If you’re new to leading in tango, you probably know only a few steps: Walking forward, pausing, rock steps, side steps, and maybe a few more (or less) figures.

It’s ok.

Remember: No one, not even the most skilled followers, can read your mind so they don’t know what you’re going to do next. As long as you’re leading clearly and making an effort to move with the music, you’ll be pleasant to dance with.

And a leader who’s easy to follow, regardless of experience, is never boring.




  1. I worry about being boring. I see other women being asked to dance much more frequently who are more skilled and shorter . I’m 5′ 9″ without the 2.5″ heels. I work intensely on my walk and ochos, trying to feel weight shifts. Feeling like I am on the edge of a major break through on ganchos. Thank you for this post- I needed that.


  2. Joe, why must everyone, including beginners want to dance close embrace? As you have probably read, I have issues with it, but also here’s my beef…..THEY DON”T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING! (lol)

    They put their arm too low around my waist, this goes for both short and tall leads-
    -This pulls me into a bad posture, I have no access
    -I am repeatedly pulled in so close I can’t pivot or use any hip action.
    -I have to look over their shoulder (I’m tall), not to the right and therefore can’t see shoulders to help guide me.
    -AND worst of all, I get dinged/scolded for bad posture, even though I repeatedly try to fix it with whomever I am dancing with that night… then the lead feels all superior because it had nothing to do with him – sigh

    Sorry, bad practica last night, very frustrated.

    Going to another one tonight that I feel less defensive at but it is an hour’s drive from me. 😦


    • Sorry you had such a frustrating experience! Yes, close embrace is a doozy and I don’t blame anyone for having issues with it – I certainly had troubles with it as well when I was new to it. But it’s a big part of tango and we need to learn it.
      And sorry you’re the one getting scolded when it sounds like it’s the leaders who have bad habits to work on (having their right hands too low, squeezing, etc). Wish I could have been there to help!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Joe, If I can leave a practica with one thing to improve my dancing each time, I figure it’s worth the abuse.

        FYI- your posts are fabulous. Practical, well-written, concise, funny and I am going to try and impart them as must-reads to the tango community here.


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