The Queen Stands Her Ground

by Nancy Green

“If you want me to be the king, you have to dance like the queen.”

I’ve heard this statement in various ways a few times now.  From teachers and leads alike.

The actual quote is from Carlos Gavito, an icon in the history of tango dancers and it goes like this:

“I say that any man who dances tango and doesn’t look at the woman as a queen, will never be king.”

I think what we have here is a chicken and egg situation.  Who was crowned first and does it matter anyway?  Without standing on ceremony, I will celebrate my own coronation by taking the first step.  And dance as the queen.

Metaphorically that is—for as we know, it is he who begins the dance.

The first time I heard about this king and queen stuff was from Daniel, kind, wise and professorial in a tweed sport jacket.  When dancing with him, I know that I am in good hands.

He explained that to dance like the queen meant that I had to use the floor and own it. One time in mid-dance, dancing as close as we do, while unable to see my feet, he sensed that my right foot was floating when it ought not to have been. This could cause me to be unintentionally off axis. And we could both lose our balance.

When I asked him how he knew of my foot placement or lack there-of, he said: “I know everything about your body.”

He told me that I was a good “follow”, though by not standing my ground, I would feel and appear somewhat passive.  He asked that I step with intention, dance as an equal participant and not as an object.

Well if that’s not a metaphor for how to be a woman in this world, I don’t know what is.

Although I’ve been on the planet for plenty of years and have lived in the same home for thirty-three of them (some may call it stability though an ex-boyfriend called it a rut), there are times when I felt as if my feet were not solidly planted on the earth.  And that I had little claim to be here.  Somewhat invisible.

But…I am delighted to report that changes are afoot and I am experiencing a “transfer of weight” both on and off the dance floor.

Whether it’s the freedom of being in my fifties or dancing Argentine tango (almost every night!), I am just now realizing that invisibility is never a factor…when I am visible to myself.

And as irony would have it, since I’ve been stepping and stepping out with intention, I have become quite visible.

My posture has changed.  I  smile and laugh more.  And after seeing Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on what body language reveals, I no longer fold my arms over my chest.  For they alone are worth revealing.

Things are coming more easily.  New business opportunities have appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

On more than one occasion men have approached me and said that I project a wonderful energy.  One on the dance floor, one in the airport (who wants fly me to Buenos Aires to meet him at the Teatro Colón) and one at my mother’s 80th birthday party!

And of course all of this is to the soundtrack of gorgeous tango music.  The kind of music that makes even the General Pulaski Skyway over Jersey City more poetic.

And so with a song in my heart and a traspié in my step, I now know one thing for sure.  It’s good to be the queen.

Copyright © 2013  Nancy Green