1. Why did you decide to learn the lead?
Firstly, learning to lead the tango has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to "play the man". For me, it is about taking responsibility for the choreography of the dance, as well as getting a better understanding of the "mechanics" at play. How can a quick change of weight and a subtle twist of the torso by the leader have the effect of such graceful, even elaborate movements like backward ochos by the leader? I wanted to become more cerebrally engaged with the tango. And it's of course great knowing that you never have to wait to be asked for a dance again!
2. What did you enjoy about learning the lead?
It is a great confidence-booster when you lead and somebody actually follows. By the way, Ranmalee, my tango partner, is the best follower that I could ask for. She is very present and committed to learning the dance - helped me immensely. And we could laugh about all the mishaps - very important! I also enjoyed the way the brain remains stimulated for hours, even days, after a lesson, as it tries to figure out what was happening from both the leader and the follower's experience of the dance, and what the leader needs to tweak to make the dance more comfortable for both.
3. Did you discover anything unexpected about the tango?
I was surprised by how little force is necessary to lead. Actually, no force at all, just the sensation of the elasticity that comes from a contained connection between the two dancers. As a follower I did not pay as much attention to the connection; but as a leader you are really lost without that. It becomes very difficult to lead if you cannot feel the connection with the follower. Everything just falls flat.
4. Does the lead bring out anything different in you as a person?
Leading boosts my assertive side. It also makes me more aware of the connection or energy exchange in other one-on-one interactions outside of tango.
5. What next?
Ranmalee and I are continuing to level 2 with the ever-patient Rachael. Like learning a new language, the tango needs dedication and constant attention. This is just the beginning of my road as a leader.