Side Trip to Argentina (in my mind)

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I hadn’t planned on writing about last night but all morning thoughts just kept jumping into my head and the outlines started coming together so I better get this down.  I have mentioned this before, but I have a hard time answering what others seem to feel is a simple question – “What’s your favorite dance?”.  I do tend to favor the smooth dances for those times when things just fall into place and you can get swept up in the dance and the rest of the world falls away.  My dance blog friend and fellow villager Marian calls this a flow experience and the description works.  But the reality is that all the dances feel different and depending on my mood and the music, they all have the ability to take me to different places.  It is like reading a book where I can find myself mentally going to the location that’s described and trying to feel what it would be like to be there.

So that’s an extra long intro but I wanted to set up some stuff before I discuss my new love – Argentine Tango.  We worked on that before the Quick Step last night which was a good thing.  The Body Double has been moving slowly to get us into a closer frame and then last night she talked about the need to lead forward when doing this dance.  I’ve seen where this dance can go but she said we wouldn’t be getting to the point where the lean is really exaggerated.  Of course, I’m thinking she really had a “yet” hidden behind her words.  I feel like the frog in boiling water – each lesson she invades a little more and sooner or later, she’ll just obliterate my personal space bubble.  It will end up better for me than the frog though.

But the thing about it was that I could feel her move and she could feel me.  When she crossed her feet, I felt it and it.  When she tried to do it when she wasn’t supposed, it felt wrong and she would admit it.  There are spots where I wait for her to finish a move and I could feel when she was done and when we were ready for the next part.  As we kept doing the steps, it just got more intense.  At one point, it didn’t feel like teacher and student.  It was me truly leading and she was truly following – she had moved out of her instructor part and was just feeling it like I was.  It is truly hard to put into words but while we were two people, we moved as one.  I could hear her say “good” from time to time when I was particularly strong in my lead or stayed on time but the rest of the studio could have been 1000 miles away.  And there were others on the floor but it was like they vanished and it was just the two of us.  I could almost imagine us being in a dark and smoky (and maybe slightly seedy) bar in Argentina.  Of course, that would be unusual since I hate smoke and would probably hate being there for real.

Most of the pattern she’s developed is just slow steps to the music so it is easy to follow and find the beat.  There is a part where we break out of the hold and go into a gancho which is a step I really like.  But here it felt strangely out of place.  I’ve seen enough Argentine Tango on DWTS to know that is supposed to be a mix of light and shadow (as Len says) so it is only natural that we would do this.  But breaking out of it was like leaving a car in winter when you’ve just gotten the heater and seats to a comfortable temperature and then you have get out into the cold.  I wanted to just stay in the hold.  OK, I probably could have used a better analogy but I’m not a cheap romance novelist.  If I was, I would certainly include a Tango scene in every novel.

Oh, and don’t worry, it was just a dance.  The Body Double has done a lot of musical theater and she can act it up when needed.  And I can partition things pretty well also.  We broke apart and high fived and it was over.  But it was intense and magical (did I really just say that??) while it was going on.  I can certainly see how easy it would be to get swept up in the whole experience and start to believe there is something there that really isn’t, or why there are so many rumors about DWTS couples hooking up.  I’m really curious to see what kind of feedback we get at Showcase.  Maybe I’m not able to accurately project what I’m feeling so it might not come through so we shall see.  The whole experience is one of the reasons I write here.  Dancing stirs up some pretty strong emotions and feelings and I don’t have a good outlet to share them.  I don’t think non-dancers would truly understand and I’m totally not comfortable discussing feelings like this face to face.  Yeah, like I’m going to tell the guys about this “magical” experience I had last night at the dance studio.

Dancing can be painful – both physically and emotionally.  It can be cruel and it can be unforgiving and it can humble you.  But when it works, it can take you to heights that are amazing.  A simple Friday night at the studio ends up being a mental trip to Argentina.

This is why I dance.


  1. OH I AM SO JEALOUS! I’ve never felt like while dancing and I SO want to. I came close once, during a slow freestyle, but know that was just a taste. Good for you, Wall! You earned that bliss!

  2. YES. I’m so glad you wrote this and had that experience. So, so glad!!! My teach uses Argentine tango with all his ladies to teach following skills. (And get us used to having our space invaded?) I’ve had a few magical moments like you describe. I find that I even synchronize my breathing with his, that’s how intense it can be.

    1. I see why he would use Argentine Tango for that. It can be all improvised so there’s no way to anticipate. You are so right about how intense it was.

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