After reading Alex's response to my last post, I found my response getting too long to leave in the comments.
He wrote:, "There are many tango communities where the overwhelming majority of followers prefer (demand?) this style..."
Alex - your choice of words is appropriate - I do find myself just on the edge of "demanding" estilo milonguero - though I don't mean to. I want to adapt to my partners - to match their styles and preferences. However my preferences show through whether I mean them to or not. In open embrace, with a more nuevo-style dancer, I have experienced entrega one time. With milonguero and apilado dancers, I experience entrega frequently. So I find myself playing the odds. Who wouldn't? (And when a typically open embrace dancer pulls me close to him, whether to execute a step or maybe to experiment, I wonder if he can feel the "thank you for this" in my embrace?)
Regarding your wonderful posts about surrender (found here and here), I had one thing to add that I think plays a very important role in a woman's ability to surrender to the lead - the venue. I have had several opportunities where I have wanted to offer so much more to my partner, and to our dance, but I couldn't because we were dancing at Tazza Fresca. The venue itself is wonderful - warm and inviting, friendly. But the experience on the pista can be utter chaos which leaves me feeling too intimidated, too nervous, to let go. At Esquina on the other hand, the floor can be so packed that I can hear the quick inhale of the follower behind me, and still surrender to the embrace of my leader.
It's not about the sophistication of my partner's lead, or his repertoire of steps - though it is very much about his experience of the music - almost more than my experience of it. If he feels nothing for the music - I can't find my way to him through the music. Yet my experience of a piece of music has been transformed by my partner's love of it.
The possibility of entrega emerges from this mixture of things - my leader's connection to the music, the feeling of relative safety in the venue - and another thing that is hard for me to describe. He has to want it. There are men I've danced with who feel, to me anyway, that they would prefer not to feel responsible for the surrender of their follower. It feels like it would be unwelcome. It's too much. We come to tango for different reasons and some dancers want to enjoy the dance and the music a different way than I want to. That's life.
So many things fall into place to create that moment - and it passes too quickly. In our culture it's amazing we have this experience at all - let alone an avenue to recreate it. It humbles me to think about it.