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

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bad behaviour 

Being a bad dancer doesn't mean being also a disrespectful one, but on the other way
I think a good dancer should have an extra good behaviour.

Example of a bad dancer (me) behaving correctly: first night during last CITA, two women from my group are sitting, I invite one, she declines. I went back to my seat and waited for the next song to invite the second one. Inviting the second one immediately after the first one declined would have been offending, she would have felt like a "plan B" girl.

Second example of a bad dancer (me again) behaving correctly: second night during last CITA,
one woman from my group invites me; I don't want to dance with her so I pretend I'm tired. Then this night I also declined all the other invitations made to me by women within our group (not that I'm popular, it's just that women were vastly outnumbering men). Otherwise the first woman could have thought that I was not sincere when I replied that I was tired.
Well, here I admit that my politeness was somehow stubborn.

And finally, a good dancer behaving badly. One woman from our group, a tango teacher (well,
she's an all-dance local teacher, completely unknown outside her little town, but still...), during one CITA evening at Nino Bien, made eye contact with a foreigner, the guy walked all the way to her, and at the last moment she noticed another foreigner she liked more (better dancer) coming near our table, took him in her arms and began to dance with him, completely ignoring the first guy! She's not even ashamed, she kept bragging about this story even with other passengers in our back home plane. And she's a teacher! She should promote the rules of the milongas, the cabeceo, the etiquette, and so on. I told her that what she had done was the antithesis of any known tango etiquette, but it seems she's just not getting it. Her reply was "But the first guy came back later and invited me again, so where is the problem?". Well, this only proves that this gentleman had good manners.

posted by Pablo  # 1:49 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I'm back 

I'm back from CITA, and I'm exhausted. Quite strange, because compared with last year's CITA I attended less classes, went to less numerous milongas (not that I chose too; it's just that not all the milongas are re-opened yet; for instance, we found a closed door where there used to be La Catedral ), danced much less (something like a grand total of 15 tandas in 11 milongas), visited less places...
Oh, my younger days, where are you gone?

posted by Pablo  # 7:52 AM (4) comments

Thursday, March 03, 2005

CITA classes 

Next CITA, next week. 7th CITA, 2nd one for me. Last year I had signed up for 20 classes, despite the advice of experienced fellows who told me it was too much. And now I understand why it was too much. It's not because I would be tired (I wasn't). It was too much because this year I can't find enough classes to sign in! There just remains nothing, I took all the interesting classes that I could (given being my level) last year!
Of course, if I had made huge progress in the meantime, I could now sign for advanced-intermediate classes. But I haven't. So I booked once again intermediate and beginner classes. Well, I did improve a little bit, which means last year I booked mainly beginner classes and some intermediates, while this year I've booked mainly intermediate classes and some beginners.

Here they are:

Osvaldo Zotto y Lorena Ermocida: four classes. Everybody told me they were not as great as teachers as they are as dancers. But it's nice to have one Zotto or the other in your teacher's list.

Adrian Veredice y Alejandra Hobert: two classes. I wish I had taken more, I really like them, but with my limited level it would just be stupid. I still remember what Alejandra told me last year in an intermediate class: "Don't try to do everything we're showing here, because you can't, but try to make the best of it, pick one thing or two that may be useful for you."

Gustavo Rosas y Paula Rubin: one class. I don't know anything about them, but they'll teach jumps. And jumps are part of these impressive steps you have to know for the occasional demo. Weak as I may be, I'm asked once or twice a year for a demo, so now I'll be able to include jumps.

Sergio Natario y Alejandra Arrue: two classes. They're not touring, they always stay in homeland Argentina, so possibly they're not perverted by classes in foreign country and they'll teach some useful things, the kind of sequences that you can actually do in milongas.

Nito y Elba: one class, about enrosques. They're just great in enrosques, and this is one thing I'm still doing very badly, despite the high number of teachers who tried to explain them to me.

Julio Balmaceda y Corina de la Rosa: two classes, about milonga. They're not especially famous as milonga teachers, but hey, I had to choose 15 classes.

Gavito: one class. I hate to say it, but the guy might very well not be there next year, as he is both very old and very ill, so who knows, maybe I'm taking the last class ever by Gavito.

Facundo y Kelly Posadas: one class. Can't even remember what the class is about.

Eduardo Saucedo y Marisa Quiroga: one class. Same, can't remember why I picked this one.

As the festival is 7-day long this year (as opposed to six-day long in 2004), and I have less classes, the schedule is much looser. From Monday to Wednesday I'll have just one class!
Therefore I'll hopefully save energy for the evenings, in the milongas. Not that I intend to be dancing very much (and most probably it will be only with women within my group), but last year I missed most of the performances by the maestros. While Fabian, or Osvaldo were performing, I was sleeping on my chair.

posted by Pablo  # 6:59 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Seems just everybody's going to Buenos-Ayres these days. One (female) student just came back yesterday. Tanned, with some pesos in her pocket, and unable to make complete sentences without inserting one or two porteno words. She went there alone, but having beforehand arranged a hotel+classes+milongas package with a local organizer. So she was welcomed at the airport, they called cabs for her when she wanted to go out, gave her a cell phone to stay in touch, and so on.

She had a nice time. At her very first milonga, the hostess placed her at the fourth seat of a table already occupied by three ladies, one of them being a well-known professional dancer. So when milongueros came to invite the pro, she was invited as well, and as she says, "never came back to her seat", dancing from 23:00 to 5:00. And no, she's neither young, nor pretty, not even a good dancer (maybe one year of classes). Her report about the way milongueros dance is similar to what can be read everywhere: just walking, keeping it simple, leading an occasional ocho or parada. But doing it well.

(So, after all, this myth might be true. Nevermind, I'll stick to my own way: dancing an awful lot of patterns, badly. It's too late to change my style.)

All in all, in about one week she reportedly danced 56 hours. This probably includes the classes she took during the days, but still, this is a lot. During my next-week trip to Buenos-Ayres, I certainly won't dance that much. Three milongas are scheduled (there is a theater show every other day), my personal average is two tandas per milongas, so statistically I'll dance 6 tandas, which means 24 tangos, so not even two hours. Including the classes, (given being most teachers keep talking and talking, and we actually dance 25% of the time) it will amount to a grand total of eight hours.

But I will come back with a nice CITA tee-shirt.

posted by Pablo  # 5:27 AM (0) comments


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