Lead and Follow is the heart and core of Argentine Tango, and therefore something you should be consistently practicing on.
But what if you don’t have a steady partner? Is there still a way to practice outside the milongas and practicas?
The answer is yes! But…
(there is always a BUT…. haha)
But you have to get creative, and let your imagination grow to find ways to not only practice, but also to understand how your body reacts to external power before you try things on somebody else…!
1. Lead and Follow– Managing the free leg– Exploring steps, ochos and patadas
Recently I received this wish from one of our readers:
“Lead a follower’s patada without fear” Konstantinos
I found it an interesting wish not only because, a patada in itself is interesting, but mostly because of the confession of fear.
“Fear is wisdom in the face of danger. There is nothing to be ashamed of” Sherlock Holmes
Is a patada dangerous?
Oh, yes! It is a kick between a leader’s legs, of course it is dangerous! haha
So if you are afraid it is better not to do it. If though you decide to do it, don’t be afraid, it makes things worse.
How can we minimize the risk in how we lead and follow a patada
What makes a patada risky?
The fact, that it has to do with free leg of our partner. Which means that we can never be 100% risk- free, but we can certainly work towards minimizing the risk.
How can you do that?
By understanding the way the patada is created. By figuring out how much energy you need for it, when is the right time and how your body needs to react.
And what safest way to do that, than practicing with your own leg before you practice with somebody else’s..?
So this is what I came up with:
Think about it…What is a patada?
A kick between the leaders legs.
So basically, it is a forward projection, only the leg lifts off the floor, right?
Which means that the supporting technique behind a patada, would be the same as that of a projection for a forward step, only the power will be greater AND the follower will not continue in a step but instead kick and collect.
So, leaders you need to focus on understanding the differences in energy and timing between a forward step, a forward step with projection and a patada.
And, you followers, need to work on how these subtle differences feel and how your body should be reacting to them especially when they ‘ re coming after an ocho.
Try it out and send me your thoughts and questions!
By no means should drills like this one, substitute your practice with a partner. Use them instead as extra support, as a way to understand your body and your lead and follow technique better.