Sunday, 7 November 2010


There is a tanguero who I meet quite regularly in class but rarely see at a milonga. In class, he generally gets the basics of the move first time. If I’m fortunate enough to be with him at the start, I know I’m in good hands and we can work on ironing out the difficulties straightaway.

The other night I saw him at a milonga and he asked me to dance. I was pleased and expected a pleasant tanda. Unfortunately, I’ve now realised that although this tanguero is good at steps and can easily navigate a studio with 8 couples – take him to a full size dance floor, add a lot of dancers (some of which will inevitably be erratic) and suddenly he goes to pieces. As we ‘bounced’ (ouch!) around the dance floor, I thought ‘Is this the same guy?’ He led steps that we had done in class admirably well, until ‘Bang’ – there goes another couple, that ‘I’ have now hit with my back.

I finally gave up when he stopped quite abruptly in the line of dance and started leading me into Americano with the free leg going forwards and back. One of those erratic couples careered into us and I felt my heel scrape down her ankle! Now it wasn’t entirely our fault (they were heading towards us at speed) but instantly my partner announced that they were in the wrong. As the girl ‘limped’ off the dancefloor, he said, ‘The floorcraft is not great tonight is it?’ and kept on dancing. Maybe not, but what about the limping girl?, I thought. As the last beats ended, I left him to go and apologise to the girl who thankfully did not bite off my head .

So now I know. Keep him in a classroom, avoid him on the dance floor.


  1. I think most teachers are so focused on entertaining their students with technique and steps that they forget to teach navigation (i.e. real world application of the content they are teaching). It's a real shame.

  2. A classic case of failed education... :-)

  3. A tango class is of no use if it does not prepare students for real dancing in a milonga. From your description of people's behavior, it looks like there must be lots of ineffective classes in your area. My sympathy.

  4. It's funny how that happens, isn't it - someone who genuinely thinks it's important, but hasn't actually grasped the principles involved. Keep an eye on him - sometimes they suddenly go "Oh!" and fix whatever it was.