He came in town from his distant homeland, intending to stay here for a year, to make a living from tango lessons, and hopefully to find a wife. He came surrounded by an aura of mystery. All we knew (we = the bunch of intermediate dancers who constitute 80% of the people in milongas), all we knew was that one of our most successful leader here (successful = he's almost always dancing with young female A.T. teachers) is a former pupil of the Artist's.
By the way, even this pupil is a bit of an enigma for us intermediates, as unlike us he doesn't even try to follow the beat when he's dancing. Not one step per beat as we do, not one step every two beats, neither dobble-times. Nothing in relation in any way with the beat. I discussed the issue with one of his usual partners to get a more authoritative opinion, and she confirmed that when dancing with him she had to ignore
the music and concentrate on the lead. But this lead was rich and creative enough to keep her busy. Open abrazo, legs interlaces, daredevil style, always leading the most unpredictable step.
Who doesn't want to dance with young and skilled followers? We all came to the first lesson given by the Artist. But he was not there. Somebody phoned and found him sleeping and... drunk. Finally he came one hour late, with a broad smile, and kissed everybody. I felt like kissing a bottle of beer. Then the Artist embarked in a long speech. Not that he had much to say, but what he said he repeated twice. It was not exactly about tango. He said he was happy to see that many students had come, he said in his life he had a lot of problems and issues and hopefully we had our share too. When he felt he had recovered he picked a lady and tried a high-speed giro with back sacada. But he had not
recovered yet, he had not escaped from the mists of beer, and his heel ended in the girl's ankle.
For his second class, one week later, no lady came. He cancelled the class and invited us for a beer in the nearest bar.
Now it's getting better. Sure, in one month he used four different places. Sure, his classes begin 60 minutes late and finish 90 minutes late. But hey, he's an Artist after all. At least he found a female teacher to assist him, so the ladies came back as they're not afraid any more he'll pick them as crash test dummies.
I like his classes very much. It's whirlpool tango, forget about any safety, it's either spectacular success or calamitous failure and fall. And it's perfectly within the beat as well. The aforementioned pupil picked the style but is just not fast enough to implement it in the right tempo. But when the Artist demonstrates it's spectacular. And when I try of course it's calamitous failure and fall.
Things are not going according to plan at all. It's October now and nothing began really. It reminds me of a When everything goes wrong with your computer
booklet: "Constants aren't; variables won't", it said. Here it's 'Teachers aren't; partners won't'.
Two couples of teachers whom I knew from having attended their workshops, and with whom I intended to take regular weekly classes, found themselves, all of a sudden, without a studio. Not their fault really. In both cases the studio owner ran into difficulties and closed the studio. Now one couple will be giving privates only, at their place, and the other will be touring around the world, from one festival to another.
As for partners...one is finalizing her graduation and has no time left for tango, and the potential substitute she suggested will be spending her time in Galapagos Islands, studying cuttlefishes. Another lost any interest for classes. There remains one and only class which is the natural follow-up of last year class. I mean the teachers, studio and partner are unchanged.
It all has to be rebuilt. Searching for new partners, trying new teachers...