The good, the bad and the ugly

I know you are all thinking that I am about to write about tango partners… and you are right. Perhaps I shouldn’t, but then honesty is my policy. Anything that makes a dancer think about what they are like as a partner has got to be good. Personally, I would rather know the truth than be under any illusions.

Often at a tango class we line up girls one side, boys the other so that in theory we meet with a random partner at the top of the room. Then we dance the sequence we have just learned. I have noticed that a fair amount of shuffling around goes on in these lines. Sometimes the guys move about once they have counted down the line of women. Perhaps they are trying to avoid their least favourite dancers or to land their favourites. Who knows? Do they realise that we too whisper to our mates, “Who is going to be our lucky pick?” as we eye up the dance talent on the other side of the room, and we don’t always mean it in a complimentary manner…

Always be positive, I was taught when I trained to be a teacher. So for me, at this point in my tango journey, what makes a great leader? Well, anyone who scores 10/10 will be my dream dance partner…  and you all know that I already have at least one!

  1. Energy in the embrace, through the ribcage. Passion, passion, passion.
  2. A clear but subtle lead. The leader’s body speaks to mine in a whisper but I can still hear every word. I do not need to be pulled around with shouts and screams.
  3. Musicality. The leader feels the music and leads me to feel it too. Changes in tempo inject excitement. They add new dimensions, bring challenges. I am sad when they are lost.
  4. A good listener. His body hears my whispers too and respects them. He gives me opportunities, space and time to be beautiful.
  5. Desire to improve.
  6. A gorgeous smell. Deodorants and aftershave help because milongas can be very hot places.
  7. A smile. A laugh. Joy in dancing is contagious.
  8. Occasional constructive criticism. It helps me improve.
  9. Appropriate conversation – content and timing. I prefer no conversation during the dance. It breaks the spell. It prevents me hearing the whispers. Afterwards, questions such as, ‘How old are you?’ are rarely welcome…
  10. Sexy clothes. The icing on the cake. 

Notice that on this list is no mention of minimum length of time dancing in months or years. Personally I think this can be a meaningless statistic, all too often quoted as a substitute for many of the things listed above. It is a combination of the items on the list that leave me breathless after three minutes on the dance floor and wanting MORE! Maybe I’ll have a different list by the time I get back from Argentina. I will let you know.


One Response

  1. Well! I must be in “your” dream tango dance partner level. *merry laugh* But I must be honest, too. So, I must comment on each item, so you know a bit of truth about me before we actually meet and dance together.

    1. Energy in the embrace: if the music is there, you will definitely feel excitement building up within me…if I don’t feel the music, it will be just a good embrace that is like a calm waiting for something cool to happen like lying on your back watching the clouds roll by on beautiful sunny day and wondering “what next” will happen.

    2. A clear but subtle lead. 100% — when I’m not working on a new move, then it’s perfect. At a milonga, I only try new moves with good followers once in awhile…just to see if I can somewhat lead it, but not enough to make my partner leave after the next song. *chuckle*

    3. Musicality: Currently at 72%. But by the time we meet, I hope to be in the high 80s. There are still songs like Astor Piazzola that I cannot find a rhythm for…I really need to hear beats like Canaro, D’Arienzo, or my favorite Di Sarli. I also hope my milonga moves will be more smoother, especially the traspie forearm moves.

    4. A good listener. In real life: an outstanding listener. On the dance floor: equally accommodating. My goal is to make my follower happy, so she will dance with me again, especially if she’s a great follower—like you.

    5. Desire to improve. I don’t think one can ever truly master tango; but the attempt, the journey towards the perfect dance….tango is Life…you don’t really know what the future holds, so just LIVE for the present and always hope for even better tomorrows. 🙂

    6. A gorgeous smell. I hope you like the smell of soap and a freshly scented body lotion. Oh, I do put on a good manly deodorant to keep my arm pits dry. 😛 I always want to ensure I smell just as nice as the follower I’m dancing with.

    7. A smile. A laugh. Joy. If you don’t see me doing this on the dance floor, I’m not there. Or you stepped on my toe and I’m writhing in pain. *merry laugh*

    8. Occasional constructive criticism. At a milonga, only if you ask me or because we’re good friends AND you ask me. Otherwise, I’m too nice of a guy to make you feel bad.

    9. Appropriate conversation. If we have good chemistry, this will come. I’m a chameleon in social circles: if you’re friendly, I am friendly back…if you’re not, I become shy and quiet.

    10. Sexy clothes. I think this depends on the girls’ tastes. I dress down most of the times so long as I look good. But if I want to be a tanguero—pinstripe suits, baby! Something that will set me apart from the herd. After all, I am a Leo. Not the flashy type, but the quiet and confident type who has nothing to prove because I am comfortable in my own skin.

    Well, Sally, mi Darlin’ of a friend whom I haven’t met yet, this is my last entry for the evening… It’s almost 2AM Saturday, and I am giving three 2-3 hr private lessons in several hours among my tango friends: 2 girls and my very first boy. Finally, I get a chance to practice my following, especially doing “rulos”.

    I still can’t make them pretty. Then again, I only learned about them a week ago. Do you have any tips on the proper technique? I’m pointing my toe and making circles. Maybe I just need more practice so it becomes more natural.

    Much hugs and love and smiles and a kiss on each of your lovely cheek. 🙂 “Sly”

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