Unmet expectations


My expectations of today’s lesson with Mariano were very definitely not met …

Last week had comprised four evenings of tango lessons, plus friends over for dinner on Friday night. It had all been great fun, but I was very much feeling like the week had caught up with me. By the time today’s lesson rolled around, I didn’t feel like I had either the physical or mental energy to achieve much.

I suggested we just work on trying to do giros in closer embrace; that felt like a suitably modest ambition. Instead, Mariano honed in on my cheat’s version of the leader pivot – in which I was using two half-turns instead of one continuous one. He decided it was time to convert that to a proper pivot.

I knew the theory of how this worked, both from a previous lesson with Mariano and a Tango Space two-hour workshop on the giro, but hadn’t yet been sufficiently confident in my technique to actually use it. Given my low energy and the limited time, I wasn’t expecting that to change today.

And yet it did.

I mean, I was getting it right about one time in ten – but for the first time, I understood how the dynamic was supposed to work between the leader and follower when completing the giro. The way that the signal from my hand to stop the follower’s movement could also act as a springboard for me to uncoil from my pivot.

The nine times out of ten it didn’t work were all kinds of messy. Losing balance. Feet ending up apart instead of collected. My follower ending up on the wrong foot. But the one time in ten when it all came together, it felt great! And it was that feeling that made sense of the whole thing.

Mariano went on to demonstrate some of the ways that rebound energy can be used to do all kinds of funky things. Absolutely none of which I’m going to be doing anytime soon. But it was great to see what will one day be opened up by this kind of movement once I get the hang of it.

I need to practice it many, many, many times – and hope to get some opportunity at this week’s practicas. I shall also be devoting this week’s solo practice to this specific movement.

Today’s lesson just pointed the way – but as pointers go, it was a really great one!

Image: Shutterstock

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