7 Mar

Oh geez, did I pick a fun new tango class to attend (please adjust your sarcasm radar). I’m not really sure what to think about my new situation. I guess it wasn’t a horrible way to spend an hour and a half of one’s life…I mean how often does one get to dance a very sexy, close and personal dance with a very sweaty elderly man named George?

As we all know by now, the tango and I have issues. We don’t mesh as well as I thought we would. It wasn’t that I hated the tango after my first few private lessons but I wouldn’t say I was totally in love with it either. It’s very very very very very very very hard for me to be stop thinking long enough to enjoy being led by the man. I still don’t understand how the woman is supposed to know where to move her feet without a set sequence. I was told by my last instructor that closing my eyes might help me feel the movements more. I tried it and all it helped me with was tripping over my feet at a greater rate. I almost thought about scrapping the tango completely for the year. Maggi even pointed out that the process of reaching the goals on 365 til 30 wasn’t meant to torture myself. I knew she was right but I also felt sad every time I thought about giving up on the tango completely. We did share a few good moments. Listen to me, I sound like i’m talking about a broken love affair. To be totally honest, I still think we are headed for a break up but I am not ready to hang up my tango shoes just yet.

That said, I felt I needed a new plan of action for the tango. So first, I decided I had to switch to a class closer to home so it would be easier for me to feel motivated to go (kinda like getting oneself to the gym). I also thought I should find a group class instead of privates- my logic being more people equals more energy!

Cut to Monday night. I arrived to my class 20 minutes early. I am early everywhere I go and I do realize that I will have wasted half my life being early. When I arrived to class there was a woman dressed in black shiny jazz pants, a blue mesh top and crazy make-up, dancing by herself in the center of the room. She looked at me with crazy eyes and asked me if I was there for the tango class. I almost said no. I almost said no, turned around, walked out of the room and back home to safety. But I had come this far so I meekly said yes and introduced myself. Enter Claudia…one of my fellow classmates who (note to self) obviously gets there early to warm up.

After making small talk with Claudia about the world of tango, I excused myself, sat in the corner and quietly put my tango shoes on as the other students trickled in. After meeting Claudia, I thought the worst was over but then I met the men. There’s George, an elderly man who has always loved the tango (which he made a point to tell me many times very loudly in my ear), has a perspiration problem and liked to step on my toes. I was lucky enough to dance with him a bunch!! The two other men were closer to my age but very strange. I would actually choose to dance with George over the other men any day because at least he enthusiastic about the tango. One was there with his fiance practicing for their wedding- she seemed very lovely but he was an odd duck. I wouldn’t say he seemed totally comfortable dancing with other women. He couldn’t look me in the eyes even when I addressed him directly. The other guy, well, I didn’t get much from him but I can safely say he had a few drinks before class and from what I could smell I would say they were vodka’s.

I definitely had a few good laughs during the class, mostly by myself at inappropriate times. It was a totally different experience dancing with fellow students. If I had trouble following my partners lead before when I was dancing with an experienced tango dancer then I am most definitely screwed now. I was spoiled…very spoiled. This should be an interesting five weeks.


10 Responses to “123”

  1. barbarapotter March 7, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    So I wake up this morning, turn on my IPhone, open my email, download your new post, read it and start my day with a big smile 🙂

  2. david hicks March 7, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Hi Kate: Suggest you take a look at a short clip of my friend Count Glover dancing with Chelsea Eng. Count moved to LA and is teaching tango there. here’s the link for that:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=Dso1CAY6Ip0&NR=1. See if you can find Count Glover teaching in LA.

    and then check out this link and see that there are literally hundreds of Tango opportunities where you don’t have to get stuck with anybody. TangoMango.org. click or unclick the various types of events and locals. nice site. It would take you a year at least just to go to everyone once.

    I think the clue to fixing what was wrong with your tango experience is right in your comment today. you said “hard for me to be stop thinking long enough to enjoy being led by the man.” Think of it this way–what would you have to do to earn a black belt in Karate? A lot of repetition, because your body has to learn how to do things automatically without thinking, so the repetitions give you “muscle (movement) memory”.

    Make sure you find a teacher that teaches dancing. Not steps! You don’t need steps. I teach my students how to have a tango experience just walking in a tango posture and style together. Nicole and I did a spin around the dining room at Irv and Lynn’s this winter, and she’s getting more and more into it and wants us to dance every day now. We just were asked this week to do two performances at different venues and to take on students for private lessons. One couple drives 50 miles every Sunday to attend our little group class in the dance studio we built into our house.

    The main thing: Let go of yourself, don’t let it be about you and what you are doing wrong. Try being the connection between the two of you. Tango is not about steps, performance. Its about the connection. This is why women who learn tango never want to give it up. One of the couples who come, she loves tango–he loves her, so he shows up faithfully for her to explore this long learning curve. Like Karate, Tango isn’t some parlor trick you can learn in a few lessons. Learn the conventions, the rules first, let your body discover they are second nature–then comes the fun–learning to break the rules within the conventions. so fun!

  3. maternalmedia March 8, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks for following me at maternalmedia.com. I can relate to your feelings of not being in total sync/balance on the dance floor. I had the opportunity last year to compete in a fundraiser for an Omaha nonprofit that supports homeless teens. Here’s the youtube clip of my performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv_hZEDCuOY

    My motto: When you can’t master the moves, at least make it a point to make them laugh!

    • katemcclafferty March 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Omg that video was hysterical! I loved it. Thank you for your words and for sharing your video:)

    • katemcclafferty March 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Omg that video was hysterical!!!! I loved it! Thank you for your words of encouragement:)

  4. alreadynotpublished March 9, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Maybe you need some black shiny jazz pants! This was great, you’re writing is refreshing, you sound like you’re talking to a friend, thanks 🙂

  5. Why are mangoes so squishy? March 15, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    Well, at least your trying. You’ll never know whether or not you can tango if you don’t at least attempt to. ( My thing is fencing… but I’m not too good at it.) Despite years of ballet lessons, clogging, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, zumba, (something my mother made me do at the gym she goes to. It was either that, or run on the treadmill at home by myself. To this day, I still think that I should have given up and ran.) and fencing, ( all of these were a waste of money, if you ask me) I still can’t walk in a straight line. Oh, and all I still do out of all of these is basketball, though I would like to take fencing again, but my sister’s schedule conflicts with it. Props to you for having the courage to get up there in front of all those people and stumble around!

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  1. 121 « - March 9, 2012

    […] tango dancing with George (surprisingly i’m kinda looking forward to seeing him […]

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