Tango Argentino > head pressers

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jfm, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    my friend and I went to negracha (London's premier venue for foot injuries) for the first time in ages tonight, and she was complaining about a couple of head pressers.
    I have noticed this too.
    we are little and in close embrace with some one our size (unusal when you are 5'3" in very high heels) and there is some non bearded/stubbly face contact, it is fine. however if the man (never leading ladies) is taller sometimes they will bend down to head press.
    It is dreadful as their chests become concave and you lose the point of connection unless you stick your bum out. I REFUSE TO STICK MY BUM OUT FOR ANYONE.

    Personally I always try to maintain my posture whatever weird things they are doing, but when they are forcing their foreheads on you it's pretty hard to cope with the downward pressure and you get neck ache. My friend tonight, got fed up and pushed herself into open embrace, but to her horror, he just pushed his head forward to maintain temple contact, then she realised...

    He was leading almost entirely with his head.

    i was watching this and it looked seriously weird as he pushed her backwards on to her heels-like someone slowly being run over by a steam roller. She is a uk size 6 (so what 45 kg? probably less, I don't know, I just know we swap too big/too small clothes) so it's hard to get the forward pressure to match a 5'10 man bearing down on her. I imagine it as a moment effect with her feet being the fulcrum.

    How do we deal with head pressers if we don't like it and the arm push away doesn't work?

    I'm sure people are going to weigh in with "Well of course this is a very authentic style of dancing, dating back to 1657, and an accepted way to lead blah blah blah." I'm sure it is, but in much the way I prefer dancing classis salon style or "milonguero" to the new salon style or nuevo (unlike my friend who is sucker for vulcadas going into boleos and back flips) I don't like it and neither does she, so how do we avoid the looming faces?
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I've got no bloody clue, but if you figure something out I'd love to know.

    (Which is to say, yeah, I know just what you're talking about and I haven't figured out a way to deal with it either.)
  3. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    hmmm just to give people a laugh even though I shouldn't really because it's a bit mean (but I swear it was true 3 years ago from my own experience and I have heard reports from other little people since)...

    I can think of head presser off the top of my noggin right now, let's just say he is a bit dotty............................................................................................
  4. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member


    Thanks, I needed the laugh.
  5. Shandy

    Shandy Member

    Thank politely after one dance and excuse yourself.
  6. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    I have no real idea either. I occasionally get into head press position myself, because from a bloke's perspective it feels weird standing tall and having a woman press her chest against your stomach. I consciously have to fight against doing it.

    There are two things I'd suggest :

    - In general, being 6ft tall, I dont dance with very short women. Nothing personal, just the way it is. However I am often caught out because those ladies will be sitting down and it isnt always easy to judge their height that way. So it helps if when you are looking for a dance that you are standing up. That way both parties know what they are getting themselves into.

    - If you are very "present" in the embrace and the man knows where your weight is at all times, he is less likely to press his head down. For me, when I do it, it's some sort of weird attempt to "feel" the woman's balance. To communicate in the embrace. Not very rational maybe, but well intentioned. He will be less inclined to press his head down if he can "feel you" clearly.

    Of course there are also those men who feel that being cheek to cheek is the "only" way to dance tango. Or in this case, head to head. The only sensible thing to do then is to make your excuses and cut the tanda short :)
  7. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Ooo! I was there! What did you think of the demonstration?

    Seems a bit of a weird thing to do...

    Well indeed.

    Blimey. I'd have like to have seen that, in a train-crash sort of way...

    You stop the dance, right there, you say "thank you", and you walk off. The man will not ask you to dance again, so it's a win-win.

    Similarly, the way to avoid headers is to not dance with them.

    David The QuestionAnswerer
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I lost count... .. .. . .
  9. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    Well, been there, at 5' 1.5" (minus the heels). It does feel very strange having my cheek pressed somewhere centre of his nipples or my chest pressed somewhere slightly north of his navel. One way of coping is to dance in open embrace, though that wouldn't suit all leaders. One thing that bothers me is keeping my head in a relaxed and natural position as it usually feels too weird and intimate to let it rest on his chest so I let tension build up in my neck. Doesn't make for a relaxing dance.

    Or, you could take the direct route and ask them if they would mind readjusting their posture as it is causing you discomfort. It might just work.
    Wouldn't most of us prefer this to being given the chilly and high-nosed premature "tango thank-you"? At least the opportunity is there to redeem things. And don't give me all the "it's a milonga, not a practica" stuff, I'm more interested in getting things to work than in tango ceremony.
  10. mshedgehog

    mshedgehog New Member

    I don't have a good answer to this either. It is very painful and can put an end to your evening. The only thing I know that sometimes works is to turn yourself sideways, so your upper bodies are almost at right angles, and face inwards and slightly down, basically watching his left hip or your shadows on the floor. So you are following the point of his shoulder, or his upper arm, or you may be following mainly visually. That means you have to change all sorts of other things too, but with luck, if the problem is the right sort of problem, it may put the pressure from his skull onto the centre of your forehead rather than the side, so there is much less strain on the neck. This does sometimes work.

    This is a problem that hurts, so I think it's OK to ask him straightforwardly to change, if you judge that it might work. Obviously there is a risk he won't be able to. And there is no obligation on you to take any responsibility for someone else's problems, so 'thank you' is also OK. It's your call.
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    That's interesting to hear. For what ever reason, that doesn't bother me at all. I'm 6'1", so I often dance with women who aren't nearly as tall as me. Depending on the followers embrace, I may try to bend my knees more, or do that milonguero hunch thing, but when there is a big height difference, I don't try for much head contact.
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    In between songs, let him know that the head pressing thing isn't working for you. If the second song doesn't improve, then consider the dreaded "thank you", before the third song. He'll at least know why you didn't like the tanda.
  13. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    1. He's compromising his posture by bending; tell him that Davido la Bailairin has said this is a no-no

    2. glue some ground glass to your right cheek/temple and say innocently oh is my face glitter bothering you?

    3. This is london not BsAs. tell him to back off or you walk away.
  14. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I'm fairly certain that no leader would like to cause discomfort to his partners. If you can find a way to let him know that he is, he might be thankful for the information. If he's unhappy about hearing about it, then he'll understand why you don't dance with him anymore.
  15. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Well I find the easiest solution is just to dance in open embrace.

    To be honest, I dislike close embrace if it's not chest to chest. It becomes something to be endured rather than to be enjoyed*.

    Still, to each their own .... :cool:

    * well unless your partner is an exceptional dancer that is .... lol ;)
  16. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Yes I'd second this. I'm sure it is very uncomfortable, so pointing it out is crucial (he may well be unaware of what he is doing)
  17. borisvian13

    borisvian13 Member

    Very interesting thread... It has always been my understanding that it's up to the follower to decide whether or not to keep a head contact but apparently I'm horribly misguided on this matter:)
    Anyways can someone explain to me how exactly a follower could be enforced to keep a head contact against her will, unless the leader uses brutal force, of course? And if this is the case, why on earth would anyone want to dance with such a leader ? A "thank you" after one whole song would be too polite in such circumstances...
  18. spectator

    spectator Member

    Oh No! I missed you! I wasn't in town last night!

    Head pressers arrrgh!!!

    as nancy would say "Just say no."
    I have erased my dotty experiences it doen not do well to remember such things, I just hope you declined the CDs.

    You know what? I think sticking to little people is the way to go, I know you can dance with tall people and I've seen you both do it but it just makes life easier. especially since some tall people seem not to like it, and it avoids the horror of them realising just how light you are and deciding to fling you around.

    Although some of these answers go back to the question, of how do you avoid dancing with people when the stand in front of you and ignore the fact that you are obviously suddenly either deep in conversation or frantically searching through your hand bag?

    Also it is hard to say no to 'nice' people, even if the dance is excruciating, so I can see why saying "thank you" early or an outright "no" might be hard. I am very wary of pointing out flaws (even really serious problems) on the dance floor as some guys take it very, very badly. In my experience, some guys will take you pointing out that it really hurts when they twist your arm/ crush your neck/ stamp on your toes as an attack on their masculinity no matter how you put it. I remember hearing an exchange a few years ago when a follower suggested that a guy might want to adjust his step size down (he wasn't giving enough forward intention for the size of step-I'd already noticed this and had spent several months doing the "I'm in fear of being broken" cat-on-hot-tin-roof tango walk). This was not well received and he spent the next few weeks in a massive strop and slagging her off to anyone who would listen.

    Definitely a case of pride very much damaged. However sensitively put, some people will always take it badly.
  19. spectator

    spectator Member

    it is brutal force, but remember in many societies people will suffer all kinds of misery in order not to offend.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Or Vaseline!

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