Reflections on Leading and Following (in Quotes)
In interviews for Humans of Tango, I pretty much always ask about the roles. And I’m always amazed by how simultaneously unique and universal people’s perspectives are. Behold, 5 favorite quotes:
“When you are tuning with the other person you are listening all the time even if you are leading, because if you don’t listen to the other person, your lead won’t be effective…So the leader is a follower and at the same time the follower…is leading too, because without the energy of the follower, without that response, without that personality and that energy, you know, the leader can’t do anything either. It’s like, this is something that you create together – it’s a co-creation when you’re dancing.” ~ Felipe Martinez
“I think I see it as the yin and the yang. There is a masculine energy and there is a feminine energy, but I don’t think that one is necessarily passive and the other one is active, or one is strong and the other is weak. There is that giving and there is that receiving – there is that cycle of energy.” ~ Phi Lee Lam
“Some queer people still feel that if you’re queer you have to do everything – no! Not for me…” ~ Augusto Balizano (on whether queer tango dancers should dance both roles)
“…you know, leading is a lot of pressure. You need to create the story. You need to take care of the environment, the safety, navigation, all of that. It’s a lonely, scary thing to do sometimes, no? And follower don’t think that. Follower thinks, a lot of the time, ‘oh, they’re doing their thing, I need to follow their thing, I cannot make a mistake,’ like they’re taking a test or something. And it’s like, no, it’s not about that at all. Regardless, even if you’re a beginner. You, without you, they cannot dance. … Like, it’s hundred and hundred together.” ~Ayano Yoneda
“In order for the dance to evolve and for the role of the follower to feel empowered, the key, for me, is the music, and not the music you’ve heard a hundred billion times in the milonga – music that is happening now, music that is complex, music that was written not for dancing.” ~Heyni Solera
I’d love to hear your experiences and insights on the roles in the comments. And if you appreciate some good tango-related philosophical waxing, listen to “Humans of Tango” wherever you get your podcasts!
Published: 10 May 2023 @ 22:00
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