Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two To Tango

I lovingly fingered the straps to my favorite pair of Comme Il Fauts as I gently slipped my feet into them. Often referred to as the Manolo Blahniks of tango and made in exclusive batches of around 50 pairs a model, these beautifully crafted heels are exquisite and very, very comfortable.

The music started, my partner held me in an embrace, and in one sweeping movement, proceeded to step on my foot.

Being a tango school drop-out, getting back into the fold has proven more difficult than anticipated. My regular partner, Yuri and I had a quest to "catch up" to our former tango instructor, Robin Thomas. He no longer taught the Basic level, which led us to study under different instructors until a later point. This evening was no different at Dance School B:

"One more time!" the instructor barked. "Right foot in! Right foot out! Step forward! STOOOOP! STOOOOP! What are you DOOOOOING?!"

We repeated the steps in a military cadence. There was resignation in each of my class partners' eyes. Some huffed in impatience, other danced in defiance to their own tune. I merely smiled and followed. After all, there is much to be learnt, even from an instructor whose methods may be more...militant than nurturing.

Learning to tango is a pursuit of passion. You have to want it, and you have to want it bad. This is not a dance where you take a month-long crash course and expect to hit a milonga and know all the moves. In fact, it takes years to truly master the craft, but only a few moments to love it.

Everything in tango is about intention. The way a man leads his partner is projected through his confidence in movement, his chest leading the way. If his intentions are clear, his partner is able to move in the right direction, even if blindfolded. Alas, in the valley of tango beginners, the two left-footed advanced novice is Queen.

Photo: © Tango Slovenia. All rights reserved.

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