All my life’s a circle


I have a one-thing-at-a-time mentality when it comes to, well, most things, actually. When it comes to learning tango, my theory was to stick with one figure until I felt I had a reasonably good beginner’s version of it – and only then move on to something else.

But in line with my determination to ‘be more ocho,’ instead of insisting doggedly that we stick to the ocho, I left it to Mariano to decide how we spent today’s lesson. Which turned out to be a practical demonstration of how, in tango, everything is connected to everything else …

Figures may typically be presented to beginners like myself as if they are separate and distinct, but the reality is that everything is a variation on something else.

Mariano suggested that first we work on making my turns in the walk more elegant. He introduced me to a way of making a turn more decisive, introducing a dissociated twist in the chest during a step. And that, it turns out, is a very good way to enter an ocho. A backward one, even. And it made me appreciate that a forward ocho and backward ocho are not separate, as they had been in my mind, but a very simple variation on the same thing.

Indeed, if I can get comfortable with that one twisting movement, and a change of weight, a whole world of possibilities opens up.

Theory and practice are, of course, different things. I will need plenty of the latter, and there’s only so much of it I can do with Steph without inflicting first dizziness and then chiropractor bills. But fortunately we have the technology:


So this week will see me inflicting pain on my own spine rather than Steph’s. If you don’t hear from me by Wednesday, please call an osteopath.

Photo: Shutterstock

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