Monday, October 16, 2006

The First Lesson. Yes, again! You shut up in the back!

There are a few things from the past week that I would eventually like to blog about: tango music, technique classes, and another edition of Tango Dress, or Attacked by an Animal? Today, though, it's leading class.

I decided that I hadn't suffered enough tango humiliation yet this month and signed up for a class. This would be my second class in an actual classroom (and I've been dancing four months; there's a statistic for you). The first class was milonga class, but I'm talking about this class first, because...that's what happened. I'm a rebel. I live by no man's timeline!


So I walk into the class on the first day not sure what to expect; while women leaders are becoming more common, in some circles there's still a stigma to it, and whether or not women leaders are welcome is on an individual basis. Luckily, the teacher was awesome, and after explaining some basic concepts of tango for the newbies, she said, "Okay, so we need to pair up. Leaders, followers, doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl, everyone should learn both parts eventually."

Works for me. I jump in the line. My first follower is wearing those ridiculous sandals that don't even exist, they're just little leather flaps with ribbons on them. I have nightmareish visions of stepping on her and sending her to the hospital.

"Okay, so, let's start with open embrace," the teacher calls out, and I lean forward as far as humanly possible, until I am standing like so:

Planchadora leading. Feet to scale.

I manage not to step on her toes, but my back is killing me by the time we switch.

My next partner's been dancing a month or two, so that's easier, and the class progresses.

What I Learned in Leading Class:

* People don't understand the line of dance. I don't know how this is possible, but it is. WALK, people. That's all I ask.

* Leading is hard. Good grief, I had no idea how hard it is to convince another person to do what you want if she doesn't already know how to look for it. I think the biggest disadvantage of the lesson was that once the girl knew how to do it, she did it whether or not my lead was convincing, which doesn't help me become a better leader.

* Do not have a conversation in the middle of the line of dance! Nothing is that important! If you have to stop and fight loudly about who is wrong, step out of the line of dance and do it. Also, what are you arguing about? We're walking. It's one foot in front of the other. You've been doing it since you were teeny. Come on.

* I have to stop looking like the drinky-bird. That's not really attractive.


Tangospeak said...

I want to take a leading class too! But there doesn't seem to be any in my town. :(

La Planchadora said...

There are no classes for womrn leaders anywhere, as far as I know; I just sort of marched into the beginner class and told the teacher, "I'm leading!"

Then she said, "Okay, take places, everyone should learn both!" which was really awesome.

Wroth a try in your city? (Mine's big enough to be full of liberal hippies who don't care if a woman leads; I have no idea how it goes over elsewhere...)

Tangospeak said...

That would actually go over well in Montreal - bunch of liberals here too. I will try that when I get back from Argentina.

Jaq said...

My teacher insists that everyone learns to lead and follow. Some of the men, needless to say, find this concept rather hard. ;)