I just read this post by Mari at My Tango Diaries and it really struck a chord with me. She describes dancing with a new partner, enjoying the song and the connection, until suddenly, he breaks the embrace for an under-arm turn, or soltada. After that, she couldn’t get her connection back.
Every so often, someone leads me in something like this, too. And it always feels awkward. Always. No matter how good the leader is otherwise. Because all of a sudden, our connection, the place I’m getting all my lead information, is just *poof* gone. And I’m supposed to do some little turn or something and then just magically find that connection again? It doesn’t work. I always manage to do, more or less, something like what the guy wanted. Maybe the guys don’t even notice how awkward it is. But I don’t like it.
The connection is a fragile thing. It is not automatic, no matter how well-matched the dancers are. This is why we take the first few bars of the song to find it, before we start moving. (You always do that, right?) So it is just asking for trouble to break it in the middle of the song, and then just expect to move on.
My most important job as a follower is to relax and be led. But breaking the embrace takes me out of my followers “zone”. Suddenly, I’m not following, I have to think and do some movement by myself. If I wanted to dance by myself, I would take up ballet or jazz. Finding that zone again afterward is awkward. Suddenly I’m thinking about my movements, instead of just doing them.
Why do leaders do these movements? Is it just another “flashy” move? Do they think followers like them? (DO followers like them? Undoubtedly, some do.) I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, when leaders have tried this with me, that I feel lost when they do. I may not have explicitly said “I don’t like that” but what leader wants to make his follower feel lost?
I don’t know why guys do it. It strikes me as a “nuevo” or “fusion” type move. (Neither of which are things I like.) Luckily, I don’t encounter it much, so I just do it and move on as best I can.