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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 ?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Test of time

Last saturday I took a class with the teacher with whom I had done my first steps. One year ago, in a 8-hour workshop (No, we were no stakhanovists; these 8 hours were dispatched into 3 consecutive sundays), she hadn't
taught a single pattern to the group, yet she had made us familiar with some useful concepts such as the perception of partner's weight changes, the listening of the music beat, the line of dance, and so on.
Despite the fact that the ones who then continued with tango chose other teachers (mostly because, on intermediate levels, she teaches milonguero style) , about half of the group were there, one year later. Nice.

The class was about "silence and pauses", and I thought it would be a piece of cake for me. What on earth can be easier than making a pause? Maybe, this time, in the end, a tango session would go easily for me. But no. The problem is that you can't just pause at the very first beginning. You have
to make some steps before, and only then try to find an appropriate moment for a dramatic pause. And this preliminary step (a "two" of the 8CB) proved much trickier than it seemed. Because after the usual "two" comes a "three", while this time, after the "two", there was nothing. (You can call it a dramatic pause, an intense moment of connection, whatever you want, but basically you just do nothing). So, I was supposed to end the "two" without the slightiest trace of momentum, and without leading a static pivot (which is my usual way to annihilate the previous kinetics). And even the pause itself was not that easy: I had to keep the woman "up" (this is the way to let her know that I'm leading a pause), but without standing on my toes, nor using my arms and shoulders. "Use your chest", the teacher said. Yes, the same chest
which, in an ideal world, leads ochos, walks, cruzadas...anything.

So, I kept struggling, like in any other tango class with any teacher. Yet I noticed some progress since the last time I had taken a lesson with this teacher, about one year ago. Not in technique, or musicality.
No, the progress came from the fact that the women now, after my first year in the tango community, know me somehow. They know they can't expect very much from me, they know they'll have to compensate my losses of balance, to guess my lead, and so on. Twelve months ago they were beginners, now they're prepared for me. So the dance goes almost smoothly.

Thanks, myladies, I one year I made no real progress, but you sure did.

posted by Pablo  # 8:20 AM
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