If the mark (lead) for a voleo (or boleo) is done slowly the woman’s foot will slide along the floor, producing a soft and sensuous movement. If the movement is done with more speed the woman’s foot will be lifted from the floor.
This does not happen because the woman lifts the foot. It happens because of the momentum given to the leg by the speed with which the man changes direction. Imagine a toy train sitting on a track. If I take hold of the engine and gently start to move it forwards along the track, each carriage will be gently pulled into motion, couple by couple, until the whole train is moving. If I take hold of the engine and suddenly move it forwards at speed, then the final carriage of the train will probably fly into the air and be derailed.
If the woman has perfect posture and perfect technique then the woman’s foot can be lifted by the man in much the same way, and will then naturally fall into the right place at the end of the movement.
The woman should never lift her foot without an invitation. The foot is behind the woman. The man can see if there is a clear space on the dance floor but the woman cannot.
It would be both rude and dangerous for the woman to kick the foot in the air, as the foot could easily make contact with another dancer. This can be painful. Quite serious injuries have been known to happen on the dance floor when a woman wearing stiletto heels has kicked another dancer.
A man with good technique will always try to avoid collisions. There is absolutely no excuse for leading a high voleo when there are other couples anywhere near enough to be kicked; and a woman with good technique will never lift a foot into a space that might be occupied by another dancer that the woman is not in a position to see. The woman must trust the man to be the judge, and never do a voleo that is not led.
Not only that, but lifting the foot produces a far less aesthetica
Extracted from - “The Meaning Of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance by Christine Denniston”.
Editor’s note: We have used the terms man/woman rather than leader/follower. It is not intended to be discriminatory. In our opinion the common ballroom dance terms lead/follow confuse tango technique with ballroom technique, that is entirely different.