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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 ?

Monday, April 05, 2004

More about bumping

During one Gavito class in CITA, an american student asked a very clever (if a bit untactful) question to the maestro:
"- With your super-slow style, how is it you're not kicked by other people? I mean, it's a bit like stopping your car in the highway." Within a second the reply came:
"- But they kick me! They kick me all the time! There is no miracle. It's either being kicked or not dancing. But I do my best to protect the lady and absorb the impact. On each step I consider the most exposed direction for a collision, and I put myself in the way, so that the lady doesn't feel anything."

In my hometown, argentine teachers expressed some surprise, as this was exactly the opposite of what they tried to persuade us about the way argentine people are dancing tango, supposedly always in control, cautious, respectful, endlessly apologizing when even touching another couple, and so on. After some thought, they found two
distinct explanations:
- Nowadays, young energetic-aggressive people tend to overnumber mild-mannered old milongueros, and milongas' rules aren't what they used to be.
- There has always be an "institutionnal" bumping by regulars, to make clear to strangers that they were not welcomed on the dance floor. Local dancer would collide intentionally at every new leader, until he gives up.
This was done to foreigners, of course, but also to locals coming from other parts of the town.

But kicking Gavito? They can't believe it. Well, maybe argentine teachers living in foreign countries should spend a week or two in Buenos-Aires from time to time.


posted by Pablo  # 2:37 AM
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