It Takes Time to Tango…

Last night I practiced Tango with my practice buddy for about half an hour. It was fun but tragic. If you dance you’ll understand what I mean I love practicing with a partner but my frame was off and because I was out of position he kept stepping on me. It made him feel bad but was entirely my fault. Bless his heart!

So today I invested some time in my Tango  For two solid hours I practiced half a step. Yep you read correctly, not a full step but half of one. I took the Tango basic from our syllabus and practiced the follower part and began getting into frame and pointing my right foot back. I videoed myself and watched and looked at what I was doing that I did not like and I did that over and over again and again. Each time I made adjustments and the looked to see if the adjustments made a difference and then I tried again.

Then I took a break and watched some videos. Some were instructional. Some were pro competitions. Then I went back to practicing, watching and adjusting over and over. I even started to actually take the first step but something was still off so I went back to frame and point. When my instructor finished with his coaching session with another student he came over to ask me how it was going. He had noticed I was working and had a minute and wanted to know what questions I had. He observed what I was doing, suggested I focus on retraction instead of lowering to get into frame and I started all over again. Practice, watch, adjust.

Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong! It takes no time at all to say those words, but HOURS and HOURS to make them mean something. It takes time to Tango.

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Taking the First Step…

I didn’t grow up dancing. I was raised with very strict and conservative belief and taught that while some dancing was definitely lewd and inappropriate and other dancing was wholesome fun, in general it was asking for trouble and best avoided. So I did avoid it for a long long time. Where I grew up the only places to dance were bars and clubs, places I had no desire to frequent. I had no desire to get drunk or get acquainted with one and since I closely associated dancing with drinking they easily fell into the “not for me” category.

In the spring of 2011 I found myself struggling. I had just reached a high point in my third career and found myself disillusioned, disenchanted and thanks to my all in, workaholic habits, devoid of a social circle. After attending a singles game night I was invited to a dance party at the Carmichael Presbyterian Church. I told them there was not point because I didn’t dance. They invited me to just come and hang out with them anyway. So I said “Why not?”

I arrived late and the pre-party dance lesson had already started. I jumped in anyway but really didn’t feel like I ever caught on to the basics of the Night Club Two Step they were trying to teach me. Nevertheless I tried. Over the course of the night I kept trying and kept failing spectacularly. I was extremely flattered by any man who asked me to dance more than once because it was not for my dancing skill. My favorite dance of the evening was the Cupid Shuffle. It was the only time I could get out on the floor and do as well as everyone else.

After one particularly energetic trip across the floor I sat down to catch my breath and realized I was in a pretty cool place. The environment was friendly and wholesome, no one was scantily dressed, no one was dancing lewdly, no one was drunk or disorderly, no one was treating anyone disrespectfully or inappropriately. That was all right. But I was also noticing that there were about 175 people out there dancing and having more fun than me! That was wrong, very, very very wrong. Something had to be done. That’s when I made the decision to take lessons and learn to dance. That decision changed everything.