Tango: my life as a not-so-good leader

And you thought that YOU were the worst dancer in the world ?

Friday, July 23, 2004

In the middle of nowhere

A one-week tango workshop in a remote, distant, unknown place. A sort of retreat, very, very far from the city, with nothing to do but tango. Each day, a warm-up session in the morning, a class in the afternoon and a practica in the evening. All in all, six hours of tango every day.

Sounds great, doesn't it? No? Well, for me it sounded great, and Isigned with both hands. One of the problem of my once-a-week classes that during the six days between two classes, I don't practise (cf my recurrent complaints about my lack of a practise partner) and I forget the steps. This time I was expecting that maybe, in the end, immersed in tango, I would gain some more permanent skill.

Expectations are one thing, reality is reality. By the way, reality being "Even above my greatest expectations" is a cliché that for once you won't read in a tango event report.

First, the middle of nowhere was indeed  miles away from civilization (you know, phones, restaurants, shops...). The flyer said "5nminutes from the sea" and listed many hotels ("in the immediate vicinity"), but it had to be understood providing you have a car. After my first spaziergang from the workshop place to my hotel, I realized that attending warm-ups, classes and practicas would mean having to walk 15 miles a day.

Then, the weather was not that nice for a July month. Wind and rain were on the agenda. ("Last year the weather was so beautiful", said a student who had attended the first edition). The first night, the alternative was either defying the hurricane and walking 2 miles in the darkness to reach the milonga, or watching the sport channel on TV with a beer in my hotel room. From then, and for the remaining nights the matter was settled, I didn't even considered going out any more.

So, the morning warm-ups being skipped, and all (but one) the evening milongas being unreachable, there remained only the classes.The teachers had perfectly tuned the men/women ratio, and they also made sure that everybody changed partners very frequently. One award to them. As for the content, it hadn't been detailed in the flyers. Had it be the case, I would have reconsidered my subscription, because half the material had been presented by these teachers in previous week-end workshops they had given beforehand in the city, so I had already seen it . Well, re-learning and revisiting shouldn't be bad for me, but in this particular case it is stuff that I don't like: candombe, estilo milonguero, all the tango that I hate because the woman is glued to me and I can't see my feet.

The (one!) milonga was nice. I appreciated very much the cortinas, because at the end of them a (pre-recorded) voice was announcing the next tanda ("...and now, three slow tangos by Pugliese...")

By the way, the entire workshop was indeed great. Had I been a normal guy (owning a car, appreciating the closeness of estilo milonguero...), I would have attended a 30-hour workshop (instead of my actual 8 hours) and enjoyed this week like the other students did. 

posted by Pablo  # 12:55 AM
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