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

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

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The verdict 

It was the last class of the month, but not only. It was the last class of the season, but not only. It was the last class of the highest level given by these teachers. So there won't be a new season with them next autumn. It was the last class.

Near the end the teacher spontaneously came to us. "You're fitting well together, in a way. You [to my partner] anticipate the sequence and don't wait for the lead, which is understandable as you [pointing to me] aren't leading anything; the feet are much better, you're more grounded, but you still don't know how to use the upper body, the arms, the hands. it does not look like an embrace."

Most probably it was also the last class with this particular partner as well. Hey, she needs a guy who will actually lead her!

So for the first time at the end of the season it's not exactly clear what I'll do next. I'm willing to continue, the trip in Bs-As had the desired effect and renewed my interest for the dance and the people. I'll have to find new teachers but there are plenty of them here and I already pre-selected four or five. Same goes for partners, I don't have a regular one but I'm happy with my half-dozen of half-regulars (who themselves also have multiple leaders) .

Until then, during the next two, class-free, months I may try to go to milongas, to invite ladies and so on. Most people I talked to in Bs-As seemed to think that it is part of the learning process.

posted by Pablo  # 2:57 AM
Here's my verdict: You don't really want to dance tango. What you do want to do is
a. go to classes
b. find romance

As you've discovered, taking more and more classes doesn't make you a better dancer. Going to BsAs and studying with famous stage dancers (in classes way above your head) doesn't make you a better dancer. The lesson that most of us have learned is that it takes a lot of work outside of classes in order to improve. You seem to realize this truth, but can't bring yourself to act on it. You've got a million excuses.

As for romance, a lot of people hope to meet someone at tango. Some do; most don't. As the saying goes, "There must be a hundred easier ways to meet women than learning tango."
Your "a" is funny, as I stated from post #1 or #2 that the biggest difficulty I was facing as a tango apprentice was the impossibility to work and practise outside classes, by lack of a partner. So taking classes, whatever the efficiency, is all I can possibly do.
As for "b", no, I have no romance expectations. I've done years of swing and ballroom before A.T, I know that dance partners don't become life partners; btw the partner is the part I like the least in A.T
So... I bet my aim is just to become able to dance A.T, and that once I'll be there I'll quit and switch to something else.
I'm still puzzled by the total reliance on classwork and the need for a steady practice partner. Maybe this is part of the ballroom paradigm of learning, but I don't think it's the way most people expect to learn Argentine Tango, which is generally learned through a combination of classes, practicas and dancing in milongas. It's generally very important to dance with many different partners in order to learn connection and leading. After an initial period of group classes, many students find private lessons are most effective in learning the details of the embrace, posture and leading.

It strikes me that you have more of an academic interest in learning AT. It seems to be not much more than a notch to add to your gun. However, I think without a strong emotional connection to the music and your partner, it's impossible to really become a really good tango dancer. Of course, you're free to choose whatever path suits your needs, but I doubt that you'll be successful in leaving the beginner ranks with the method you've chosen.
"a notch to add to your gun."
Hey I like that! Yes, something to add to my résumé, under the "miscellaneous" topic.
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