Alex coined a great term: boppers. My golden-standard to check if the follower “bops” a lot is to do some corridas. It’s one of the best feelings to feel both of us glide instead of trying to manage her boppiness… I call them bouncies.
At any rate, Alex’s post inspired me to write about why I love dancing with beginners. Why? First and foremost because I still consider myself a beginner and I make a point of reminding that to every person I dance, specially if they start going on about how good I am. I always tell them that they still need to dance with great dancers to have an honest opinion. That said, there’s much more as to why I really like dancing with beginners.
Clean Slate. Yes, they don’t tend to have vices, obnoxious unlead quirks, etc. I try as much as possible to make we feel as equal instead of me giving them a lesson or helping them out of pity. Sometimes it is a bit impossible if they’ve only had very classes/dances. But in general, in practicas I ask if they want to work on something specifically and then ask if we can work on something I want to work on. Not only I try to level our dance relationship but I also try to get somewhere together. It helps the community feeling of learning tango and makes us more accessible to each other in the future to try/practice something out. It’s also a great way to meet peers and since I’m shy with people I don’t know, the more the merrier.
No attitude. Very rarely I’ve seen beginners with an attitude problem. But they exist. It’s all good, I don’t dance with them. Recently I was taking a beginners class and a woman there apparently had something against me. I had never spoken to her neither did any harm to her. But she had a problem with me. I won’t be dancing with her since I am very sensitive to all kind of less positive feelings coming towards me and I dance to enjoy the music and its positive vibe. The moment I stop enjoying it, I’ll do something else. Life’s too short to waste it on unhappiness.
Pushes my technique forward. They’re beginners so when I try stuff I’m not very good/proficient at, I really have to do my best to lead it really well. Chances are they don’t know what I’m trying to lead and neither they’ve done it enough times before to have muscle memory for it. This helps me become much more clear in my lead and take into account the follower, their shortcomings and own pace. It’s a humbling experience that I recommend to everyone.
Helps me become a better tango citizen. The more beginners I help out to become better dancers, the better I get at it. The more I realize what works in helping out someone become better follower/leader, the more insightful comments I can give to anyone in the future. This will be better for the community as a whole.
Future dance partners. Obviously, if they practice a lot with me, they will realize what I feel is really important to me in a follower. It’s a selfish driver but it is more unconscious than otherwise. I am fully aware that other leaders will enjoy different things in a follower but I don’t force any ideas.
There’s more but this is enough for now