There is a whole issue about embracing in tango. And it’s not a question of taste but of style. It should neither be too tight or too relaxed, too commanding or too easy. The same as with everything in life, it has to have a balance, a measure…that leads to pleasure. To a pleasant dancing between two artists.
Here I will call the embrace between ‘artists’ and not just tango dancers. Because a good embrace is the starting point of a good dance, and that is Art in its pure sense. How he, the leader, should position his arm around the female and how he should ‘offer’ his hand, the palm of his hand to her. And how she, accepts the palm and also embraces him around his right scapula. How, that’s the thing. A good ‘how’ at the beginning of a dance will actually set the tone for the rest of it.
I never like male dancers who ‘strangle’ me, who oppress me in such a way that I want to finish the dance and go directly to my seat, away from any other interaction with ‘the creature’. But also, the ‘too laxed’ view of it is equally disgusting. ‘Why are you here sir? Didn’t you have anything better to do at home? Are you ‘doing me a favor’ by taking me out on a dance?’ That’s what it says. ‘I’m not interested’, that’s the message they convey.
Also, I have detected huge differences between the Argentine’s and the European’s embrace. In London, dancers position themselves more ‘far apart’, which I find hard to dance to. I can’t understand their signals, I can’t understand their codes because this lack of ‘contact’. But, again, a friend of mine who runs a milonga in London told me: ‘Don’t be disappointed Anna’ ‘Leaders should be leaders and hold you correctly, if they don’t it isn’t just because they’re Londoners, it’s because they really don’t lead, and that’s a mistake. I often tell my students the importance of a good embrace.’
So, having said so, let me show you what the position for a good embrace should be. And hope that, when you nod to a female to ask her for a milonga or tango, you bear this in mind….’grab her correctly, boy!’ ‘let her breathe and be relaxed too!’ Amen.