My first dance

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A tango dancing friend protested I was having it all too easy. Private lessons and a highly experienced follower on tap. Not like in her day, when you had to (tango) walk 43 miles through the snow in your bare feet, listening to scratchy music through a crystal radio with a broom for a dance partner …

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Things that click in the night

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Tango is just walking in time to the music.

The lie is compelling because we all know how to walk. Most of us have been doing it since before our first birthday, and like to think we’ve got the hang of it by now. The deception is of course revealed in the very first lesson.

‘Push from the floor with your rear leg, don’t reach out with your front one.’

‘Walk with a swagger, but not pushing your hips forward.’

‘Lead with your chest, but take your power from the floor’ …

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Five lessons and a milonga

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Curiosity and obsession …

I get curious about anything and everything. I flirt with understanding everything from the construction of modern skyscrapers to how DLR trains know where they are. But every now and then, I take an intellectual lover.

My bookmarks were packed full of articles on everything from floor-craft to musicality. Our cleaner was bemused by my practicing my walk in my home office before work. YouTube had virtually stopped recommending anything that wasn’t a tango video. From flirtatious glance to tango leaving her toothbrush in my bathroom had taken but a few weeks …

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The impossible journey

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‘Love music, can’t dance’ had had for so long been a part of my self-identification that the very notion of this not being an established fact seemed hard to imagine. And yet it was an illusion shattered with a single evening of ceroc.

I discovered, to my great surprise, that when you combine a halfway decent musical ear with some well-taught fixed steps, the result is something which looks not entirely dissimilar to dance.

In retrospect, it ought to have been abundantly obvious that this was merely step one in Steph’s Machiavellian plan to turn a non-dancer into some variety of tanguero …

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