I Gave My First Tango Lesson

No, I have not suddenly become a ‘teacher’.  That would be a bit hypocritical of me, so let’s not go down that road.  After months of hints, I gave in and gave my man a Tango Lesson.  In the kitchen.

Things came to a head last week when we went to a Tea Dance in Eastbourne, where I now live.  The details stated that beginners were welcome.   My man had danced ballroom in his early teens before he joined the Air Force.  How difficult could it be?  It was like riding a bike, surely?  Well, let’s just say that it was very interesting and we weren’t the youngest people there.  I didn’t know you could do sequence ballroom dancing.  I have never done any ballroom dancing, but I can follow in Tango.  Could dancing ballroom be that difficult?  Well, only if you have a leader who forgot what he learned those many years ago.  While trying a waltz, which we were not quite getting the hang of, I resorted to Tango Tactics – the premise being that if you can walk, you can dance Tango.  However, in this case it was if you could walk, you could waltz.  So I stepped back into an open hold, and started to lead my partner into a walking waltz  – all in time to the music.  We ended up dancing without looking like complete idiots. 🙂

After that, we watched people doing all of the different dances: Rumba, Waltz, Foxtrot and Ballroom Tango.  That last one made me cringe a little bit.  I couldn’t bear to stay and watch them dance Argentine Tango, especially after the people at our table thought that the AT on Strictly Come Dancing was really amazing.  It was, but not in a good way.

After the mad rush for the tea and biscuits (I never knew old people could move so fast!), we called it an afternoon, but not before giving my details to the nice couple at our table who were going to give me some numbers to call for ballroom lessons.   Not ever having done ballroom dancing, and being impressed with the many elderly people who were doing it, I think it might be a good idea to try something new this year.

So, what does Ballroom dancing have to do with giving a Tango Lesson you may ask?  Well, nothing, except that my man wants to dance with me.  He will learn any dance just to be able to dance with me.  Oh, and he does dance, just not couples dancing (not since school).  He isn’t shy about dancing.  Put on any Motown or rock and roll track and he will be up dancing and singing with the best of them.  He has a great sense of musicality and timing.  So, after the tea dance, while we were walking on the Promenade, my man asked me for a Tango Lesson.  He felt badly about not being able to lead me around the dance floor.  And that is just what I did.

So, working on the premise that if you can walk, you can dance Tango, we walked/danced around my kitchen to DiSarli (A La Gran Muñeca).  At this point I could care less if you like my choice of artist (or song) to dance to, but it worked for us.  I also like DiSarli.  In fact, I like most Tango music, except for Hugo Diaz.  Not crazy about the harmonica, but I digress.   We listened to the song so my partner could get a feel for the music.  Then I explained posture and showed him how to walk in a Tango way.  I went in for a close embrace.  In this case I think it is better to start as you mean to carry on.  We walked around the room experiencing shift changes in balance before I put the music back on.  Then we walked, in time, to the music.  That’s it.  It was one of the nicest dances I have had in a long time.  I am no stranger to dancing with beginners.  I just can’t stand dancing with beginners that try to do tricky moves or that don’t listen to the music.

So that was the first Tango Lesson I ever gave, and it won’t be the last, for my partner.  I won’t be branching out and teaching others to dance.  That isn’t my thing.  Walking the Tango is just a start.  The rest is up to my man.  He will need to listen to hours of Tango music (which I have) in order to get a feel for it and know the songs.  It is fortunate he likes the music.  He will most likely watch videos on Youtube.  He knows how I feel about that, so I might have to educate him in this area.  It will be a while before we get to a Milonga, but in the meantime we have the kitchen floor to dance on.  Nothing like dancing in a small space, kinda like in a Milonga.  Start as you mean to carry on!

Happy Dancing Everyone!

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Irene and Man Yung
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 20:17:26

    Dear Arlene,

    How lovely it is for your partner to want to learn to Tango just to dance with you! That’s real love! Hope that your man will catch the Tango bug and be even more crazy about the Tango than you are so you can dance constantly…of course, making sure that you are his number one choice always!

    Good observation about the old people rushing madly for the treats (perhaps even knocking innocent bystanders out of the way in their hurry) – made us laugh out loud, because we have the same kind of thing right here in Toronto!

    Irene and Man Yung

  2. Arlene
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 20:49:32

    Hi Irene and Man Yung,

    My partner will dance anything. Even salsa. It is good to have a few different dance styles under one’s belt as you never know what is or isn’t available when travelling. It is also wonderful knowing someone loves you enough to try new things just so they can do them with you.

    Thanks for stopping by and try not to get run over at snack time!

  3. TangoAirO
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 22:44:34

    I also love dancing Tango with my partner, in the kitchen, at home … anywhere! ; )

    Not sure about your Hugo Diaz comment though. Yes I can understand that the harmonica may not appeal to everyones taste, but some of his music is truly amazing. Take a look at one of my favourite tracks played by Beltango featuring Dana y Pablo dancing and let me know if you still dislike his music …

  4. Chris
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 18:43:01

    Arlene wrote: “I went in for a close embrace. In this case I think it is better to start as you mean to carry on.

    Good principle. One reason there’s so little close embrace dancing in the UK is that people who start with that intention are mostly eliminated by classes that instead use the English open hold for what they call Argentine tango – that being almost all classes. Your partner is very fortunate Arlene to have someone from whom to learn the traditional way.

    TangoAirO wrote: “Take a look at one of my favourite tracks played by Beltango featuring Dana y Pablo dancing…

    Viewer advisory: to avoid nausea, keep eyes closed.

  5. Arlene
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 18:57:24

    Thanks Chris,

    We are trying again this weekend!

    As for the video, well, um, I didn’t like it!


  6. Ann Marie Posa
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 19:46:24

    “It is also wonderful knowing someone loves you enough to try new things just so they can do them with you.”
    True. Especially as that often takes a lot of courage – like it takes a lot of courage to love.
    Dancing tango can be heaven on earth. Even more so if you do it with the one you love. I also agree that one doesn’t need the setting of a milonga to enjoy the dancing if it is done for love.
    I wish I could get a glimpse of you two, peeking through your kitchen window…

  7. tangobob
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:24:31

    Welcome to my world. The ballrom and sequence social events are an oasis in a tango desert. We see a lot of tango sequence dances but rarely see Argentine tango (or it’s ugly sister) unless we are asked to give a demo. In fact it was these events, with people older than my deceased father that inspired me to start dancing in the first place.
    Glad you are able to teach your man tango as it should be. Thinks: This could be the start of something big. Maybe we will yet get you to Buenos aires.

  8. Arlene
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 20:35:13

    Hey Bob!

    Ceroc and Salsa is my ‘ballroom’ when there isn’t any AT. This already is the start of something big and I do have plans to get to Buenos Aires, just don’t know when yet! 😉

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