A leader is either self-centered or partner-centered. A partner-centered leader leads the woman gently, thoughtfully, attentively, patiently and comfortably, that is, in accordance with the physiology of her feminine body. A self-centered leader, on the other hand, tends to lead her do things beyond her comfortable zone. For example, he leads her take large, awkward steps, which a partner-centered leader would divide into smaller steps; or leads her chase the beats, whereas a partner-centered leader would allow her time to finish her steps; or leads her do arbitrary performance, whereas a partner-centered leader would use natural steps to display her natural beauty; or regards himself as the leading performer and uses the woman as a foil to his performance, whereas a partner-centered leader would accommodate himself to her, shine her, and let her be the center of attention.
Here is an example of self-centered leading.
In this example, the man only focused on his own performance. He hastily chased the beats and rushed the woman to make big moves and drastic turns, but failed to follow the melody to allow her feminine beauty to shine. (See Dancing to Rhythm and Melody in Milonguero Style and Revealing Her Beauty in Tango.) As a result, his self-exhibition led to the eclipse of the woman.
In contrast, a partner-centered leader dances for the woman. Here is an example of partner-centered leading.
As you can see, in this clip the man did not lead the woman do big, awkward steps, as being the case in the first clip, but led her dance in normal steps to reveal her natural beauty. He did not coerce her by the hands, as being the case in the first clip, but kept her in the comfort of his embrace and used his torso to lead her very gently. He did not make her dance against the inertia of her body, as being the case in the first clip, but led her by the inertia to make the step easy for her. He did not force her to dance around him with himself as the center, as being the case in the first clip, but adjusted his position to suit her and facilitate her dance. He did not lead her do abrupt turns, as being the case in the first clip, but waited for her to finish each rotation before he led the next step. He did not rush her to chase the beats, as being the case in the first clip, but allowed her time to complete her steps.
These made it possible for her to concentrate on the connection and feelings, and also on making her dance elegant and graceful. Because the woman dances around the man and mostly walks in ocho, she needs to swivel her hips and use the hip to swing the leg. (See Dissociation and Gear Effect, Women's Walk in Tango and Cadencia.) The hip action, although highlights her femininity, takes time to complete. The man must understand that and allow the woman time to display her feminine beauty, as being exemplified in this dance thanks to the excellent lead, and we can tell her appreciation by the way she looked at him at the end.
Please watch the video again in full screen to see how beautiful a woman's dance can be when she has a good leader. I recommend you use this clip as a learning tool. Every man, novice and veteran alike, can learn a lot about how to lead from this video.
The Elegance of the Mionguero Style
Dancing to Melody - Poema