(Note: I will refer to leaders as"he" but the same applies for women leaders)
I really admire and respect those leaders who have recently finished a beginners course and come to the milonga. I always tell my students that leaders need more time and cognitive processing to learn tango. They need our 100% support. I am also respectful of students who want to take their time in learning tango before hitting the milonga. There is no obligation to "milongear".
Hints for followers of new leaders
.1 Yes!!! He's dancing. Be grateful that we have a new leader on the scene. Put out positive vibes. Nurture him.
2. Don't assume that he is confident about his dancing just because he is doing lots of moves.
3. Be generous in your spirit. If you need to give feedback, rather be specific than vague. That will allow him to make the necessary adaptions.
4. Be tactful about inviting him to dance. Many new leaders want to come to a milonga to watch first. Make conversation with him and use your "sixth sense" to see if he is interested.
5. If you notice that he is with a partner, take care to gage if he is interested in dancing with anyone else before asking
In our community it is more common for men to ask women to dance than vice versa. All the followers are women. As result, certain gender issues come into play in the milonga. Women in the following role need to have choices in the dance.
Hints for leaders of new followers
1. Be open and warm but don't assume that a new follower who comes to the milonga wants to dance. Like new leaders, she may just want to check out the scene and watch. The best way to know is to engage her in conversation before asking her to get an idea if she is interested in dancing.
2. Refrain from giving her a lesson on the dance floor. The most caballero way to dance with a new person is to start absolutely simply. If you know she has only taken a few lessons, a walk, cross and ocho is enough. Like leaders, new followers don't like to feel that they have been "caught". It is not polite to verbally tell people how they should be following on the dance floor. Your lead should say it all!
3. Refrain from taking her hand and leading her onto the dance floor. You are giving her little choice about dancing with you if you do this.
4. Allow her to dance in the open embrace if she chooses to. While seasoned dancers may be used to the closed embrace, new followers may find it intimidating. It can take time for people to get accustomed to the closed embrace. Don't give her the impression that you think the open embrace is inferior.
5. Intend to dance with a new follower for an entire tanda (3-4 songs). However, if either of you feel uncomfortable, agree to dance more at a later stage.
6. Ask the new follower to dance at the beginning of a tanda. That way she knows she will be dancing tango, walz or milonga.
7. If the new follower is with a partner that looks like a "date", wait until you get to know them before asking the follower to dance. Some people only want to do tango as a couple and we need to respect that.