It’s pivot playtime


I’d made one claim, and Steph and Mariano had made another. Mine was that the multiple lessons spent struggling to do an ocho were actually learning the principle of leading pivots. Theirs was that, once one pivot clicked, others would prove massively easier to learn.

The evidence so far is that both claims are justified …

After two Tango Space lessons on the cross, they quickly made sense, and I was able to successfully lead Steph in one afterwards. (Well, actually what she said was ‘It was a bit rough-and-ready, but I could tell what you were doing.’ I’ll take that for now.)

The second lesson was a variation on the first, and the variation also made sense. Plus swapping back and forth between the parallel and cross walk, which had previously seemed to require the convening of a planning committee, now seemed, well, easy.

Steph even had us try the half-giro again without Mariano’s supervision, and that’s feeling slightly less like the meanderings of a drunk on an all-night tube train and just a little more like a potential dance option. And when she followed this with a suggestion that we now try an ocho cortado, my response would normally have been ‘hell, no, don’t you even think about coming anywhere near me with something new – I’m confused enough as it is!’ My actual response was ‘Ok.’ And it was.

Of course, the Three Bullets still apply – what I can do in practice is not the same as what I can do to the music on the pista. But I now feel confident that if I put in some practice time with a partner, I can move these from bullet 2 to 3 in some kind of sensible time-frame.

And that’s now going to be my goal. Let Mariano and Steph have their way with this giro nonsense. But after that, stop learning new stuff and work on my existing vocabulary the way we’ve been working on my walk. Turning it from a vague idea into something halfway respectable, and occasionally more.

After all, if I could translate everything I know in theory into things I can do on the dance floor, I would have:

  • the walk
  • cross-system walk
  • sidesteps
  • rebounds
  • ochos (yay!)
  • ocho cortados
  • the cross
  • half-giro

Plus a whole giro sometime soon-ish, maybe.

If I could do all of those things well … lead them clearly … be fluid … and, most importantly, have them down well enough to deploy them at will to the music on the pista … I’d be able to dance.

Of course, tango isn’t that neat. I have no idea what the rest of the month’s Tango Garden and Tango Space lessons will be on. So maybe one or two new things will get thrown into the mix. But my focus will be on taking rough-and-ready elements, working on doing them well, and then into things I can do with sufficient ease and comfort that I can employ them on the pista.

After that, I think, the next priority will be really getting to grips with the music. I’m listening to it all the time, but my milonga experience to date is that I only feel sufficiently comfortable to head out onto the pista in one or two tandas. So there is much more work to be done there for sure.

But … you know, this tango business … I do feel like it might actually be do-able.

Photo: Shutterstock

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