Manly Yes, But I Like it Too

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Yesterday was all Tango all the time as both the group class and my private lesson with Kid T were on Tango.  I’ll speak to the second part first.

This might be a rehash of something I’ve said before.  Heck, you do 500+ posts and try not to be repetitive.  I can’t remember what I’ve rambled about before.  If this is a repeat, bear with me because I believe there are new readers who have not slogged through my past postings.

People ask me what my favorite dance is and I really want to answer “It depends on my mood” but they wouldn’t understand that so I answer with the dance that is closest in my mind at the time.

Waltz and Viennese Waltz are clearly the dance of noblemen.  I can see lords and ladies in fancy clothes sweeping around a grand ballroom in a castle somewhere.  It is pure Prince Charming/Fairy Tale stuff.  And some days that really appeals to my hopeless romantic side as we glide around the floor.

Fox Trot is just classic cool.  I always picture the Rat Pack at their favorite swanky night club with drinks in one hand and cigarettes in the other.  Frankly, I could do without the cigarettes but everyone smoked back then so be it.  The dance itself though is more Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly – smooth and a bit playful.  But, in those dances, the man is kind of there to show off the lady and let her do the pretty, pretty stuff.  It is all grace and elegance even with the little bit of fun and jazz that sneaks in to the Fox Trot.

Tango is a whole different animal.  It is down and gritty and real and feels like it should be danced in a seedy dive bar that the lords and ladies doing the waltz would never frequent.  There is all this talk about aggression and the stalking feel of it but I find that visual to be a bit creepy even if it is accurate.  To me, I think more of passion.  It is two people who are attracted to each other but know it is wrong.  They try to fight the attraction but it is of no use.  Rumba and Bolero are love stories and you know how those will end.  Tango, you’re not sure.  The two could live happily ever after or they could destroy each other in the fires of the passion.  (Did I really just write that??)

Tango is a strong dance for the man.  There is little of the gentleness of Waltz where you suggest where the lady should go and sit back and frame her as she does it.  No, this is the man putting the lady where he wants her.  The lady resists with her head and body turning away but she still ends up where he places her.  OK, this is more metaphor than actual dance technique since I know most of that is an illusion.

Now, this is not who I typically am.  I’m am the hopeless romantic who enjoys the big sweeping movement of the Waltz.  So when OwnerGuy tells me to be strong and macho and “dominate” Kid T, it makes me laugh.  And I felt kind of silly doing it on the lesson with him watching.

But, on the lesson last night, I just found it so easy to slip into that character.  Maybe it is because it is playing against type and not something that I do because, even though I’m the boss, I hate giving people orders.  And the Tango lead feels more like orders than suggestions.

And I have to admit that having Kid T attached to my hip helps with the whole illusion of the Tango.  Yes, I know I still have my Victorian streak and it has taken time to get comfortable with that but the close contact just makes those sharp moves that much sharper and I can get the reaction from her without having to do a big move myself so it really does help create the illusion.

OwnerGuy changed one part where we end up shaping sort of against each other so I’ve got body parts moving in different directions with my mid section pointed one way and my head another and I feel all twisted around.  And she’s attached to me but shaping away so we are both fused and separate.  I don’t know what it looked like but it felt good.  Is there such a thing as a strong pose?  But, last night, in those moments, I wasn’t thinking that it was odd to have a young lady who could be my work daughter attached to me at the hip because it just fit the mood and tone of the dance.

We ended the lesson and Cosmo and the new and still nameless instructor were there and he said something about us being done “so soon” and they talked about how time flies when your dancing and she talked about how much she enjoyed watching us.

Anyway, it was a very successful lesson and it really moves Tango up the list on dances I like.

Group class was interesting because Z taught and there was only me and one other guy so it was two students and four instructors.  In a further sign of the thaw, Z even pulled me out to dance a part to demo what needed to be done.  Granted, she didn’t have a lot of options but it is a return to normalcy.

Not sure what we’ll be working on tonight.  I’ve got lessons with Kid T and Sunny so it should be fun.




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