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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, May 27, 2004

Too many fish in the sea

Hopefully. Because after one year or so of tango classes (not one year of tango, as this would mean going to milongas, and to praticas, and buying CDs, and buying black clothes, and drinking mate yerba, and eating empanadas...), not only don't I have found a regular partner, but I still have to find an ideal follower. My town is reasonably full of various tangueras, yet none of them seems to qualify:

M. is too old (per se, I don't mind, but this means she has poor balance and moves slowly), is heavy, dosn't pay attention to the lead, and talks a lot of what I could have led.

N. is a girl whom I used to love. Indeed it's to please her that I took up the tango. But as she's loving another boy, she doesn't want to encourage me and so keeps a very large distance between us when we dance, so there is never any connection and it's more like some
sort of tango exercise. And, I have to face it, she's a bit too small.

C. is fat and heavy, and makes herself even heavier by dancing in milonguero style. But it sometimes happens that she's the only one woman whom I know in a milonga, so it's either inviting her or
not dancing at all.

A. was great. A beginner, but as she come from the salsa world, she had balance, rythm, and wasn't afraid of funny patterns such as leans or barridas. Also, though not really pretty, she was young and thin. Maybe a little bit too tall, but had she become a regular partner of mine I certainly wouldn't have sought for a better girl to dance with. She moved because of her studies, and I don't think we'll ever happen to share a tanda.

B. didn't move, and we actually dance a tanda or two every time we meet. But we're not studying with the same teachers, so she has no idea of what I'm leading and so makes the sequence she just learned (the blame is on me, of course; a good leader would not
have this problem). Also, she's too heavy and tall. And as a heavy and tall person, she moves too slowly.

S. and V. are professional dancers. I hired them for a while (private classes and private practicas), until I realized that as they were stage dancers (and, more over, tango was only their "minor", their "major" being ballroom), I wasn't improving at all my tango by dancing with them. Somehow, I was even going in the wrong direction.

M. is even greater than A. was. Pretty, clever, patient, with a good balance, moving quickly and with grace. And we were taking classes with the same teacher. So what went wrong? I did.
Her tango improved way quicker than mine, and soon she was able to follow the best tangueros in town. So she just never dances with me any more, as this would remind her of the old days, of the beginner she was, and isn't any more, and that I still am.

F. is a very nice person, supportive, kind, whatever. But she's almost 80, and I'm always afraid of breaking something when we dance. So, while I always invite her with great pleasure wherever we meet,
she is certainly not my ideal partner.

L. is in the same category (delicate, not so young lady), but, unlike F., she thinks that she is a good dancer. But she is not. For a while I thought she was, and that it was only my fault if our dances weren't nice and smooth, until an argentine teacher whispered in my ear that he just hated dancing with her, as during her many years of practice she had mainly acquired bad habits. So, at the beginning I didn't dare to invite her because I thought she was too good for me, and now I refrain because I think she's too bad...


A-M. A very good dancer, who asks me to invite her every time we meet. I usually agree for one tanda, but not more, because I feel that her interest for me has nothing to do with my tango skills.
I even tend to be distant with her, and to decline all her proposals for workshops and festivals. In this I'm not fair, because there have been times, months ago, when I did ask her for attending classes or workshops, and she always agreed.

D. is a kung-fu adept, and her tangos look a bit like fights. I didn't know it when we first met, when I replied to her partner-seeking ad. But I don't mind at all, kung-fu practise gave her balance and speed. What I mind is her weight. Despite being smaller than me, she's much heavier. So I don't really feel that I'm leading. I'm merely suggesting moves, and she chooses to follow or not. She would like to keep me as a practise partner, but obviously we don't match,
she needs a real (i.e. 200 pounds) man, not a sissy like me.

T. is my newest partner. Only five months of tango, and mainly practise, almost no classes. Young, thin, a bit too tall, not knowing much but aspiring to improve quickly, she might be an acceptable practise partner. One big pro of hers is that she's not pretty (she's from Russia, and has their typical caterpillar-driver face), so I'm not attracted to her, and when we dance tango we're just interested by the technical thing, we're not trying to share a moment, or find a connection.

To sum up, and adding a few other followers with whom I tried to practise: out of about 25 followers,

7 are too heavy
11 are too tall
3 are too small
9 have a style (milonguero, or stage) uncompatible with mine
5 are too old
9 gave up the tango
3 want more from me than just tango
7 don't have the potential to become good intermediate followers.

Of course, this can be put the other way: I'm too small for almost half of the tanguras community, 66% of them will say I'm too weak or have a bad style, and so on.

Still fishing...


posted by Pablo  # 4:26 AM
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