Perhaps entering stage two of the learning process


It doesn’t take long learning tango before you become intimately acquainted with what appears to be a universal phenomenon among dancers of all levels: tango highs, and tango lows.

But according to a great diagram created by Steve Morrall of tango school Bramshaw, seen below, I should feel pretty happy to experience either. Both peaks and troughs represent stage two of the learning experience …


Not that I imagine I’m beyond the ‘baffled and frustrated’ stage for good; I’m sure that will return, as I learn new things.

But tonight, at my second Tango Space forward ocho lesson of the week, I felt some kind of comfort level with it. Of course, given the number of ocho lessons I’ve had, you could respond to this with ‘I should bloody well hope so!’ – and I would be in no position to argue. But, then, my ocho path has definitely been of the stage 1 variety, so I feel like I’ve earned it …

The class was of a somewhat improvised nature. Pablo was ill, so two other teachers were pressed into action at short notice; we were short of followers (something I’m told is unusual); and we also had a couple of people there for their very first lesson. But the teaching was again excellent, and with a couple of tips it all felt really good.

I’m still very much working on my dissociation, but I definitely felt like I made progress, and the ochos I enjoyed this evening felt both smooth and controlled.

We got to work in both open and close embrace, and it was good to get a feel for how they differ in nature. In open embrace, more of a textbook pattern, with 180-degree pivots by the follower. In close embrace, smaller pivots by the follower, but a much greater feeling that we were both playing an equal part in the figure.

I’m still practicing my walk on my own before work. Bridgitta has suggested mixing this up with some pure music expression – just doing any movement to fit the music. I don’t think she realises the full extent to which I’m a British bloke, and therefore have zero idea of how to do anything completely uncontrolled. I inevitably end up doing some kind of vaguely tango-esque step. But that, too, felt good, and I ended up doing a mix of walking, rebounds and diagonal steps which felt fluid – I’m really curious whether I can actually lead any of it! Steph has agreed to a practice session over the weekend where I’ll get to find out.

But right now, I’m feeling comfortable with where I am, and I can’t tell you how good that feels after rather a lot of discomfort! Next lesson is on Sunday with Mariano, and maybe, just maybe, we might progress this giro business. Let’s see.

Photo: Shutterstock

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