Connection - No Slack in the System
The follower's arms and back are tools that both the follower and leader can use to make the lead/follow more effective.
Once in a while, David will be dancing with a student and he'll say to them, "you're doing that wonderfully well, but you also need to be able to do it in this less good way." It's a strange statement.
But, sometimes, one lead is great for an advanced follower and yet would fail miserably for a beginning follower or visa versa (a follow would do well for an advanced leader but wouldn't do well for a beginning leader).
This concept is good for both people who are leaders and followers, both advanced and beginners. It's a matter of the subtlety of pressure. It's you're more advanced, you can use this in a more subtle way and immediately from the beginning of the movement to enhance the togetherness.
If you're dancing with a beginner, then this is one of the most important techniques to make the dance feel good and to make the lead/follow work clearly, even though the other person doesn't necessarily have the strongest of skill sets.
Here's what no slack can look like.
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- It Takes Q To Tango
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(From the website): Created in July, 2009 by Erskine Maytorena, a third generation tango musician and opera singer, QTANGO performs authentic Argentine tango arrangements as often as two to three times a week throughout the Southwest for tango dancers and listeners.
- One of the things that really helps the lead-follow a lot is if there's no give between us, when he's trying to lead me.
- So, if he tries to lead me, and then, I move away from his hand, then it doesn't give him anything to work with.
- So, we want to teach you something that David calls, "No slack in the system".
- Which means that between his hand, or, his body and my hand, or his hand and my body, - there's no give.
- So, you can say, "Why is he holding one of these audio cables?"
- And the answer is, I want to say this is very much like leading and following.
- So, if she holds one end of the audio cable, and I hold the other, and I want her to go forward,
- I don't know if you can see in the camera, but it's very bent. And now, it's straight.
- D: And so, if I say, "Step forward", nothing happens.
N: And that's because there's, what he calls, slack in the system.
- On the other hand, if we let it get taunt first, and then, I pull - then I can pull her forward.
- D: And I, actually, want you to do this at home. You know, find your five year old kid. "Can I pull you forward?" They'll really like it.
N: That sounds like a good idea.
- And so, then, after you realize, well, hey, as long as it's, you know, just hanging here, it won't work,
- And, the minute it's taunt, it will, I want you to say, "Well, once it's taunt, I can use any amount of force."
- D: As an aside, you might not want to use an audio cable, like we are. Maybe, you should use a rope. Anyway.
N: Yeah, use a rope.
- So, once it's taunt, and if I pull softly, and she doesn't let it move, then I can connect it to her core, instead of her arm.
- And I can pull it forward with just a little bit of pressure.
- D: And we can do the same, you know. If she holds really tight with both hands, lots of force.
- N: We'll break the cable.
D: OK, so we won't do it.
- We can pretend that it's really tight, and then, I can pull her forward.
- And, can't we do that with our hands?
- D: And then, the same is true with the arms. So, if you look at her left arm, if she leaves...
N: My right arm.
D: Her right arm. If she leaves the arm loose,
- D: I can't get her to walk forward.
N: You could ask nicely.
- D: Pretty please, walk forward?
- Right? But it wasn't because of my arm lead, or my body lead. It wasn't because of this.
- But, if she doesn't move her arm, and then, I softly pull.
- And then, instead of moving her arm, she lets this pressure move her center of gravity, I can move her back, there.
- And if we wait until the pressure comes into my body, and then I move, and he moves, we can be so completely together.
- It's really cool.
- And so, what often happens, is... If you look at the arm, and I'm going to pull softly.
- D: Is it'll go give just a little bit.
N: That's right.
- So, as I'm pulling, you'll see her arm move just a little bit. And then, she'll catch and move. Did you see that? It's very subtle.
- D: And that's what you want to avoid.
D: So, as I pull, you'll see the arm doesn't move at all.
- D: And then, her body starts moving.
N: And I don't go, until after I've secured my arm.
- And I've felt his force go up my arm and into my body. And that's when I move.
- So, when you practice this, for the followers, I want you to start with just feeling pressure, and not moving. Brace yourself.
- And leaders, just pull a little bit. And then, try to trick them into moving their arm forward.
- Just like that. Did you see her arm move just forward?
- So, don't let it move, don't let it move. And then, feel it hit your abs. And that's it. And then, do that again.
- N: We do this in class a fair amount.
D: Yeah, just today, we did it.
- So, I'll pull softly. She doesn't let it move. And then, when she feels it in her abs, then I can pull her forward.
- And this is true in every direction.
- So, it's not just that I can only pull her forward that way. I can use the same pressure...
- So, for example, if we're doing a basic. When I'm taking her to the side, then, this kind of pressure...
- Just so that... Wait, wait, wait. Just so they can see.
- ...Is there. And then, I'll push, so softly, until... Until there's no give. Until everything stops moving.
- Because, if you watch the hand, at the beginning of that side step,
- There's that little bit of motion. And then, it stops.
- And, however small that is, you want to let it hit, and then go.
- N: Or, ideally, you want to eliminate the little bit of motion.