Endings

If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

 OK not that sort of endings, but the sort where you finish a dance as if you meant to, not where did the music go? And not, is it ever going to end? Good dramatic endings of course depend on knowing exactly when and how the music will end. This can only be achieved if you know the music very well, or the music follows a traditional pattern. Of course if it is traditional and you know the tune as well, then there can be no excuse for not finishing well.

Part of the Shrewsbury class this week concentrated mainly on endings, and we stopped over and over, looking at ways in which we could end dramatically and with style. For me though, it is the way that the music ends which will dictate how I finish, so that listening to the music and knowing it, is the most important part. I did practice all the endings I could think of, including my Bogart impersonation, and of course I had a chance to try some new endings as well.

The class started badly for me, I sat at the back with Dave talking tango as usual. Unknown to me there was no beginners and no intermediates just one long class, so as we talked I had missed some of the point. Dave and I were asked to join in as there was a shortage of men, and I had to ask what we were doing. Keep up Bob. We all did our own dance, and being me, I did lots of secadas. Sharon now directed us to lead the woman to do the steps we had done. This was an exercise in leading, as the women had not been taught the steps we were doing; we really had to lead it. Boy! Did I give myself a hard task, not one of the women wanted to come straight at me, and they made every effort to avoid me. As I have pointed out here before tango is about illusion and the most difficult part was to get them to do almost nothing, so I got no displacement and too much activity, I guess it did not look good. Fortunately this was only an exercise and would not be repeated in the dance, it gave me some food for thought though.

Things were not going well for Bob the expert, tonight, still they could only get better. A session of no side steps was next. Dave said something and Sharon said “does anyone else not do side steps?” Fool that I am I came to Dave’s defense, and my reward was to be told to do little else but side steps. It was all good practice but again I had made a rod for my own back. There are only so many things that you can do with a side step and very soon I was drying up.

So it was with relief that I set off for The Coracle again. Back in the bar I can talk tango and sound like an expert, without having to do too much. Again we hit on the subject of dancers who just do moves, no feeling no real lead and no musicality. So now we have a new name for them, they do stuff, so now they are “stuff dancers”

On Monday I was back to my confused sexuality, numbers were more or less even and I could start the class as a leader. When another man arrived I could stand out and watch, we were revising the back ochos, so I was not missing much. I was soon allowed to re-enter the class when another woman arrived. Realizing perhaps that I was not getting much out of it and Ali, who had returned, wished to lead Sharon suggested that we change roles. Now I suspect that Ali works out and may well be strong for a woman, but I know that as a man I am not the lightest of followers and was very conscious of the fact that I can sometimes give just a little too much weight. She seemed to cope well, but I think was as glad as I was when I moved on. Not let me hasten to say that I did not enjoy dancing with her. As a follower she danced well with me, and as a leader she also did well, the problem is with me, I do not carry my own axis well as a follower and prefer to lean against someone bigger. (I did think to say big men, but that sounded just a little gay).

Too soon again it was time to leave; I need my beauty sleep if I am to get up at five, but will be rested and ready before Saturday’s milonga.

If you enjoyed this, leave a comment. If you did not enjoy it, leave a comment.  All opinions are valued and without them I will only get bitter and self opinionated

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4 Comments

Filed under Tango

4 responses to “Endings

  1. tangobob

    Yeh, but endings like all tangos tend to be very individual. If we are doing our own thing, interpreting the music as well as the end then for me that is the essence of tango. Of course the most important thing about endings is, they should be together, that is, the dance and the music should end together. Glad to have on board another salon dancer.

  2. Dramatic endings are for the stage. Salon tango ideally is simple and to the point, and that’s what the ending should be like. Which doesn’t mean you can’t make a little joke now and then. But instead of making it “look good” you should try and make it “feel right”.

  3. tangobob

    Too late Arlene
    I already have a big head. The side steps was just an excercise, get me out of that comfort zone. It is something that many do not get, classes and milongas are different animals. In a class we train we practice and we get out of our comfort zone. In the milonga we should relax, enjoy, and most of all never try to lead what we cannot.
    I love a good ending, and you are right, they should not be too fancy. A sandwich or a cross always look good, if executed on the last beat, sometimes though the music just dictates a flourish, (although that was not want we were trying to achieve here) but only if there is enough room.

  4. Arlene

    Hey Bob,

    A good ending for me is when I am able to collect me feet together on the last beat. Knowing the music is really important as some songs finish before you may expect it to. It isn’t very good to be still finishing off a move when the music has stopped. I can’t be getting on with fancy finishes and find them a bit tacky.

    I am not understanding why you are doing side steps unless you need to get out of someone’s way and that really shouldn’t be an issue on a well danced floor. Same for back steps.

    I would tell you that the post was a good one, except I don’t want you to get a big head 🙂

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