Before Tango; After Tango

bandoneon

I began my tango journey at the end of October of last year, making today 8 months AT. In that time, there have been private lessons, group lessons, workshops, practicas, milongas, books, videos, forums, Facebook groups … YouTube pretty much assumes I only want to watch tango dances, and my Spotify playlists contain tango, the whole tango and nothing but the tango.

As for my schedule …

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Properly entering the delusional phase

delusional

I talked before about the delusional phase most tango dancers get to enjoy.

In conversation among experienced dancers, someone said most people make it through the first couple of years of tango thanks to a healthy dose of self-delusion. By the time they realise they weren’t anything like as good as they thought they were, they are over the hump – or at least, too far in to escape.

I was complaining that having an advanced tango dancer as a life-partner meant that I never got to enjoy that myself …

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Romantica Milonguera live, and a whole-evening tangasm

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Wow!

I’ve absolutely loved Romantica Milonguera ever since I first came across them, so leapt at the chance to see them when they made their first ever visit to London. They were doing two live sets during a milonga, with recorded music the rest of the time.

Very few people I knew seemed to be going, so wasn’t expecting to do much dancing, but I was going to be more than happy just viewing it as a live concert …

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Two months later, and disclosing my internal dialogue

inner dialogue

Just under two months ago, I wrote my six-month appraisal. The bottom-line of what I wrote then hasn’t changed:

By one measure, I’ve come a huge, huge distance. From zero to being able to lead an enjoyable, if simple, dance … for a fellow beginner.

By another measure – the standard I see in milongas – I’m almost nowhere. I watch people effortlessly do these amazing-looking things, and I can’t even tell you what they are doing.

But three things have changed significantly …

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Just how bad was yesterday anyway?!

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With Hamdi and Amy still away, the improver class was again being taught by Federico and Julia. When they arrived about 15 minutes before the class was due to start, he wanted to know what the leaders had done to the followers yesterday!

There were about a dozen men and only one woman present …

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Back to back ochos

back ochos

The beauty of being in the second cycle of the Tango Space beginner classes is that I’m no longer having to learn new steps, and can instead focus on my technique. Tonight’s topic was the back ocho, and I can lead workable ones, so I wasn’t going to have to worry about the what, and would be able to instead focus on the how.

That’s needed because, as I mentioned before, I’d been cheating in my ochos …

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Venturing once more into the great outdoors

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After the Hyde Park bandstand milonga, Sunday provided another opportunity to dance outdoors. Rene and Hiba from Tango Fever organise Tango@Spitalfields, held in the Amphitheatre Canopy outside Patisserie Valerie.

It felt strange to be going there to dance: I’d passed several of these milongas in my pre-tango days, and always thought of them as a really fun idea. I never imagined I would one day be participating!

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