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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, August 31, 2004

Intermediate (adj.)

Intermediate? Whazzat? Beginner/advanced, it's easy to tell: it's somebody that cannot/can dance. Up to there, things are simple. Binary logic. On/off. Good/bad. But intermediate? In my case, it's somewhere in between, but it's not at a fixed distance. It's oscillating around a medium position. Heisenberg uncertainty. Some steps work, most of them don't. With some followers everything goes smoothly, with most of them I keep fighting. And some days, even the steps that usually work, don't work. I can do a back sacada, and even lead one, but I cannot walk.

The cyber-tango site (http://www.cyber-tango.com/art/def.html) gives funny ways to identify beginners,
intermediates, intermediate-advanced (?), advanced, and professionals. Well, maybe not exactly funny, as the first three definitions are full of criticism, while the last exudes envy. And so, the author must be in the "advanced" section... The "intermediate" definitions goes:
Can walk and chew gum. Embracing arm is rigid, but partners are close enough
to perceive body lead. Embracing hand may be fixed in "fingers of death".
Clasped hand is usually relaxed, but still rotates with respect to frame. Posture is
upright, couple generally moving with following partner with her back to the LOD.
Leader knows how to maneuver in corners of dance floor, but either partner may
suddenly halt the dance to "discuss" the latest pattern just learned.
Cry: (lead) "Okay, NOW you do a back ocho..." (lead or follow) "Sorry!" (to partner)
Found: In Intermediate-Advanced classes, and stationary at any point on the floor
during the milonga or practica.

I fulfill 5 criteria out of 14:
Can walk and chew gum. No (only walk)
Embracing arm is rigid, No (flabby)
but partners are close enough to perceive body lead. No (I hate body contact, and keep my partners as far as possible.)
Embracing hand may be fixed in "fingers of death". Yes
Clasped hand is usually relaxed, Yes
but still rotates with respect to frame. No
Posture is upright, No (bent forward, hypnotized by my feet)
couple generally moving with following partner with her back to the LOD No (her back to the wall, most of the time)
Leader knows how to maneuver in corners of dance floor, Yes
but either partner may suddenly halt the dance to "discuss" the latest pattern just learned. Yes
Cry: (lead) "Okay, NOW you do a back ocho..." No ("Now, WAIT for my back sacada...")
(lead or follow) "Sorry!" (to partner) Yes
Found: In Intermediate-Advanced classes, No (beginner or pre-intermediate classes)
and stationary at any point on the floor during the milonga or practica. No (because other dancers keep pushing me)

As I see it, the difference between my present status of Intermediate Leader, as opposed to the Clumsy Beginner I was one month ago, can be seen in the behaviour of the ladies with whom I (sort of) dance. First, by now
they sometimes accept my invitations: when the alternative is "not dancing" or "dancing with Pablo", I can see them thinking for a few seconds, balancing pros and cons. Before, the "No" came at light speed (reptilian brain taking control in case of immediate danger). Second, they "just follow" more often, they don't always try to help me by doing the steps by themselves.

This morning on the city TV channel, they said it takes eight years to become a (A.T.) leader. Eight years. How depressing...


posted by Pablo  # 4:23 AM
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