Well I just had a really genuine and totally interesting tango experience.
It’s February, it’s late – I live in the UK so it’s cold. This evening I went to a great tango lesson in London as I always do on Tuesdays, late train back as ever, got to a station and then I unusually decided to walk home – so now it is nearly 1am.
So what on earth am I doing writing a blog..?
If you are going to walk anywhere in the uk after midnight in February you need some protection. For me it was great headphones, Spotify, a hoody and over that a jacket – I felt snug. And the music sounded awesome. So I walked. I just walked – because I need to get somewhere. Home.
The playlist was to die for – gorgeous late night tango. The headphones – I already said it but it’s important – they were amazing.
So I started walking – roughly 40 minutes should sort it.
And then two interesting concepts kind of collided in my little insulated bubble of warmth so well protected from the reality of the cold and mundane world out there.
- Firstly – tango is based on walking, Of course it is.
- Secondly – you shouldn’t step on the cracks.
Of course I shouldn’t – its a childhood thing. Its an adult thing too – if you have kept that link back to the good old days when walking on a pavement was so much fun. There was all sorts of things – that arcane feminine hopscotch ritual over a marked course … and those cracks – that you mustn’t, mustn’t, ever step on.
So I just started to walk where every single step was to the music, I looked for double time runs, I looked for phrasing and pausing. I wanted to express this – I was enjoying it. But I couldn’t step on the cracks.
It was late and no-one was around – and if they were they weren’t watching me.. so on I went, circling, curving, racing and pausing.
Then I nailed a concept that has been explained to me before – but now I get it completely – if you want to move double time then halve your step length. You just can’t do it at your normal stride length – you will for sure step on the cracks!! And we can’t do that can we – all sorts of bad things will happen.
Then the penny dropped. Our paving stones here are irregular – sometimes large, sometimes small – sometimes one then the other. And the music of course is varying so much – and under my hoody so very compelling,
- It is me, the music and the paving stones.
- It is me, the person I am dancing with – and the unpredictable heat of a milonga.
And I can’t step on the cracks. And this playlist is on shuffle, and I don’t know it so well yet – but it is so gorgeous and I so want to dance to it. And the next paving stones – they could be large, they could be tiny. But I need small paving stones for my crack-free double time runs, just like I need space and the musicality to coincide in a milonga. Damn this is so good.
I can choose diagonals – they are longer. I can insist and ask for more step length – maybe I can stretch to larger paving stones but that is a big ask..
Tango is indeed based on walking, and I needed to get home – so I walked. That’s what leaders should do more of – take her for walk – but not on the cracks. She would hate that.