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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, September 23, 2004

first Intermediate class 

Well, not exactly first. I had already attended a couple of so-called intermediate workshops given by
touring teachers. But yesterday was my debut in a regular, weekly, collective, intermediate class.

In front of the door, familiar faces. Students from last year. They greeted me with all the seriousness and dignity required by our new status. For a brief moment we shared a smile, remembering our first beginner session. How young and naive we were! Now, the days of insouciance were gone. Serious stuff was on the agenda.

Some newbies from the beginners' class, just before ours, were still here, and looked at us with both envy and respect. They did not leave the room immediately, and their silence was like a mute begging. Suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of mission, we felt it was our duty to show them how tango is done. Without any unnecessary words we began to invite each other for the warm-up tango. The song finally ended and the novices left, obviously thinking that maybe, one day, they too would be Intermediates.

Then, with the solemnity of devotees during a Church celebration, we beholded the teachers demonstrating the Sequence: giro con enrosque y lapiz. After that we were requested to reproduce it.

This was the moment were all our sense of mission vanished. All of a sudden we were once again beginners fighting with a new sequence, ignoring the music, bumping into each other, stepping on partner's feet, losing balance. The lapiz proved particularly destructive in our crowded classroom, like scythes during a harvest. As for myself I was struggling, more over, with my partner: the giro con lapiz y enrosque requires that the follower knows the giro: forwards, side, backwards, side. She didn't. Her giro was forward, side (quick and small), forward again, side (small), ocho (unled), ocho (unled).

Noticing the disaster, the teachers broke the sequence into smaller elements and after a while it became easier, as now everybody here knew his/her role. So there was no need for me to lead the "what" any more, I just had to lead the "when" (the "quicks" of the "quick-quick-slows").
Of course it was as artificial as a playback song, and I can't seriously imagine whispering to my real-life milonga partners "Ok, ready for a giro con enrosque y lapiz?" each time I'll try this sequence.

Oh, and the teachers never corrected any of my moves. They must think my case is hopeless.


posted by Pablo  # 3:23 AM
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