There are always going to be people who you just can’t dance with, however hard the two of you try. My ‘Uncomfortable’ partner is someone who circulates at the same milongas and classes as me. He dances fast (like me!) and unfortunately, when we dance together we seem to feed off each other and get faster and faster until neither of us can dance sensibly or well. He obviously finds this quite annoying and whenever we dance, he tells me in no uncertain terms that I ‘dance too fast’ and ‘don’t wait sufficiently for cues’ from him; and ‘I react too quickly which means he can’t communicate moves to me’ etc, etc. It is frustrating for both of us, and so by an unacknowledged agreement we don’t dance together socially until last week’s workshop.
The class was over and awkwardly, it ended up that the two of us were the only ones not dancing and therefore because of our English social sensibilities, he asked me to dance. The first tango was fast but I didn’t trip which relieved me. At the end, he said as I’ve grown to expect ‘You’re dancing too fast. You need to wait for me. You don’t give me time to finish my moves before you react’. Harsh but I went with it and deliberately tried to ‘ground’ myself and slow down my moves for the next tango. This time when the music ended, he looked at me and said ‘I’m going to say it again you still move too fast’. I grimaced and blushed at the same time. Now here comes the HUMILIATING part! Just as I was trying to stammer some kind of explanation, he tapped the shoulder of the girl in the couple next to us and said to me ‘Shall we switch partners?’ and then led her off into the next dance. Eyes wide open with shock, I turned to the girl’s former partner who gamely went along with it – I mean there wasn’t much else we could do unless we stood there like two rejected lemons.
In hindsight, I think my former partner and this girl obviously both felt they were struggling with their partners (ie: me and my new partner) and had signalled for help from each other. As I danced with him, I discovered that my new partner was a Complete Beginner and admittedly this made it quite hard to dance with him but he was infinitely better than my ‘Uncomfortable’ (now renamed ‘Never-To-Be-Again’) partner!