Just Walking

Tango is a simple dance, it is after all just walking. Yet we all find it so difficult just to do the basics, at least to do them well.

I hear time and again “I will never get this” and while it is true that some naturally pick it up quicker than others, there is no reason why anyone cannot dance tango.

One of the things people forget is how long we (Viv and I) have been dancing tango. The main reason we find we can teach and why we have a lot of patience with beginners, is because we too found the journey so difficult.

 Almost without exception every woman wants to know where she should be putting her feet, and is not simply following with her body. They all strive to be on the right foot and have their legs in the right place. For me it does not matter, all that matters is you know where you are, because when you do then so do I, and I can deal with it. In an effort to please, most women then get it all wrong and dither not knowing where to go or break away to be where they think they should be. To just relax and follow, it seems, is the most difficult thing to do.

In classes I have done my share of following. I find it a liberating experience, just to go where I am led and enjoy the music. The truth is though that many men (we are talking beginners here) are not positive with their leads and this leaves the follower wondering where to go. This is the main reason I like to mix up the class, it is very hard to experience the feeling of a good lead-follow, if neither partner is doing it right.

Leaders likewise, have this problem just getting it. Men try too hard to project where they want to go and end up in some contorted shape, when subtlety is, in fact, the order of the day. Or they try to lead with their legs in some sort of Monty Python silly walk.

I have to try all sorts of techniques to solve these problems, yet when it does finally click; students are left wondering why they ever found it all so difficult.

So to anyone out there struggling with tango, unable to lead or follow and simply just not getting it, I say stick with it. One day it will just happen and you too will be left wondering why you ever found it so hard.

People come and go, some it seems just cannot hack it, some are made of sterner stuff and some just enjoy the experience, but fortunately for the majority our practicas are such fun that even those finding it exceptionally hard keep coming just for the social event of the week.

Our group still flexes around the ten or so dancers, fine for a place the size of ours. The thing is though; nobody seems to come every week. You would think that this would cause us to be overcrowded one week and deserted the next yet this does not happen. Why? I just cannot fathom. Yet again this week we had a new dancer and one of our old stalwarts did not turn up. I guess it is a sign of the strength of the group that we stay so constant.

Let’s hope it continues after a month long break in May.



Filed under milonga, Tango

3 responses to “Just Walking

  1. Awesome! I am studying in Buenos Aires right now, and one of the classes I chose to take is Tango. You speak verily when you say that it’s hard to experience the Tango when both you and your partner are new to the dance. Our two course professors have their hands full with us, but still we are all so greedy for their expertise. Great post!

  2. tangobob

    Thank you so much for those links. I feel inspired now towards something new in my teaching. It will need time and work, but I feel something great coming out of this.

  3. Great post! I am glad you are addressing tango as essentially as a walk. A pivotal moment in my tango was in Heidelberg, Germany. I asked my partner how long she had been dancing. “Twelve years.” She could tell by my awe, so she quickly added, “It doesn’t matter how long you have been dancing; you have a wonderful tango walk.” I have been working at it ever since. Here is a reflection on the tango walk and what it means to me (see link). It also has a video clip of master teachers (Jorge and Carmen) simply walking. http://tango-beat.blogspot.com/2010/12/walking-to-find-ourselves.html . Also check out what he says after his very musical walk in the following video clip, which is a wonderful addition to your blog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mkqnlTUgFd4 — Mark

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