Begin by connecting to me with easy moves
- Adapt to my ability as a dancer
- Listen to what I need energetically, sometimes I want to rock out and sometimes I want to relax
- Play with the music and make me feel it
- Develop his own awesome style and patterns
- Show me off
- Execute figures safely and comfortably
- Move powerfully but not aggressively
- Lead with his body, not his arms
- Use different body parts to lead movements
- Look at me when he dances with me
- Keep his own space on the dance floor
- Politely thank me for the dance after we’re done
- Ask me about my life outside of dance!
What would you like in your dream dance partner? Let is know in the comments below!