Tango UK is the main UK tango message board, and from time to time it's also used for discussions on tango. Message boards don't work that well for discussions, and anyway Tango UK probably isn't read outside the UK.
In a recent discussion, Chrisjj talked about the prevalence in the UK of '...pattern recognition lead-follow' which he says is 'Wholly divorced from the way people from BA and around the world dance tango in clubs.'
I felt there was more to be said about 'pattern recognition'. Every now and again I dance with a newcomer who is unwilling to be drawn into a close embrace. I don't particularly enjoy dancing open, but an open embrace works fine - just so long as the woman maintains a tight grip with her left hand. So long as there is a rigid frame her body will follow what my body is doing. Remembering back to classes, that grip on the man's upper right arm is always taught, always insisted on. So why do newcomers invariably dispense with it? Every time I've danced with a newcomer I've had to say, look, you must hold on with your right hand. Oh yes... she says, and promptly forgets. So how does lead and follow work if there's no positive connection between the two bodies?
'Pattern recognition' is certainly there, but my impression is that there's a strong visual element. She watches my shoulders, and matches my movement with hers. Sadly, this, like pattern recognition, is a terribly long way round. Ask a friend to point at something at the same time as you do, and your hands won't move together. Take that friend's hand and point with it, and the two arms will move together. Instead of being something physically enjoyable, two bodies moving as one, tango becomes a skill set in which even the greatest skill won't result in moving together.
Chrisjj praises Andreas Wichter's teaching: Andreas of course teaches close embrace classes, and there's no visual lead, and no need for it, in close embrace.
There's too much inferior teaching: perhaps there's just too much teaching. Maybe it's my own limited ability, but the partners I've found difficult to dance with are those who have spent a lot of time in classes, and taken 'women's technique' to heart, whereas women who've enjoyed dancing a lot are always a pleasure to dance with, and I look forward to catching their eye across the floor when the music we both enjoy is played.