Baby Steps

by Nancy Green

I went to my first milonga (the social dance event) with the trepidation of a beginner.  But I am taking classes – so at least I’m in the process.  Right?

I was well prepared with a simple checklist from my teachers:

Make sure my upper torso is facing my partner’s, no matter what my lower torso decides to do.  Keep my right arm firm in the embrace so that I may feel the indication of his movement.  Always walk in the line of dance, one foot directly behind the other.  Slightly brush my knees and ankles together as they pass each other.  Extend my leg.  Hips tilted back.  Lean towards my partner.  Step with intention, transfer my weight, collect, resolve.  All while going backwards.  In heels.

Oh,  and then there is dance floor etiquette.

As well as the ritual of the invitation to dance, there is also the art of ending the dance.  To end a dance that you may not be enjoying for reasons such as;  not being able to follow his lead, sweaty palms, blisters or the vapors,  one kindly says “Thank You.”

I asked my teacher in the tango etiquette class why I would want to end a dance?  After all, aren’t I there to learn and practice, good lead or bad?  She suggested it was good tool to have should I ever need it.

On the dance floor, I let my first partner of the evening know that I was a beginner.  To which he said:  “Then you shouldn’t be here.  And anyway I knew you were a beginner as soon as you took your first step.”  To which I replied “Thank You.”

Copyright © 2012  Nancy Green