Nancy Takes the Lead

by Nancy Green

The descriptions of dance lessons say that you do not need a partner to learn the tango.  Which is surprising since we all know that it takes two.  They also say to not let the lack of a partner stand in the way of learning.  Perfect.  I don’t have one and now luckily I don’t need one.

As it turns out, going it alone has its advantages.  Gone is any attachment to be or not to be with the partner you walked in the door with.  In class we rotate after every song.  At a milonga, couples dance a tanda.  A set of three to five songs.  And then move on.  The constant changing of partners has had its thrills and challenges.

In class, I danced with one man and felt transported right at the connection of the embrace.  Happy to be in his arms and excited to follow wherever he led.  We moved around the dance floor beautifully.  At one point, I missed his indication for a cruzada and stumbled.  He said: “Don’t worry, I’ve got you.”

And by contrast, my next partner mumbled something about ochos not being his favorite move.  Our dance was all apologies and blame. “You’ve led me into a cruzada, please help me out of it.”  “Well, I don’t know the women’s part.  You will have to figure that out for yourself.”

My last beginner class was all couples and one other single woman.  Not enough men to go around.  The uncoupled women’s lament. And the teacher did not rotate partners.  So I was paired with Sandra for the evening.

As this was her very first tango class and my third series of beginner classes, I decided make it challenging and take the lead.  Okay, so what did I know about leading?  My role is to initiate the steps and guide her into a walk.  It is my job to take care of her and not back her into another couple or into the wall.  I have to step into her space with enough intention in order for her to move out of the way.  I have to make her feel and not think.

And so how did all this tapping into male energy work out for me?

What I had on my hands for the evening was a giggling, hesitant, apologetic young woman stepping all over my suede shoes.

I really missed my feminine role as follower.  No apologies.

Copyright © 2012  Nancy Green