One of my star students surprised me last week at his private lesson when he started each of his tangos with a side-to-side rocking step. I asked him what was the purpose of the new move. He said he had seen several people at a recent milonga doing this, and he thought it was a nice way to get in sync with the lady and with the music at the beginning of a tango. What he didn't realize was that he was already way beyond using this method to start his tango; in fact he's been starting his tangos like an expert for over a year.
Cool tango man, professional Oliver Kolker
This new move that he had learned from peers put him momentarily back in the kiddy pool. My student didn't need a rocking step to connect with his partner and with the music. He learned even as a beginner to listen carefully to the beginning of the song, then embrace his partner (having already understood the rhythm), shift her weight to liberate the foot with which he wants her to walk, do a subtle preparatory gesture with his knees and upper body to prepare her to go, and in the second that he feels they're both ready and the music calls him, he goes without hesitation.
A tango man doesn't need to rock to back and forth, making his partner rock back and forth with him, so that they can synchronize while he figures out the rhythm. A man focuses, listens, observes and evaluates in silence, then he makes ONE decision and takes action. Period. He might do an embellishment to the music while he's listening and waiting for his moment to launch, but his weight stays solidly in one place until he starts his tango.
Just look at the beginnings of many of the videos I've placed on this blog. Watch how all the tango heroes we admire begin their tangos. No rocky-rocky. They do just what I have described to you!
When you're stable, calm and decisive, from the start of your tango through the end, you'll maintain your balance, dance more competently and not have moments of panic, nor collisions on the dance floor.
Would you like to know what I think of a man's listening, contemplating, and preparing briefly and in silence, then taking decisive action? I think it's sexy.
To all my male readers, if you tend to rock back and forth to start your tango, try this other way I described, and see if it doesn't make you feel more like the kind of man you really are deep down! Secure, stable and decisive.
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