Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Someone Else's Lesson

I wondered when my innate bastard would emerge. Turns out, wasn't long.

Last weekend I go to a milonga with a free class. The instructor pulls a girl out to demo with him. I know her; dancing for two years. She's about 6 feet tall, legs like a spider. She also keeps messing up the demo; he's trying to do a move the wrong way, to show the danger of shifting weight at the wrong moment, but she keeps correcting herself (a tango no-no) and doing the proper step. He has to coach her to follow him. Awkwaaaaard.

Later that evening, she sees me, waves, and sits gingerly next to me; her tiny black dress rides up so far I can see her underpants.

"Well," she says, stretching her long neck and patting her bun, "what did you think of the class?"

"It was good."

"I demonstrated with the teacher," she says, with the tone of an Academy Award acceptance speech.

"Oh, did you?"

For a moment she freezes, but reovers quickly and smiles with girlish glee. "Oh my god! He says I'm all talent and no technique!"

I think about how I've spent the last week walking on my arches, pulling my feet to get the tendons ready for stilettos, sitting against walls to align my shoulders, pivoting around the poles in the subway cars.

"Wow," I say sincerely. "That sucks. I'm sorry."

She looks over, clearly not expecting that answer, and after a moment of gaping she stands up and leaves.

It occurs to me at this point that she took the comment as a compliment. I have no response to this, either, so it's best she left.

Later that night, I heard her relating the anecdote to her partner, a five-year veteran, as they step off the floor after a tanda.

"So he says, 'You're all talent and no technique!'"

"Oh," he says, consoling, "I'm sure he didn't mean it."

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