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

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

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hop hop 

I hopped from milonga to milonga yesterday, attending three on the same evening. Not because I'm suddenly liking milongas but by sense of duty.
The first one was given to help a couple of old teachers
 (See the post) 
who are having a hard time now as he never really recovered and can't teach any more. I duly paid and left after 20 minutes. Unknown faces, older people, messy dance-floor, indifferent music, nowhere to sit as it was crowded.

The second one was the place where my partner #4, the one who did not sign-up for any class this season, wanted to meet me to be shown all the great things I had - she figured - learned in October with my three other partners. Too bad she did not come, she would have been here for a surprise... (One pattern in one month!). Younger people, unknown faces again except two leaders who kept dancing all the time. One is good, and knows it. The other is bad, and doesn't know it. Being bad and knowing it is a less favourable combination, unfortunately for me.

I left after one hour, to attend a third milonga hosted by a couple of teachers with whom I learned at the beginning, and who announced two days ago that they'll split before the end of the year, so I wanted to be there for what might be their last milonga (and also to try and get additional info about the why, the how...). Here at last the faces were familiar, as we were all pupils or former pupils. Only couples or lone leaders though, and as midnight came I was contemplating the great achievement (even for me) of three milongas without one single dance, when the maestro came to me and asked me to invite a "gifted beginner" (six weeks of classes). I duly did, took all her corrections about my bad lead with a smile, and quickly left at the end of the tanda to reach a fourth milong... Well no, it was midnight, time for bed.

posted by Pablo  # 4:11 AM
Pablo, I found your blog a while ago and I found it very well written and entertaining. I started Tango In January 06 and I am familiar with some of your predicaments. One thing I can't figure out is your conviction that you need a partner for tango classes. Pretty much EVERYWHERE I took classes, people rotate in the class. I've never had a partner for a class, though on a couple of occasions, the level was so low I asked one of the better ones to stick around instead of rotating.

The other thing I can't figure out, why don't you go to practicas? They are much less stressful then a milonga and people EXPECT you to try stuff you're not perfect at, be that a colgada or just a walk. And once again, I never EVER went to a practica with a partner.
Hi Sorin,
About partners: here people don't rotate and teachers usually don't ask their students to rotate. And when they do, I've seen more than once my next partner (pretending that she does not see me) skip me and go with the leader behind me.
About practicas: most announced "practicas" here are actually milongas, the only difference is that people dress casually. We have only two real practicas. In one the flyers say clearly to come with a partner. Couples don't rotate. I used to try the other practica for weeks but there would always be 3 leaders for 1 follower so I was spending my time reading books and sipping tea.
Given what you have written about your experience so far, you do not enjoy Tango much, do you? If not, what are you trying to get from this dance?
That is quite unfortunate. I guess I am lucky that I live in an area where the culture is the way it is. I can't understand why people don't rotate, all they do by sticking with their partners is that they learn each other's mistakes and when they try to dance with other people it never works.

I'm sorry to say it, but it seems like your only choice is to frequent more milongas and actually dance while you are there.
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