In tango, we are taught that the lead can “start” from various places: hands, shoulders, chest, hips, center of gravity, or even legs. In a workshop with Murat and Michelle last summer, we explored few of these styles of leading. Teachers typically select one, and teach it to their students.
For a while now I have thought that there must be more to this, and all these different ways of leading should be connected, in a way. A recent article about octopuses had an interesting observation that made me think the question in a new way:
For example, researchers who cut off an octopus’s arm (which the octopus can regrow) discovered that not only does the arm crawl away on its own, but if the arm meets a food item, it seizes it—and tries to pass it to where the mouth would be if the arm were still connected to its body.
As a basis, all these ways of leading start from the same assumption that we are in fact a one single unified body, and different parts of us can work together, if we just get the leading part right.
But my experience in training my body has shown me that this might not be the case, at least for me. It seems as if different parts of me, such as my hands or my legs, had a mind of their own.
So, in fact I need to train all of these parts to “play” individually, as well as work together, like an orchestra. And then something in me needs to conduct this orchestra when I dance.