Re: [Tango-L] Leading with arms or hands
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using one's arms or hands to
help lead a figure. What often is wrong is HOW some people use those -
as a primary lead rather than a seconary "helping" one.
There is a hierarchy of leads. Most important is the upper torso, for
overall direction in which the couple is to move, and to begin turns.
Arms supplement this. For instance, if the man adds a few double- or
triple-steps to the basic slow-slow rhythm. He would tighten his
embrace noticeably to indicate she should duplicate his rhythm change.
Or loosen his embrace (or even back off from a close connection) so
that she will know to continue the basic rhythm.
Hands should be used sparingly, but only novices claim they should
never ever be used whatsoever. An example where they are needed is in
leading a parada. A usual parada opens the embrace. The man's right
hand or lower arm presses against her back to stop her. His left hand
pushes lightly against her right hand in opposition to the lead on her
back. The two lock her into the stop.
A foot lead is sometimes used with the parada. It is unneeded if the
parada is properly lead. Teaching it may do more harm than good if it
takes attention away from leading it properly.
Foot leads are the main leads for some movements. Sacadas are an
example. Though I find it better to use my mid-ankle or mid-thigh
(but never one's ankle or knee - they are too hard). I can lead
closer to my partner's body and don't need to look down to be sure my foot is
(Speaking of looking down. The man should not tilt his head. This
throws his center of gravity forward when it would better be centered
in the middle of his torso. Also, it cuts down his peripheral vision.)
Larry de Los Angeles
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