I've been having a discussion recently with a friend who had an interesting learning experience in the Netherlands over Christmas. I would like to share the key notions with you in search of other opinions. I apologise for lack of clarity, since I am getting the ideas second-hand. The idea introduced to him concerned active balance from followers. Firstly, force in embrace is matched with equal and opposite force, both pushing and pulling. All fine so far, although pulling on the open side of the embrace feels pretty alien to me. I've not had to do that at all in my dance up to now. Secondly, when a lead is applied that definitely isn't a step (not reflected in the leader's body as going anywhere), the response of the follower is to counterbalance (in direct opposition to the force) with a free leg. To clarify, this is artfully raising a leg into the air to retain balance, rather than as a release of momentum. Slow-motion Voleos. The reason I come to argue about this is because it seems to require a whole new set of reflexes to everything I have learned so far. I may not have the whole story and there is an hour of tuition missing, but I am trying to articulate why I feel there is something wrong with the ideas as they have been conveyed to me. It is not clear to me how the push/pull combination translates into regular leading and walking, so I'll leave that out. Apparently after an hour-long workshop, it was all going swimmingly with the Dutch ladies, so the idea is functional. My friend is adamant that this approach provides much more accuracy and clarity than the approach taken generally in the UK, which I describe as being momentum-based. For me, a leg only leaves the ground as a result of momentum carrying the relaxed leg upwards of its own accord or as a decoration. Similarly, colgadas are initiated by giving the follower momentum but quenching it through counterbalance. So we have two competing ideas: 1a) Follower feels pulling in the open half of the embrace, but release around her ribcage. She pulls back with her open arm, and simultaneously sets her weight back into the opening embrace behind her, in order to mirror the leader's behaviour. Colgada ensues. 1b) Follower maintains a constant contact with the lead's embrace (both through back of ribcage and outstretched arm) wherever it may go, including off balance. Colgada begins, and the leader accepts responsibility for counterbalancing it. In my personal attempts, I provide most of the strength to contain the move through the right hand, and the other 3 limbs (both of follower's and my left arm) are used for additional stability if needed. I operate on an initiate (or "sending) and containment approach. 2a) The free leg is a counterbalance for whatever force may be applied by the leader (when clearly not stepping anywhere). 2b) The free leg is an outlet for excess energy, going where the momentum leads when the rest of the body is contained. Before I put any more thoughts up, does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Has anyone encountered this difference of approach? Is one better than the other? Are they conducive to different kinds of tango? Is it actually no different at all, excepting the methods by which it is taught? Too many questions I know. Also lots of talk of arms and force, but assume the body is perfectly agreeing with the actions of the arms. I'll do what I can to explain anything that is unclear.