A true tango leader has to train themselves to be the masters of multitasking. Leading, making the lady feel special, watching around for hazards, planning ahead, listening to the music (and interpreting it), there is a lot on the plate for leaders. As tricky as it sounds, the more you practice the more naturally it will come to you; until you no longer have to think about anything but the music and your beautiful tango dance partner.
To pay attention to the timing and beat of the tango music is what will make you dance ‘on the music’ as opposed to ‘off the music’. This is why it is so important to profoundly listen to the tango tune being played, whether in a milonga or during your tango classes.
That means, to step in turn on the beat, double-beat, and every two beats for example – this is how you can express your creativity as a leader, and not necessarily by throwing as many figures as possible. Being playful, and to surprise your partner in a way she will feel inspired, is what most ladies like most.
In order to do this, it is crucial that the timing is spot on, in every sense. You need to move directly on the count, half count, double count, etc, and initiate steps at the right moment – otherwise your follower may get mixed signals and end up doing something strange. Unless this is intended of course!
Prepare your partner
Similarly, you’ll need to prepare your follower to end a step at the right time too. Too early and they’ll finish early and too late and you’ll end up stuck in a loop, forever (OK, that may be a slight exaggeration). To let your follower know you’d like them to finish a step, very gently signal with an upward lifted pressure on their back/shoulder blade.