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July 19, 2003


Tango and confidence

Last night had my first chance to Tango since returning from Europe, at our regular practica at the Singapore History Museum. Invariably, my regular partners commented that my leading had changed. And, to my delight, they all said that it was better, more assured and comfortable. I even had people who had travelled overseas come up to me afterwards, telling me how similar my dancing was to what they had seen there!

Well, enough of the self-praising. 😉

I did find it quite perplexing initially. After all, I was in Berlin for just under one week, where I experienced some genuine Tango. While I did attend a milonga each night, I would have danced only with about 2-3 girls each time. So, as you can see, to me it was a little difficult to comprehend if and how a change could have taken place, considering also that I did not have time to take classes. It seems to me that technically I could not have changed so dramatically?

One possible explanation is maybe due to the hot-house effect? That is, when placed in an environment where there are 1) more dancers 2) a lot more good dancers, one is, shall we say, encouraged to adapt to this environment appropriately? That is, the level of dancing of your peers has a overall positive uplifting effect.

However, since I have not developed new techniques*, perhaps a more likely reason is that, in the past, I simply have failed to properly express the techniques I have learnt? For example, at milongas in Berlin, initially it took a lot out of me to pluck up sufficient courage to ask girls to dance, and then subsequently have to endure my own insecurities while dancing, being quite uncertain of their expectations (on the dance floor) from a stranger. As I gradually overcame this personal barrier, I was able to dance with more confidence. Maybe it was this new-found confidence which came through in my dancing last night?

In addition, from time to time, I had plenty of problems dancing on the at times extremely crowded dance floors in Berlin. However, watching the more experienced dancers gave me some hints on how one may navigate through very messy ‘traffic’. All in all, it was a lesson of sorts, but in the important art of floorcraft!

Well, whatever it was, I sure hope this feeling which will continue to stay within me!

*Strictly speaking, the hold (the right arm embrace which I wrote about previously) and how I lead does seem to have undergone a transformation, so perhaps this can count as new techniques? Although, this particular ‘technique’ was not so much learnt, but somehow gained through feeling!?

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1 Comment
  1. Jul 21 2003

    Well, according to at least one “follower”, a Tango dance is romantic when it is danced smoothly, unbroken, and the “leader” is patient and able to dance to the music.

    Generally true?

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