The Ghost Guide to Social Tango 2nd Edition: The Woman

2nd March 2010

"Gentlemen, of all things in life, are females not the finest?"~ Londo Molari


First you have to build up trust. A good way to do this is to respect her axis and posture. Make sure to fully complete steps so that she arrives completely. Be aware that you may need to change the position of your right hand on her back. Likewise the woman may need to change the position of her left arm throughout the dance.
MsH: We nearly always need to adjust the embrace sometimes, and it can be expressive, too.
Accommodate this.

What a follower wants

In order of importance:

  1. Please listen to the music. I am and if you don't it's hell to dance with you ... MsH: and very difficult even to just follow.
  2. Please "listen" to me. Where am I? How do I feel? What mood am I in?
  3. Listen to the rest of the dance floor. Don't let me hurt someone else
  4. Maybe do some interesting movements. One per tune would be wonderful; the cherry on the cake.

~ A Passion for Tango.

Kicca says...

For the women, Kicca says...

"Find your centre.":

  • Pull out from it
  • Push up from it
  • Push down from it

"Expand your field of energy"

  • Feel energy reaching the top of the head, the finger tips and the toes.
  • Feel the energy pushing down through the balls of the feet.
  • Feel grounded into the floor.

"Exude confidence"

  • Stand tall
  • Open shoulders
  • Raise your torso
  • Make yourself bigger
  • Say '"Here I Am"

"Wear a corset."

  • Think about squeezing the ribs in and lifting our torso up.
  • In pairs, one with hands on the other's ribs, squeeze them in tight and push/pull up.
  • Maintaining pressure the corset wearer walked forwards and the human corset walked backwards. (Perhaps the gentleman wouldn't have enjoyed this exercise!)
  • Next we walked using our own hands as our corset squeezing our ribs in and pulling up.
  • Certainly gets the posture message across.

"Use your feet"

While waiting for the invitation to step:

  • Tap your heel, show your heel
  • Tap your toe, point your toe
  • Rotate your feet, play with your feet


Adornments can be led, but usually it's the follower who decides when, where and how to do them.

It adds her character to the dance.

It shows her interpretation and style.

MsH: Your character, musicality, interpretation and style are in the way you move to the music. It doesn't have to be adornments.

Crucial elements

  1. "Have strong legs
  2. be quick, be very quick
  3. don't interrupt the timing
  4. be ready for the next step
  5. free leg moves from the hip
  6. be in time, on the half beat or quicker"

- Carole

Having said that,

"Embellishment should come naturally, like everything else when one's body could move freely and when one is truly inspired by the music or/and the partner. If one has to adorn intentionally, then one probably shouldn't do it at all." ~ NYC Tango Pilgrim

If you look at the video clips throughout this Guide you'll see the follower does a variety of small adornments. However there's nothing contrived about them. Notably she isn't doing exactly the same thing every time.

For more thoughts see Ms Hedgehog's discussion of ornaments

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