I was amazed, but not surprised, that answers were vague at best and mostly not really targeting the question. Most people talked about musicality, posture, axis, etc. but few were able to articulate what they expect from the abrazo. Indeed, it is really difficult to put into words what the embrace means. Especially if you have not experienced it.
While we worry about technique, axis, steps, musicality and a whole string of things we can control, fix, improve, repeat, one thing we forget is the quality of our embrace. How do we want to be held? Do we even know? How do we hold? Does that reflect who we are? Do dancers keep asking us because they like how we hold them? Can you be taught to embrace?
I have had the luck to dance with some of the best dancers on my continent and it wasn't the steps they managed to make me do, it wasn't how they put me at ease, their confidence, their poise, it was their embrace, that left a deep imprint on my soul.
After the first few minutes of dancing with Homer Ladas I just felt compelled to tell him: "Dancing with you is like dancing with water". He had been told. Numerous times. The first seconds I got into Tomas Howlin's arms almost brought me to tears. I felt like it was the first time a man was taking me into his arms. No offense for the men in my life, it was just a sensation. My regular partner makes me feel like I'm curling up on this couch: Vibrant but not flashy, classy but not classic, comfortable but not mushy. Lucky me....
Other dancers have left others marks and I came to realize that the embrace is about who you are and your ability to communicate that to another. Hesitations, lack of confidence, self-doubt are sure killers. I have been working real hard on my embrace more than anything else. Often with the help of fellow dancers but mostly with the help of yoga (and that's for another post too).
I got my reward a few days ago. A leader told me in a middle of a tanda: "Dancing with you is like dancing with a fluffy pillow". I enjoyed hearing that much like I take pleasure in a great pastry with a cup of Earl Grey. I repeated it to whomever was willing to hear me and took infinite pleasure rolling the sounds off my tongue: "Fluffy. ..Pillow"...
So what do YOU expect, hope for, yearn for, even pray for, in the embrace?