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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, May 10, 2004

Not your style.

The lady wanted to sign for the next summer tango festival in Paris, with the greatest teachers you can possibly dream of (Chicho, Fabian and Sebastian) when it's all about tango nuevo . She had been dancing for more than 6 years, which qualified her for the highest level of classes ("three years or more of practise, very advanced").

Sure, the program for this level is great: mutual ganchos, double-time & syncopation, colgadas, musicality (Well, indeed it doesn't sound that great; but imagine what class it can be when Chicho works on syncopation with a very advanced audience...). Yet, the levels listed by the organizers are a bit confusing: level 0 is for people with less than one year of experience, level 1 is for people with less than two years of experience, levels 2 and three idem. But levels 4 and 5 have
the same required years than level 3! The difference is left to the student's judgement: is he "experienced and very skilled", "experienced and skilled", or just "experienced"?

The lady asked the organizers what they were meaning with these weird upper levels, and the answer was "Come and take a class, we'll evaluate your level". So she took an intermediate/advanced class, and the teacher, one of the festival super-stars, looked at her from time to time to see how well she was doing the daily step (follower's back saccada). At the end of the class she felt happy with herself, and went to the organizer's desk to sign.
"- It was all right, I had no particular problem whatsoever, level 5 will suit me perfectly. What did the teacher say ?
- He said level 2. It's not your style of tango."

Level 2 is "less than three years of experience". Poor lady, she failed the exam. She hadn't one chance of being successful, because I happened to be her leader for this class, and being a beginner I led
her badly (not on purpose of course; at the time I knew nothing of this "exam", she was just another partner for me), and badly led she danced badly. What was I doing in an "intermediate/advanced" class ? Well, I had just finished my beginner's class as I was leaving the organizers asked me to stay because there was a shortage of men.

I too will make this festival. I signed for level 1 classes, and
had no exam to pass beforehand. It's the great thing when you say that you're a beginner: people take your word for granted.


posted by Pablo  # 5:44 AM
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