Sunday, November 12, 2006

Chemistry 101.

I spent a long while today trying to describe tango to a friend who doesn't dance.

"So, is it sexy?"

"Not really."

"Is it fun?"

"...eventually when I'm better it will be."

"And you do this for ten hours a week, why?"

I expect I will be hearing this a lot in my future. I'm psychic!

I really don't think that tango is a sexy dance, though. There is sexual chemistry sometimes between dancers, and that's always fun to watch, but like co-stars who sleep together and then flop onscreen, it can interfere more than help if you're not careful. My unabated girlcrush on Vasquez aside, I've only really been attracted to one other dancer, a lanky young instructor who has the careless good looks of a movie star, and who moves like a dream. Oh, young instructor, I watched you dance with other beginners and perished!

Well, not "perished" so much as "danced with other people", but you get the idea.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the chemistry of terror one finds when one has accepted a dance with a terrible dancer. Unfortunately, this seems to happen about 30% of the time, and there is a lot of polite "Oh, no, I'm resting" floating around most milongas. I am actually fine with this. I encourage this. It's logic. If I want to dance with hottie instructors then I had better step to it and learn. If one is not good enough yet, then one must learn. Period. One shouldn't expect women (or men) to dance if one hasn't made the effort to improve.

(I speak not to beginners; many beginner guys are awesome and I like dancing with them. I speak to people who are trying to coast after a number of years. Uncool, coasters.)

(Yeah, I'm a snob. What can you do?)

The great majority of the dances have a sort of biology-lab partner chemistry I find reassuring. You can get a little annoyed with someone, they can get a little annoyed with you, but for the most part you're in it together and it's a chance to get a few more inches under you in the 5,000-mile trek to becoming a good dancer. It's this kind of chemistry I go for when I'm leading someone, and it's the chemistry I usually find in people with whom I enjoy dancing. It's nice, because if you make a little mistake they'll still ask you to dance again, because they like you. Everyone wins!

Eventually, if I'm very lucky, I will get one of those dances where it's not about the person, and the partnership is based on surrender to the music. That is a beautiful thing.

That's why I do this ten hours a week. I'm preparing for a day in 2012 when I get asked to dance.

Maybe I won't phrase it to my friend quite that way.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Hi Planchadora,

tango is more of a sensual dance than a sexual one, I find. Every partner is different, some you will have a connection with, some you won't. And when the stars align in your favour, some will be ones you will always remember even if for just one small detail about their style. And always, you find yourself going back for more. -So addicting.