How to build faster trust in tango – because it matters
by Vaggelis Hatzopoulos and Marianna Koutandou
Learn what to pay attention to in order to build trust in tango. The moment trust is there, tango becomes more intimate, personal, fun, liberating.
If we had to answer with one word, we would say “Embrace.” The strongest symbol of trust in tango is the embrace. If you embrace the other person truly, while breathing and relaxing together, you have the first connection. But, we have more than one word, so let’s explore some more specific elements that can help dancers create trust in tango.
Building trust in tango is sometimes similar and some times different for the two roles.
Trust in Tango – For leaders
- First, as a leader, for a follower to trust you, you have to be very clear on your leading. You have to show her very clearly what you want to do next, to leave no doubts.
- Second, you have to keep your balance. You need to feel as stable as a rock, that if she is falling, you will be able to hold her. She must not feel that she is somehow holding you because sometimes you lose your balance.
- Third, you have to show her at the first step that you are careful of the others. She needs to feel that you are not going to send her into a table, step on another person, or hit another couple. The way of moving in the first 30 seconds shows her if she can trust your tango or not.
- Finally, another thing that builds trust fast is if you manage to show her that you listen to the music and that you know the song very well. If, in the first ten-twenty seconds, you step on the music very well, then the remaining part of your tango experience is going to be more fluid. She trusts you.
Trust in Tango – For followers
- What’s true for leaders is also true for followers: good musicality creates trust in tango. Let’s look at a specific example.
- There are some things that can’t be led 100%. For example, the leader is leading the boleo, but to have the “strike” of the boleo just on the music is the choice of the follower, because she has to activate her hips. Making the right choice, shows to the leader that you do follow the music. That’s important, because good musicality helps the leaders think: “Even, if my leading is not perfect, she is able to bring it in balance.” This helps them relax and express themselves better.
- Also, sometimes leaders aren’t sure if a song is finishing. But if the follower knows, then she can hold the leader softly, to show him that now the music is going to stop. This way, the leader starts feeling that the follower is bringing this resource (musicality) into their dance.
- From a leader’s perspective, something that makes a leader trust a follower is the feeling that “she trusts me.” If a follower starts embracing the leader fully, offering her heart and her embrace, and showing that she wants to embrace him, that she wants to dance with him, then leaders often feel they can trust the followers more.
Trust in Tango – For leaders #2
- Moreover, leaders, don’t let a mistake confuse you. If a mistake is made by your partner, continue as if there was no mistake, or as if it was a mistake, but you don’t care. Show her that it’s ok to make mistakes. It is like all great relationships. When you have the first dates, everything looks perfect. But when you get deeper into the relationship, when you wake up with the other person without the make-up and the real thing starts, are you able to work with the imperfection and find beauty, calmness, and approval in it? Can you deal with the imperfection?
Marianna Koutandou & Vaggelis Hatzopoulos – from the book Tango Tips by the Maestros
Vaggelis Hatzopoulos & Marianna Koutandou – Greece
European Tango Champions, Directors of the Academia del Tango in Greece, and Finalists of the World Tango Championship. For us, Tango is a metaphor for an empowered life. With our dance and teaching we aim to create a change in the way people experience and understand life, and help them experience tango’s essence: the ability to not be perfect and at the same time laugh about it, to understand deeper the person you have in front of you, and to make mistakes together, learn from them, and then keep moving and growing.