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

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Ok, tonight I'll just never quit the floor. Because this is practise time, the class just finished and now we all have one hour to train, experiment and refine what we just learned. And I intend to be dancing for the full sixty minutes. The teachers are on the floor too. The maestro is inviting all the female students one after the other. He doesn't rehearse the taught patterns (shame on him...) but just dances simple things. The female teacher (what an horrible expression, but what else? Maestra sounds funny.Bailarina, maybe) is open to any invitation. I don't even think of inviting her though, as I'm always much too tense when I have to dance with any teacher. Plus, when everything goes well I'm sure it's because she keeps compensating for my mistakes.

But hey, I'm here to dance. Who's next, then? All the ladies are dancing already. Except Helen, but she's chatting with the Bailarina. Ok, let's wait. End of the tanda, the Bailarina has to change the CD. So she's not chatting any more, and even before the music starts I'm standing right in front of Helen and making her stand up.

Well, I should have waited a bit more, because when the music begins, it's se dice de mi, a milonga! It's impossible to practise tango steps on a milonga, they just should not play milongas during their practise, now the tanda is useless, ten minutes are lost! Back to my seat, not for too long, I hope. Who is available? Only Carol, it seems.

Unfortunately, she's from the beginners class. Not my lucky day. Ok, at least she must know the basics: crossed/parallel 8CB, dobble-times, ochos, so with a lot of care maybe I'll be able to practise my giro con enrosque y lapiz. After all it's a pattern where the follower has nothing special to do, all the work is for me. Let's give a try. Shall we dance? Uh-oh, I feel tension in her abrazo. 8CB? Ok, she's doing it. Front ochos, back ochos? Fine. 8CB in crossed system? No. Switching from back ochos to front ochos? No, she can't stay on her axis. Ok, back to basics-basics, too bad for my enrosque. 8CB. Missed. Obviously she's confused by now. Simple simple. Back ocho. Missed. At present she's really doing weird things, such as stepping twice with her left foot. 30 seconds until the end of the song...hobble steps (aka rock steps) will do.

Practise time is almost finished by now, and I'm here sitting again, but this time I'm sure that finally I will do a few giros, because next to me is a lone intermediate follower. I'm just waiting for the end of the present song. Here it comes. I stand up. At this very moment, the maestro, who had gone outside to smoke his hourly cigarette, comes back in the room and with a warm smile extends his two arms towards her. Seconds later they're far away on the dance floor.

"Ultimo tango!", the Bailerina shouts. And after the ultimo she even adds a bonus ultimo one. Which changes nothing as far as I'm concerned, since all the followers are eager to dance these very last songs, none of them quits her leader and so I've nobody to practise with.

Ok, next week I'll just never quit the floor.

posted by Pablo  # 6:26 AM
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