Why Leading Is Not More Difficult Than Following

Great points and advice! Written by, and originally published at Joy in Motion


Because leaders are responsible for deciding which vocabulary to use and when, they have to think ahead and be decisive. But it is precisely this decision-making responsibility that gives them the freedom to only lead a select set of vocabulary that they feel comfortable with. Followers, on the other hand, have to be prepared to follow a wide variety of vocabulary, a sum of the vocabulary of all of the leaders they dance with, including vocabulary they may be completely unfamiliar with.


Due to the structure of most dances, followers tend to move more and execute more pivots, turns, and spins. This, coupled with the fact that they are fulfilling someone else’s vocabulary ideas rather than generating their own, means that their balance and timing are put to much greater tests. Leaders who try or learn following tend to be amazed at how much more physically demanding this role is. The spirit if not the literal meaning of an old saying applies here: Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.


Followers must artfully balance two seemingly opposing skills: the ability to actively move themselves through space to the music and the ability to inhibit many of their own movement and musical preferences, tendencies, and desires. We often translate this for followers as “Don’t think”, but leaders who take up following quickly learn that this requires highly active listening and very concrete skills. Followers must seamlessly interpret and execute another person’s ideas in time and space as if they were their own.

La Practilonga

PRACTICA, milonga

Join us on Friday the 28th for a fun, casual night of practice & dancing. Our mission is to create a monthly event for people that are excited about growing, sharing and encouraging each other. 

♥ 2 hours of Practice
♥ 2 hours of Milonga

DJ VILLANO will keep you dancing non-stop. 
$12 at the door.


10852 Burbank Blvd
NoHo, CA 91601


The Caltech Anniversary Milonga

For this once a year event, dancing will extend essentially all night long, with the milonga running from 9pm in the evening until 5am the following morning.  

DJ Sabah from 9 pm - 1 am
DJ Vincent from 1 am - 5 am

As always, the event is held in beautiful Dabney Hall at Caltech. 
Regular/Caltech Affiliate/Full time student with ID: $20/$15/$10


If you’re driving to Caltech, it’s best to park in one of the parking structures on campus (see map) -- DO NOT PARK ON THE STREET! (if you're staying past midnight) Otherwise, you will get ticketed at 2AM.  The Caltech parking structures are free to park in for the entire marathon.  The nominal address for Caltech is 1200 E California Blvd, which will take you to the southern edge of Caltech, and from there you can follow the map below.  It’s about a 5 min walk from the parking structure to Dabney Hall.

Tango 101 Intensive Workshop

Something about this 19th-century immigrant dance seems to flip people's worlds upside-down; the beauty of improvising one of the world’s most complex dances with another human being is a beautiful and extraordinary experience that has earned its reputation for being notoriously addictive.


In this workshop you will learn the essentials to get started leading, following and connecting to the music and your partner. It's a summary of the first 2 months of the Tango 100 curriculum for anyone who's never danced Tango before, but also for the experienced Tango dancer to go back and clean up their basics. 

Dear Tangueros & Tangueras...

A tango message from Chicho Frumboli translated and shared by Julia Schiptsova.

There is nothing worse in tango than believing that we dance well and have a “level”. A boleo, a sacada, a gancho, a colgada executed more or less in the rhythm, and we already feel that we are “experts”, “critics”, “professionals”... Tango has “this” that for my generation is something new. My generation worked every day to understand, grow, and improve, because the information wasn’t as clear as it is for today’s generations. To investigate, discover, get together with friends to practice what we have studied and learned in a class…. it all seems as if it were from another age...

It’s not easy to keep “motivation” in any part of life. Having a routine, or following a pattern is comfortable for some; for others, routine can be crushing and destructive in terms of both learning and creativity. Some leaders and followers say it’s hard to find a partner to take classes with or to dance with in milongas, someone “who would be at my level” as they describe it, but have they ever questioned if they themselves have that “level”?? I say this because of the competition that exists today.

When learning tango, we have to think of being open and available just as much as in listening to our own bodies and in controlling certain moves that we maybe never thought we could get, in learning about the dynamics, the musicality, the syncopation, the dialog. The technique is the same for men and women, the only difference is that one leads and the other follows. However, I see that often men focus on the movement, without thinking what they express with it, a lot of times those movements have no content and appear more like a monologue that doesn’t include their partner. Hiding behind the movement impairs our ability to commit to the emotions or to another human being in that moment. And women want to be led that boleo that they have perfected and also to be able to connect…. But what if the Wi-Fi isn’t working well? What if this time the Bluetooth is failing us? What do we do??? Abandon it all???

After working for Tango for over 20 years, investigating and creating ever since discovering it, I can tell that my technique is based on “giving and receiving”, listening and responding, on having a dialogue… those who are familiar with it know that it’s what it is. There are not many generous people in tango. What does the “LEVEL” mean? Maybe it’s something that allows us to be a part? To belong to a select group of people who woke up one day and decided that they can convert into critics and look down at others from a different height?? Or is it someone who is aware that there is always something to learn and is available to share? “Outfits” don’t make one a tanguero, a “high boleo” doesn’t make one a tanguera.

What does make us tangueros is the sentiments that we dance and listen to, it’s not only the connection, but also the sentiments for the music, for the shared movement, for the enjoyment of a tanda, with whomever, without thinking of their LEVEL. Learning is a divine state, a beautiful process of exploring. Let’s do it for the tango as the tango has been doing a lot for us. Let’s study it, understand it, take care of it, instead of destroying it with our human banalities.

Let’s caress, embrace, let’s dance with love. The more we give… the more we will receive… The trends, the critics, the experts - none of it exists in Tango. Let’s not contaminate it. I’m waiting for you to enjoy, to have a good time and to share with both, MEN and WOMEN, those who would like to keep growing, who feel that Tango keeps “motivating” them, those who would like to be a part and belong to its world, without the limits. Abrazo!
— Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli
Chicho Frumboli & Juana Sepulveda

Chicho Frumboli & Juana Sepulveda

The Holiday Milonga

holiday milonga at LATA

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – join us as we celebrate the end of our second LA Tango Academy year and ring in the season with a very special night loaded with juicy tangos, holiday cortinas & refreshments (...including Glögg & festive desserts!) 

Wear your favorite holiday costume and dance the night away with new and old friends.

Doors open at 8:00p.

Dec 23   |   8pm-midnight   |   10852 Burbank Blvd, CA 91601

Tango Hugs

Tango Hugs

Hugging releases oxytocin and dopamine, meaning that hugs lower stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate, and they make us happy. They also make us trust and care for each other more, strengthening our relationships and personal connections.  In fact, scientists (who are apparently getting around waaaaay more than I thought) recommend hugging for at least twenty seconds, eight times a day. 

TangoFit + Practica with John & Yaisuri

John Hhernan Raigoza and Yaisuri Salamanca

Please join us for the 2nd and final TangoFit workshop with special guest instructors John Hernan Raigoza & Yaisuri Salamanca! This week we're doing an in-depth study of dissociation as the foundation of the giro & the sacada. Hope you can make it!!! Scroll down for quick pre-registration.

6-7.30pm TangoFit   |   7.30-9pm Practica

$30 at the door  |  $25 with pre-registration ($20 for LATA members)

LA TANGO ACADEMY: Review and demo from TangoFit with guest instructors John Hernan Raigoza & Yaisuri Salamanca! An in-depth study of the cross-system with a bonus gancho.