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!

Strictly Tango – Film24 – 07.01.10

Well, I watched Strictly Tango last night on TV.  The blurb mentioned that it was a film taking one back to the home of Tango, Buenos Aires.  Hmmm!  I thought for sure that meant that there would be film footage of people dancing in Buenos Aires.  But no, it was about a few people who were doing Ballroom, mainly in London.  I do not really feel  that the film title reflected the content, which I now think is rather misleading.  When they eventually did get to the Argentine Tango bit, I thought for sure that they would be chatting with people who helped to start the Tango movement in London.  It wasn’t so.  I was quite disappointed frankly.

If the title was Strictly Dancing, that would have made more sense as the film was essentially about a few people who dance various styles and what dancing means to them.  There were interviews with a few well-known ballroom dancers that have been on Strictly Come Dancing, a woman who makes amazing ballroom dresses, a professional woman learning to dance ballroom, a man who has done many styles of dance, and a couple of well-known AT teachers and an AT organiser.  Unfortunately, the Argentine Tango bit of the film was quite minimal compared to the Ballroom bit.

This is why I was annoyed about the film title.  I watched for nearly an hour wondering when they would get to the Argentine Tango bit and when they finally got to it, there was no footage of people dancing in Buenos Aires and very little of people dancing it in London.

Has anyone else seen this program, and what did you think about it?

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