My first recollection of the tango is the dance of Morticia and Gomez. Arms extended, heads thrown back and Gomez with a rose between his teeth. Or was it Lurch with the rose?
After 5 months of participating and observing, I have yet to see a lead with a rose in his teeth.
The move that typifies or at least intrigues the most is the gancho or “hook.” The gancho is an embellishment where the follower flexes and swings her free leg and sharply hooks and releases her knee around her partner’s supporting leg. Inside or outside his knee, high or low on his thigh. Very sexy.
Last week in Women’s Technique class, the dance floor was divided in half by a gauzy curtain so that a Men’s Technique class could be taught simultaneously.
Although this gender segregation was for the purposes of learning our individual lead and follow roles, it felt suspiciously like religious tradition. An Orthodox synagogue or the separation of bride and groom before the wedding.
And the funny part is, what we were learning separately, that we would soon enough do together (in public) was so sexy and intimate. When the scrim was pulled back and we were revealed to each other…the awkwardness was palpable. We approached each other with the shyness of fictional newlyweds.
That lasted but for a few seconds.
Let the ganchos begin!
“Ladies, spread your legs so that the men can step in between them. Men, hold her close and pivot so that you are thigh to thigh. And as you are turning, her leg will naturally wrap around the inside of yours. Hook and release.”
Argentine tango: Not for the faint of heart, shy persons or the orthodox.
Copyright © 2012 Nancy Green