Book Review: The Art of Leading and Following – Conducción to Intención: Filling in the Blanks of Argentine Tango

Published September 29th 2018
Author: Chris

Title: The Art of Leading and Following – Conducción to Intención: Filling in the Blanks of Argentine Tango Book 4

Author: Oliver Kent

Pages: 115

Published: August 2018

ISBN: 1718074166

Link to Amazon

A marked change in style for Oliver Kent’s 4th book when compared to other three in his trilogy of demystifying tango but still a very useful book.

In this instalment of the series the author is concentrating on the technique of leading and following in Argentine Tango.

The book starts with a chapter which discusses the different types of learning, namely seeing, hearing, touching and feeling and is very much in the style of the writer’s previous books drawing on his knowledge and experiences to explain the types of learning. For a causal reader these sections are often very insightful and explain some of the unusual behaviours you will see in tango classes. At the start of chapter 2 there is a very useful section on avoiding crashes when dancing tango and an explanation of the commonly used starting with a back step from the leaders which often causes these crashes. This really is a highlight that every leader should read.

The remaining 6 chapters of book focus on building good tango leading and following technique, i.e. leading from the chest. In his previous books the writing usually is focused around Kent’s observation and experience to explain elements in tango. However, in this book the author presents a series of 17 exercises which aid and provide a framework for the author to discuss the reasons behind the leading and following technique. In order to demonstrate these exercises, Oliver Kent has once again teamed up with Oscar B Frise who has provided Illustrations that guide the reader through the exercises.

As with all the other books in the series this one is very well written and very easy to read, even the instructions for the exercises. However, this book is far less conversational and does not have wit which normally leaves the reader of the previous books nodding in agreement and smiling. Instead, this book focus on exercises and explanation of technique and lends itself normal to a reference book for those wanting to gain a deeper understanding of those techniques or teachers who are looking for exercises for their classes and clarity of explanation.

I would certainly recommend this book, for what is fast becoming an Oliver Kent, shelf of your tango library. For both leaders and followers it provides good explanations and exercises that will help you to dance better. For followers this book will give you insight into the leaders technique and mindset which will hopefully allow you to pick the subtle signals which will make dancing tango easier and enhance your enjoyment.

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