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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, February 10, 2004

So close, and yet so far

Having heard the laments of a young damzel complaining about her not having a partner to dance with, a milonga host kindly invited me (Yes, invited. I didn't have to pay the entry fee. The same kind of honour that organizers make only to renowned milongueros) and made the presentations. She had been taking classes for three months, was reasonably gifted, young and lovely, and our respective sizes and weights matched. Usually I wake up at this point. But this time it was not a dream, and I enjoyed a few pleasant dances.

Of course, things soon went wrong. Tango is about pain, failure, anger, betrayal, losses, sadness, not roses, fresh water and love. It quickly became clear to me that she wasn't skilled enough to follow me, i.e to compensate for
my shaky, uncertain lead. And clear to her that I wasn't skilled enough to lead her, i.e to lead steps known to me but unknown to her. After a few missed steps, we began to argue about what the follower what supposed to do by herself. The cross, the back step in giros... We stopped dancing. The connection, this precious and vulnerable little thing, was lost.

Fortunately she did not have to wait more than one minute before being invited again; by a young, skilled guy, who not only kew to dance but also knew how to deal with beginners. First, very simple steps: walk and the occasional habanera. For a whole tango, as if they had all the time in the world. And by the way, one hour later, while sipping my beer I could see they were still dancing together and having fun. The combo skilled guy/lovely debutante makes wonders.

Alas there is no wonderful combination involving an unskilled man. Paired with another beginner, the result is the sum of our deficiencies (unless she takes classes with the same teachers; then we have some common knowledge). Paired with a great dancer it's even worse, I've always felt like I had been put into a Formula One and couldn't even find the way to start the engine, and now not only don't I invite skilled women any more, I also decline their invitations.

So everything ended well: I got my 15 seconds of glory when I entered the milonga WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY, and the damzel found a nice boy to dance with.






posted by Pablo  # 7:00 AM
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