Photo by Leone...from the Catania (Italia) Tango Festival...
I find that some beginning followers have trouble with what I call "the surrender". I feel it in the first few seconds of the embrace and ensuing equilibration. I feel it - or not. Some very experienced followers have still not mastered it. It comes from everything within a woman (I think) - her past relationships - her body image - her self confidence - her insecurities - her nervousness at being new to the dance - or the absence of nervousness.
I have danced with rank beginners (first time on the floor) who although I feel their nervousness - quickened breathing - heart fluttering against my chest - sweaty palms - almost to the point of trembling - but who still seem to have mastered the surrender from the get-go.
Actually, I don't think it's something that can be "mastered". I wonder if it's something that you are born with, or not. But then I know it must come with an increasing comfort level - comfort with the dance, comfort with follower vocabulary, comfort with a leader, desire to dance with a leader. A woman may have a perfect surrender with one leader - and be more tentative about it with another.
I don't think the surrender can be taught...nor "practiced"...nor even conveyed verbally...what's a leader to do?
All I know is that I feel it - when a woman surrenders herself to me - surrenders herself to be led by me - surrenders the placement of her feet to me - surrenders control of her axis to me - surrenders herself to my embrace - and when I feel it, it feels so very good.