I`m not sure whether the furore around Strictly Come Dancing in the UK had gone to my head when I added this challenge to my list. Because why else would I think it was a good idea? I`m the most un-coordinated person ever. I don`t play any sport and, despite travelling a fair amount in South America, I`ve never been able to pick up the steps for salsa. Even after three years of yoga classes, I can barely managed to stand on one leg without wobbling. But somehow dancing a tango made it onto the 30b430 list and, in a way, it’s good that it did as I would definitely have chickened out of doing it otherwise.
Luckily I had a willing group of friends who were also keen to experience an important part of Argentinian culture and so we headed to a kind of community centre which we were assured was the best place to learn. As soon as we arrived at the place I began to worry when we saw a diagram outside which explained the tango steps. It all looked very complicated, with seven steps needed to complete each move.
We’d arrived at the end of a salsa lesson, where everybody taking part looked anything but ‘beginner’ standard and the nerves kicked in as we wondered what we’d let ourselves in for. But before we could change our minds and run for the door, the class began. We started off by watching some of the teachers dance and it was amazing to see the complete effortlessness with which they moved across the floor. Tango is so different to salsa, because it is very poised and controlled, and it is such a beautiful dance to watch.
|Here’s how it should look…|
We were then divided into groups and, much to our relief, there was an absolute beginners class, which we joined along with lots of other nervous looking people. The men stood on one side and the women on the other while we were shown the seven steps required for each move. The teachers were lovely and went through everything very slowly so that when it came to trying it out with a partner I think we were all a bit shocked that it felt as though we vaguely knew what we were doing.
|…and here’s the reality.|
One of the reasons why I`m so bad at salsa is because everything happens so fast. There’s so much moving backwards and forwards and spinning around that most of the time my feet can’t keep up with what my brain wants them to do. So I actually enjoyed dancing the tango because everything is so controlled and you move across the floor more slowly which gives you time to think about what you are doing.
Don’t get me wrong – there was obviously a lot of standing on each other’s feet and bumping into other people – but by the end of the lesson we felt as though we at least had managed to master the basics. Then the music started and people of all ages and abilities took to the dance floor. It was really nice to be dancing among other couples, although we quickly learned that our major downfall was that we didn’t possess any of the steps needed to stop us bumping into people. So while the locals stood still and did some fancy footwork until a space opened up behind them on the dance floor, we had to stand awkwardly and wait.
However it was a brilliant evening and I’d love to have another go at dancing the tango, although I don’t think I’ll be getting called up for Strictly anytime soon…
|#6 Done and dusted.|