Second Tango Lesson

Kathrin Lake, author of From Survival to Thrival documents her first Tango lessons inspired by Tim Ferriss’s book The 4 -Hour Workweek.

Tango lesson 2

Before my BF, “E” and I went for our second Tango lesson with Gabriela I watch Jim at his beyond beginner’s class.  I jot things down as I watch and the music of the tango seeps into my pen.  The tango couples seem more eloquent than I can live up to with mere words.  I am amazed at Jim’s progress and delighted (not jealous). I want to keep watching him dance with his dance partner. I just like being on the sidelines watching two pairs of legs in tandem. I did foolishly think that he may not be able to learn tango, but watching now I see that this is always his passion. Also, the music is part of the essential equation that I forgot to factor in.  It makes all things possible.  Even if you don’t love tango music you cannot help but be drawn into it. The dancers play a chess game. If I move like this, you move like that, but if I move like this, what possibilities will you give me? It’s a taunting, tantalizing bid to outdazzle each other and see who will crack first under the intensity, but neither ever do, or if one does they both lose, so they must not, for this is not a win-lose game, this is a dance and oh what a dance!tango

Gabriela corrects Jim in what I thought was a fluid motion.  He is bouncing in his quick step apparently. Though from the sidelines tango appears elegant and romantic, like our domestic life can be all maintenance, and both take practice and communication to perfect.  But when it works, it far transcends even the most blissful parts of our domestic lives.  It is that old saying of dance being a vertical expression of a horizontal desire. Doubly so for tango. When I first met Jim he had an expression he readily shared, “if you can’t dance, there is no chance for romance.”

When E and I get started with Gabriela we start as all classes start, with the walking. Dramatic dragging of feet is intentionally alluring not lazy. Gabriela shouts to us,

“Your feet must make love to the floor.  That is the tango.”

She is impressed with our progress through the basic steps and decides to show us the Ocho.  “If you do not have your Ocho, you have learned nothing,” she says. In Spanish I know that Ocho means “eight” and indeed Ochos are figure eight like moves.  E and I pick up fast Gabriela says and we are finally given our first male dance partners to test our ability to follow a lead and practice.  This is always the fascinating challenge of couples dancing.  It is especially terrific practice for strong, independent women to learn to listen (with the body) and to not take charge. It is a great metaphor for communication that we don’t really always practice at home, but the principal outcome is the same, if you listen everything goes smoothly. But Ochos allow the woman to speak the language of seduction.  Gabriela is very impressed and my male partner who I have just met tonight asks me how long I have been dancing. When I tell him this is my second tango lesson he says, “Wow.”  My ego soars with this one syllable compliment. E and I sail out of our class thinking we are tango prodigies, but I also know better having taken other lessons.  There will be struggles. I also later realize that the thing that I found so soothing and suited to me about the tango was the slow, alluring pace.  So much less frantic than swing music. The music stays with me for hours after. I think I’m hooked.

Find out more about what Kathrin does to live a full life at: http://www.survivaltothrival.com/

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