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Tango: my life as a not-so-good leader

And you thought that YOU were the worst dancer in the world ?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Secret codes

When I first saw people dancing argentine tango, I couldn't understand how it worked. How on earth could the woman know that she had to step backward with her left foot, without even looking at her partner's right foot stepping forward. "There must be some secret codes", I thought, or maybe, he's discretely whispering to her where she's supposed to step next time.
After weeks of classes, I became more acquainted with subtle concepts such as "leading" and "following".
Yet, it doesn't take long to realize that there indeed are secret codes in tango. For instance:

Wearing a large ring on your thumb is the sign you're an admirer of Chicho's.

Two quick pressures with left hand's fingers on follower's right hand warns her that a double side-step on the left will follow, and she'll have to make a double side-step on her right. Without the code, she would go into ochos (or maybe she would fall).

After a barrida, a pressure with the right hand on follower's waist means you want her to make a counter-barrida.

Lifting slightly the woman tells her not to move her feet, a lean or a calesita will follow. If she doesn't understand and moves all the same, then next time, instead of a slight lift, you lift her for good, and with no feet touching the floor she's unlikely to step.

"Thank you" (by the follower) after the last tango of a tanda means she enjoyed dancing with you. Well, I supposed I would take it this way if one day this happened to me.
"Thank you" (by the follower) after the first tango of a tanda means "go away, you geek, and never, never ask me again for a dance!".
"Thank you" (by the follower) after the second tango of a tanda means another woman just entered the milonga, and your partner can't wait asking her where she found these fabulous new shoes.



posted by Pablo  # 5:20 AM
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