Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Seventeenth Lesson

I led for the first time today.

It's too soon - my (more-experienced) tango acquaintances were rightly horrified when they saw me - but it was a beginner class and it seemed endless and I didn't feel like being shoved around by any more guys, so when it came time to rotate I turned to the other woman sitting out and said, "If you don't mind if I lead, we could go."

To her credit, she hardly hesitated. "Sure," she said, and rested her hands on my shoulders.

She was a head shorter than I was, and twice I knocked her toes taking a step forward, but it was simple enough (I walked forward, she walked backwards), and we made do.

On the next leader switch, I moved without thinking and found myself in front of another girl.

"Cool!" she chirped, and up came her hands.

This time, I tried a side step - and lo and behold, she went!

The teacher called out to switch partners, and I found myself in front of Partner #3, who looked at me like I'd sprouted another head, but slapped her hands on my arms and off we went.

When the people in front of us came to a stumbling halt, I found out completely by accident that she could do a very good rockstep.

The intermediate class was very interesting, and by "interesting" I mean "so unbearable that I abandoned my leader to practice embellishments in the corner with the other women who had no partners". There is apparently a way to kick around one's own leg with one's opposite foot. Think about it a moment and it makes sense; side step, wrap the foot quickly to the back, quickly to the front. There is also apparently a way to kick around one's own leg with the opposite foot within a single beat. That's a step and two kicks in two beats. You can laugh. I did. And then I almost fell over.

Note to self: Pratice in heels. You can no longer afford the luxury of sock-practice.

The classes were the most dancing I did all night. A few of my previous partners approached me after the milonga and mentioned they hadn't seen me dancing, to which I replied in a way I hope was friendly and not baffled, "Well, you didn't ask."

They both seemed sheepish about it, and rightly so. I can't very well stomp around demanding that people dance with me. Ask me or don't. "I didn't see you dancing" means you chose not to ask me. No wonder you're single! Aie!

However, I had a wonderful time anyway, because tango is fucking beautiful, and if the dancers are good then it's better to be sitting and watching than in their way, so you can learn.

I got chills at the end of the tangos and at the beginning of the milongas (except one that gives me the creeps for some reason), and I realized I was happy to sit at the table and listen, watching the shadows of the couples as they turned like the ballerinas in a jewel box, slow circles close together.

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