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

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

Friday, September 10, 2004

Exhibition of incompetence 

My teachers, to begin this new season, got the interesting idea of organizing six consecutive free "open house" evenings in their school. This included beverages, food, and demos. These demos were supposed to be the cornerstone of the whole things: several couples of students of various levels demonstrating their skills to the newcomers (and potential new students), thus giving them a strong desire to become themselves able to do all these marvellous steps. The high spot of each evening being, of course, the final demo by the teachers themselves.

This was the concept. Now the reality: social tango (and our teachers emphasized all along the year that we had to dance this way) is not spectacular. Following the LOD may be capital in a milonga, but when a one and single couple has the whole floor at its disposal, and does not use it, and cautiously follows counter-clock-wise the outside edge it is very weird to look at. Same for the steps ("Smaller! smaller! Forget showy stuff!", we were taught all the time during classes), for a newcomer it may have been quite strange to see us making miniscule steps on a vast, large, empty floor.

The first evenings I successfully stay hidden when students were picked to perform, but finally my turn also came. "And now, ladies and gentlemen, Helen, a two-year experience student, and Pablo, one year and an half of tango, will show you what they can do!".

So here we were, frozen by stage fright, in front of the wild crowd expecting to see the wild jumps that always occur in tango shows. But hey, I can't lead this. As for Helen, I don't know, maybe she can actually jump. Yet as she is a more advanced girl she usually never dances with me ( a two-year follower's prefers six-year-or-more leaders), so our 8CB worked but my attempts to lead ganchos resulted in her doing saludos, she ignored most of my paradas, and, maybe in a search for spectacular stuff, she went into spontaneous, heavy leans, which caught me unprepared; or worse, maybe I actually led these leans, without even knowing it. And of course she could add that for her, used to leaders who feel, protect and preserve her axis, it was quite challenging to dance with
me, a rookie intermediate being too concerned by my own balance to also take care of hers. Finally the
song came to an end, with a last, missed, parada.

The only question is: who was the most horrified by our demo? Us, our teachers, the onlookers ? Or even Tete, who happened to be there ( and joyfully initiated the young damzels here to the 8CB), and who muttered, while I was "performing", something like "How can they be that bad, their teachers are very good..."

After that, the teachers' demo was like these before/after ads (A few pictures with a big, fat, short-legged, ugly nerd, then "three weeks of delight-light-max diet" and finally some pictures showing a seductive, charismatic, young, tall Baywatch athlete). At last, some tango.

posted by Pablo  # 3:21 AM
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