A few friends practiced convoying again last Friday. It was a hoot and Ghost has written it up here. (I know I said I wasn't going to Negracha that night - I changed my mind when I found I could get a lift home and remembered they serve coffee downstairs now).
It was fun to do. All three leaders reported feeling more relaxed as part of a convoy, regardless of their position in it. From the woman's point of view, I'd add that all three followers were able to abandon active follower floorcraft (by which I mean keeping watch, as opposed to merely keeping your heels down and not interfering with navigation) and just dance.
As Ghost says, the leaders didn't need any advanced skills to do it. A recent beginner would probably find it quite easy - and very enjoyable - to join in, although it may help if you can dance small and in close embrace. He felt as though it enabled him to get a lot more joy out of simpler dancing. To that, I'd add that likewise the followers only need to be able to follow basic things in a predictable way. (But the predictability IS necessary. If you decided to stop following, stand still and waft your knees around for half a minute, you might or might not look decorative, but you'd be sabotaging navigation and none of this stuff would work).
It took more determination and experience than we had available to try it upstairs as a group at a packed-out Negracha with a band playing. Sexteto Milonguero, however, were top-class.
My own observation was that if I think about only good and considerate dancers, I feel those who try to maintain a relatively constant speed and let everything wash past them still bump me less, on the whole, than those who actively try to avoid bumps by navigating around problems in such a way that they have to speed up and slow down a lot. I'm tempted to say that 'passive' floorcraft seems to work better than 'active' floorcraft. The problem with it is, if you're on your own, that a sort of pebble-sorting process tends to spit you out into the middle of the floor, where you rotate on the spot, stranded. But purposeful cooperation with known allies works strikingly better than either. You need your friends to help you.
Questions for further research included:
- What is the best response to someone cutting into a three-inch gap directly from the tables?
- What is the best response to a couple who are completely stationary and oblivious, whether wittering, snogging, dancing salsa or trying to exchange knees?