Friday, June 17, 2016

Why We Should Dance With Beginners - It's Not What You Think.

We all know that encouraging beginners is necessary to grow a Tango community. A Tango community that is not constantly growing eventually dies. And the best way to encourage beginners is to make sure the experience is rewarding - by dancing with them.

 Beginners need to dance with good dancers in order to get better. Beginner leaders need to dance with followers who actually DO what they lead, so they know when they are leading correctly. And beginner followers need to learn how to follow - best done by following a competent lead.

 But there is another reason advanced dancers should dance with beginners - - to improve their own dancing. Think about it. What better way to improve your lead than to dance with someone who only follows the clearest of leads? What better way to improve balance than to dance with someone who not only does not compensate for balance errors, but has their own balance issues? And what better way to increase your improvisational ability than to constantly deal with the unexpected?

 Dancing with a beginner lets you practice making the simplest moves interesting. It gives you the chance to find opportunities for musical interpretation in unexpected places. Leaders get the opportunity to practice adapting a follower's misstep into a lovely expression of musicality. Followers can take the opportunity to adorn the long pauses while a new leader is deciding where to go next. 

There is also the occasional emotional vacation you get when dancing with a partner who assumes you never make mistakes. You can just relax, and enjoy the music, knowing that no one expects you to do an amazing Tango with a beginner.

 So the next time you are at a Milonga, take the time to dance with a beginner or two. It is good for them. It is good for you. And if you get out of the mindset that it is some kind of sacrifice, you may even find you enjoy it.

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