I am so very lucky – I get the occasional dance with a formula one dancer.
This is only because I pay for their time – they are teachers.
And not just ordinary teachers – but passionate, talented professionals with over 10 years of teaching experience, a truly intimate knowledge of the tango world, a huge sensitivity to the music and thousands upon thousands of accumulated kilometres on the dance floor.
I am also so very, very fortunate because I get to practise and work with some people who – like me – just love to learn.
And for me the most exciting, memorable joyous things in that learning experience are about the interpretation of the music and taking risks together. I love it when she pauses unexpectedly – when she holds me back just by her presence and her immersion in the music.
I curse myself when I sense it too late – and I rush her. I thought of one response and she felt something else -and I was just too slow – I blew it and now she is going to play safe for a while. Damn it! I just wasn’t good enough. I held her back from the edge. I caged her.
Safe is boring. Correct is not good enough. For both of us.
My focus is on learning, learning, learning so that when she feels something I can react fast enough and run with her. Tango is of course based on walking, but dancing with a woman who expresses the music surely requires a different mental agility and physical speed – like some kind of futuristic martial art where energies and balance points spiral without friction between us.
Where she can hang over the edge and look down that precipice of failure and yet feel totally, totally safe.
I need to be so fast and so seamless that she honestly feels I was always with her – even though I am in reality breathless – heart racing – feeling so happy to support her as she just flows wherever the music takes her.
Tango is an improvised dance – there are so few rules and whatever rules there are can be broken if you have the technique to stay within them.
It’s our choice – lean out over that edge and look down – or just shuffle about.