Sunday, November 20, 2005

The tango lesson

Damn, but that was fun! In case any of you have not yet danced the tango, then get up off your lazy butts and do so right now. It's wonderful. The lesson on Saturday was so much fun, that Sally and I (plus a friend of hers) went off to a milonga (tango dance-hall) that night for a few more hours' of dancing. (They are dancing in yet another milonga as I write, but I have to get up early tomorrow for work and must still write a discussion paper for the meeting.)

I enjoyed it so much, that I immediately signed up for the follow-up course next weekend - even though I must attend a birthday party on Saturday evening. So I will take the train there, dance, take the train back, party, take the train there again Sunday morning, dance some more, then take the train back on Monday morning after another milonga session.

It must be love.

The tango is not like other "standard" dances: there are traditional steps and sequences of moves, but these are merely a list of possibilities; each individual dance is an improvisation, and each dancing pair is doing entirely different steps. It's all about communication and body awareness (your own and your partner's); and the better you communicate, the better you will both dance. The proof of this is to watch a woman dancing with her eyes closed: she doesn't know what her partner will (wish her to) do, but is confident that he knows where she is and will signal her what to do next.

I danced quite well (for a raw beginner) with Sally and with a very lovely young woman whom we shall call Giselle (she will be recurring in these pages, we arranged to meet at next Sunday's milonga), and very poorly indeed with two nameless women who refused to be led but insisted on going through the learned routine at the standard pace. I loved being partnered with Giselle, who is a wonderful dancer: smooth, flowing, soft, very aware of herself and of her partner, always on balance and on the correct foot, with perfectly erect posture; all was explained when she said that she also danced ballet. I am so looking forward to dancing with her again.

In other news, my digital camera died this morning: its snout (lens) is jammed halfway out and the display says "System error". Damn and blast.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous eV said...

Ohhh! I'd love to learn the tango. Unfortunately, Mr. Big isn't much of a dancer. Well - he isn't a dancer period.

November 21, 2005 at 1:53:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Wow. That sounds like a lot of fun. I'm glad you've had a good time and also plan on going back for even more fun.

Giselle - good choice for a fake name there.

I wonder if there is a dance hall around here. It could be enjoyable.

November 21, 2005 at 2:11:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

I can never forget the tango scene in "Scent of a Woman." Now you and Giselle can replace Al Pacino and whatername!

November 21, 2005 at 2:40:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

So last night at karaoke, there was a picture of two people waltzing and I, completely out of the blue, say to Beth "I want to learn how to tango." She was a little taken aback since it was fairly random (she didn't see the picture).

November 21, 2005 at 7:10:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger brooksba said...

Now I understand a bit of where DM got her whole, "I want to learn the tango!" It is a beautiful dance and I've always been fascinated by watching people dance it. I am thrilled to hear you are enjoying it so.

I'm sorry to hear about your camera. When mine stopped working, I thought I would go crazy. Best of luck getting it fixed soon.

November 21, 2005 at 9:23:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

I will take a moment of silence for your digital camera. On a lighter note, I'm happy you liked tango so much. You describe it well! In that you have to know your partner's body and how to move with it doesn't differentiate it much from sex does it? I suppose it could be just as fun! At the restaurant where I used to work we had free salsa lessons every Thursday. By the end of the night you'd see the partners almost lifting off the floor and moving with such passion.

November 22, 2005 at 2:02:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

eV: you need not dance with Big, most tango schools here offer lessons for singles (meaning without dancing partner, not looking-for-a-date).

In fact, I would encourage anyone wishing to learn to go to such a partner-less course, I think that one would learn to communicate much better with a changing variety of partners than always with the same one. Were you always to dance in the same pairing, then the combined unit would advance further faster, but individually you would be lost when faced with other partners who signal differently.

DM: it is indeed great fun, and in contrast to other dances it's neither fast nor does it require one to be particularly adept. You can see people in their seventies dancing tango (until the arthritis gets you!) The basic steps are easy to learn and easy to execute, the rest is communication. The scene in "Scent of a Woman" (great film, BTW, recommended) of a blind man leading a woman is entirely believeable, a good tango dancer who went blind could certainly continue dancing (within obvious limits).

SirB: There are indeed certain similarities :-) but also differences, I think general awareness of position and balance is more important than knowledge of the particular partner.

At the milonga, everyone danced with everybody else: even those who arrived and left as pairs danced with many other partners. (The one exception was a lesbian pair who only danced together, many women wanted to dance with the woman who led but she declined politely.)

November 22, 2005 at 12:56:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

And for Savtadotty: I have a long way to go, before I reach that standard! This is a project for the next five years.

November 22, 2005 at 1:00:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Little Light said...

I look forward to hearing more about Giselle.

December 1, 2005 at 12:40:00 a.m. GMT+1  

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