Followers – here are some things we need to stop doing when we tango:

Compromising balance & axis to accommodate our partners: Our motivation is to be helpful, and that’s very nice. But making things difficult for ourselves to help the leader doesn’t help anyone in the end. It’s better to calmly stand our ground, and let the leaders figure things out on their own.

Apologizing too much: It’s ok to acknowledge the occasional error, but frequent “I’m sorrys” might mean we’re admitting responsibility for the leader’s mistakes. We can take responsibility only for the elements within our control.

Trying to take over: It’s like trying to use a computer mouse connected to a laptop while someone else uses the trackpad. It’s funny for a while, but ultimately unproductive. Let go. The leader’s role is to make us look good. It won’t happen unless we trust them.

Getting ahead: I know we’re eager to get dancing as soon as we arrive at a milonga, and maybe we’re with a partner who’s (thankfully) easy to read. But moving ahead of him/her is like peeking at the last page of a novel to see how it ends. Spoilers are bad for books, movies, and tango.

Following a bad lead just to be polite: Yes, we often know what leaders want us to do. But doing – or worse, guessing – what leaders want out of politeness only reinforces negative leading habits. It also makes us magnets for bad dancers. So be polite…about insisting that we be led clearly.

Fear not – I’ll pick on the leaders in the next article.

Feel free to add more to this list in the comments section…

stop signs



In tango, maintaining balance is a fundamental but important concept (you can read an earlier post about it here). Yes, to be scientifically accurate, our sense of balance is mainly governed by the inner ear. But while dancing, we apply more physically tangible aspects: the axis, core, alignment, etc.

Not only should we be aware of our own balance, but we also need to keep track of our partner’s as well. Awareness of our partner’s balance is useful in gauging skill/comfort level, and knowing which figures they’re confident with. But when this awareness becomes a reason for one partner to control the other’s axis (even with good intentions), it becomes a big problem. 

Sometimes the best help we can offer is to ease up on the embrace, and give our partners the space and opportunity to steady themselves.

remotely funny