Not for the first time I have been accused of arrogance, maybe at other times it is justified but this time it was just because I had not been totally clear. You see someone had said something about not being able to see our mistakes in the Tango. My reply was that we do not make mistakes. This is not because we are perfect or even because of much practice, no; you see if the dance is totally improvised, then how can you make a mistake.

There is also this belief that if I lead and she does not get it, then that somehow is also a mistake, but this is not the case either. Tango is a conversation, I can lead, but I must wait to see where she ends up before I give the next lead. It is true that a really great lead will always get the response he wants, but true greats are few and far between.

So I must make each move as it happens and so the dance is dictated, by the music, by others on the floor, and by the response I get from my follower.

I cannot claim as Carlos Copes did, that “If she blinks I have led it” I am not, or ever could be that good/great/arrogant (choose your own adverb). What I will never do though is use verbal commands on the dance floor; the most I have ever done is request either more or less weight or an adjustment of posture, from a beginner.

We must have done something right last time, as we were asked to give a repeat performance at the Lache afternoon tea dance. This time I was more organised with my music and we managed to do a bit to some live music as well. Charles played us some Viennese waltz on the accordion to which we attempted some tango Vals.  Those who know will realise that although the tempo is the same, tango vals differs somewhat from formal Viennese, still it went well enough and everyone seemed pleased with the result.

To me the best compliment I had, was that we appeared relaxed and seemed to enjoy ourselves. As tango is a dance that is supposed to be for your partner and not something you do for an audience, I could think of no higher praise.

Talking about enjoyment takes me back to last Saturday and what was supposed to be a latin evening. These nights are just a bit of fun with some sequence dancing thrown in for good measure. This week however Marie Louise threw in some Argentine tango, I am not usually a big fan of this sort of thing, as most people here do not realise the difference in the music or its importance. But this week we had some fabulous tracks and some wonderful dances, I danced to more good tracks than I have at some of the, so-called, milongas in this country; so a vote of thanks to Salsa Wales for an excellent dance and what was unusually a the start of a three night run of tango for us.

First we had the salsa night, then Otros Aires, and then we followed this with our usual Monday practica. We shot ourselves in the foot somewhat though with Otros Aires; we had advertised it so well with our practica people, that most turned up in Prestiegne and then were too tired to come to Gresford. We still had a few who came to us instead and one brave soul who came to both. (She does not want naming here for some reason, but gets thanks just the same).

Now we are into another week of tango famine I’m afraid, no practica next week as I have to work nights. We still have next weeks Croft milonga to look forward to though before we then have a run of six practicas without break.



Filed under milonga, Tango

7 responses to “Arrogance?

  1. tangobob


  2. > By calling these miscommunication or poor technique moments
    > ‘mistakes’ we keep ourselves motivated to improve our tango.

    Actually I think calling these “mistakes” serves most to keep people motivated to return to the instructor for more corrections. And to drive away those who allow their dance to be driven by the music.

    As Bob said “if the dance is totally improvised, then how can you make a mistake.” 90% of what a student is led to think of as mistakes happen only in dance that’s NOT improvised – the fake show/choreography based stuff peddled by most classes. It is only because the instructor has defined what steps he MUST do that anything else becomes a mistake. The student who lets the music carry him, but the instructor “correct” each unauthorised step is anti-learning more steps than he’s learning. This is route to becoming a class cripple – one who is now unable to dance except under the control of the instructor.

    These “mistakes” happens only in classes. The real mistake is believing this has anything to do with the real tango dancing of the milonga.

  3. tangobob

    Noting that something needs improving is not quite the same as admiting something is a mistake. For me the biggest mistake a follower can make is to try to correct something within a dance.
    Accept that something needs work but never admit a mistake, that is the most un Tango thing you can do. We have happy deviations that lead us to new possibilities, variations to the flow that stimulate creativity, never mistakes.

  4. Anna

    I would only be spotting my own ‘mistakes’ and making a mental note to work on them in the next practica. I will not get to be a good follower (a joy to dance with) just by dancing lots, I need to focus on elements of my technique and really work at them.

  5. Anthony White

    Anna / Bob
    What an interesting debate you have here!

    I’m afraid I have to side with Bob on this one…Is not Tango all about Feel?

  6. tangobob

    I disagree Anna, while some miscommunications, may make the dance less lovely, calling them mistakes leads to blame. When we start to aportion blame, the conversation becomes an argument, we then move on to verbal signals and the whole thing looses it’s meaning and spontenaity.
    The only way to really improve is to dance, dance, dance. Teachers can only show us so much, can only pick on so many faults, tango must come from the music and from within ourselves.

  7. Anna

    I appreciate your assertion that tango is an ongoing conversation, danced moment by moment with the lead constantly responding to the movements of the follower.
    However, if there are miscommunications, or weak moments of technique (such as losing axis) then the dance feels less lovely than a dance where lead and follower are moving as one are are able to engage fully with the music.
    By calling these miscommunication or poor technique moments ‘mistakes’ we keep ourselves motivated to improve our tango.

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