Monday, 28 September 2009

The moment my brain left me

I’ve been feeling pretty confident within myself and my dancing and was looking forwards to my Saturday night milonga. It’s quite a large event and so although I know lots of people by sight, the night tends to be clusters of people scattered around the dance floor. I had been dancing well and was just taking a small break when suddenly my friend comically raised her eyebrows and gestured for me to turn around. Behind us was one of the Brilliant Dancers. He has always been pleasant enough to me and I’d danced with him once before when I had been quite new but he had never asked me since.

I nervously swallowed the cake I was eating (why now of all times was I eating?!) and smiled at him as he asked me to dance. I got up and followed him to the dance floor all the time conscious of my friends beaming at me. I was thrilled but then as we started dancing I got nervous and then these nerves grew and then suddenly it was no longer Golondrina on the dance floor but a ball of nerves and hundreds of questions and doubts – why had he asked me to dance? Was I finally good enough? What did that mean? God, I hope I can follow him after all this. What if he throws in a tricky move? — and that was it. I had lost it. After what felt like the longest tanda ever, he returned me to seat and I collapsed, drained.

My friends have assured me it was not as bad as I'm making out but I can honestly write here how gutting the experience has been. Why did all of my tango knowledge leave me at that precise moment? I guess the real test will be to see if he ever asks to dance again. Fingers crossed!


  1. I have so been there! At a milonga a few weeks ago, I suddenly got to dance with someone I had been talking to for ages, a very advanced dancer, and I forgot everything! The whole time I was thinking, 'I'm not on the music. I didn't collect me feet. OMG I just missed a cross lead!?! My dancing is crap!' I think I was literally holding my breath the whole time. ugh...

    The good news is, from what I've heard, they do it too. I've heard stories like, 'oh I asked this follower I didn't know to dance - and it turned out she was an out of town teacher. Suddenly I forgot how to lead ochos etc etc. It happens to them too. ;)

  2. That's just what happens. There's nothing you can do about it, it's part of the process. I always had a version of that when I used to dance with my first teacher. The way I looked at it was, anything I can still deliver in that situation is something I have truly mastered.

  3. It happens to everybody. Don't blame yourself. "Let go and just enjoy" is probably the hardest thing to learn, but yes, one can learn that. You get better at it overtime.

  4. Seems as if we have all been there at some point, especially in the beginning. Don't worry, in a couple of more years, you will wonder what all the fuss was about and may realise that who you think is a brilliant dancer now may not be so brilliant in the future for many reasons.

  5. Ohhh yeah. I had a similar experience recently. The dancer who asked me was really just a regular guy, a pretty nice dancer, but for some reason I got horribly nervous. I thought I was over this. I was so shakey that he commented on it, asking if I was "O.K." God I was soooo embarassed and I feel like a fool. Oh well, keepin on. Does anyone else think that tangueras might just be a little high-strung.?