The 16 week tango

IMGP7031 Four months ago tomorrow, I arrived in Buenos Aires. Yesterday Ariel, Gabriella and I rented a large space to dance in. It was video day. Words cannot describe the extra pressure piled on by a camera. Beforehand there is excitement. I am going to see how I dance, what I have learned, and if I have improved. But, as the music starts it is simply not possible to relax. Or at least, not for me, yet. I want the perfect tango. I want the perfect video. Yes, the pressure is on.

Yesterday we had two goals. We wanted to film a whole improvised tango and our choreography to date of La Cumparsita. It is important for us to video the choreography because we need to study what it looks like to an audience. Have we got the poses right? Do the sequences look good from the front? How does it work in the space and configuration of a stage? Also, I need to observe my technique, my body, my facial expressions and decide what I need to work on. That is the frightening part. But at least if I know, I can change…

Until now, Ariel and I have danced in his apartment and, in the Milongas I dance surrounded by other people. Yesterday I learned that dancing in a large space changes everything. The increase in the level of energy was incredible. We danced with a far greater intensity, Ariel led faster sequences and I made more mistakes. In one tango I got my feet tangled in his and cut my foot. After that I lost my confidence and was unable to finish even one tango without serious problems. Or at least they felt serious to me. I got very frustrated. At one point I actually stamped my feet and nearly broke the heels of my ‘lucky’ black Comme il Faut shoes! Ariel was reassuring, ‘Sally, don’t worry. I am not worried. You can do all these things. It is just that now you know when you make a mistake and you want it to be perfect because of the camera. We haven’t danced in space before. Don’t worry, you will be able to do everything. You can do everything already.’

In the end we got one tango on film and I am including it in this post for you to watch. I think if I am honest I do see big improvements. There is poise. There is beauty. I see, as usual, many things I would like to be different. But I know that I could never have danced like this the first day that I walked through Ariel’s door. Everything improves with time and practice and it will keep doing so.

As for La Cumparsita, when I watch myself dance the choreography I actually can’t believe that it is me. I am impressed by what I am starting to be able to do. It is not an easy choreography but every time I dance it, one more move or step or pose becomes more natural. We will use the choreography for me to study and practice my technique. I will also use it to improve my performance skills. Watching myself, I see that I need to develop an appropriate expression, hold my head in a certain way, allow myself to relax and to connect with Ariel. When we have finished and we dance the whole tango, I will share it with you.

Yesterday I felt angry with myself for all my errors. Why couldn’t I relax? Why wasn’t I better? Why does the camera change everything? Today I feel differently. I am calm again. A tango journey is packed with ups and downs. The ups are mind blowing and the downs are vital. They always lead to a greater understanding, and new goals. After the filming was over, we agreed to rent this beautiful room every Friday for our class. We need to start to work in space. We will begin to inject more energy into our tango so that I can learn to control my body when it has to move at speed. This is the next stage of my tango journey, my tango lesson. I have danced through an important door onto a new and exciting highway in my great adventure.

I hope that you enjoy the evidence of the latest chapter in my story…

Watch me dance the 16 week tango with Ariel

See photos me dancing on the day of the 16 week tango


2 Responses

  1. Respect to you Sal for your commitment to the life of a tango dancer. I think with this video in the new bigger space really makes me appreciate what you are taking on – I know you love it, so it is fun. But it also looks complicated and hard work and the need for stamina, memory, practice is all just so clear. All this plus making it look as if it is all spontaneous and easy. I always love the looks at the end too! What was Ariel say with his laughing smile?
    Love you Jane x

  2. Fantastic job! Saw the video . Where’d you take lessons on making your feet so pretty?

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