Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sixth Lesson

Partners: Teacher, Mr. (who didn't let me dance with anyone else all night)
Shoes: 1" heel
Hours dancing: 3.5
Injuries: My foot is killing me. I will have to get real shoes.

My first lesson alone.

The restaurant is about as wide as a two-lane road, and I have to slide through the crowd at the bar to get to the dance floor; someone yells, "GOAL!" directly into my ear. The temporary deafness would be a problem except that the woman follows the man, not the music. Nothing to worry about, then!

There are only two other people for the beginner's class, so the teacher approaches and I whip out my new name.

"I'm a beginner," I say.

"How long have you been studying?"

"A week."

Unfazed, he takes the stance. "Let us see where you are."

When I take the embrace, he presses two fingers against the palm of my right hand and rests two fingers of his right hand on my shoulder, and I think ruefully, Oh, this is going to be AWESOME.

Turns out it is awesome, and I should shut up.

His touch is feather-light, he moves like Fred Astaire, and after a minute or so of stuff I didn't even think I could do he stops and says, "Okay, thank you," like I've filled out a questionnaire.

"Sure thing," I say, and take my place for the class like nothing happened.

Planchadora's Questionnaire

1) What just happened?

2) No, seriously.

3) Only four fingers? I've been manhandled by strangers for a week and it only takes four fingers?


The other couple, as happens, know each other, and after the step is taught they spend the hour working on it and I get Teacher as my partner for an hour. It's awesome. The first few minutes he practices with me, tiny hesitations at the end of each step like he's trying to assimilate something. The next round is tailored to my style; I can tell the difference, as the dance is even easier, his steps just short of the toes of my shoes.

For the intermediate class, I'm once again taken up by Mr., who proves himself both a good lead and kind of a perv. It starts with jokes about how the passion between us is the reason I've done so well, and gets worse. By the end of the class he's improvising with me, always ending with me off-balance so he can lean in and "take a deep breath" in my hair. (I imagine the conversation like an 80s commercial: "My dear, what is that heavenly smell?" "Pantene, my darling." "Ah! Of course!")

However, even Mr. is not infallible. During a series of complicated steps, he falters, and Teacher comes over to help. Once again the four-finger guidance, once again I don't misstep once.

Mr. and I try it again, and after two more tries he stops, sullen.

"It's fine," I say, because that's what you always say.

He shakes his head. "I saw you with Teacher," he grumps. "With him you were good. Not with me."

Good to know tango doesn't change the nature of man, I suppose.

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