On 3rd October last year I took my first tango lesson in Southampton, England. I ‘danced’ my first tango in the practica afterwards and my life changed for ever. Back then I lived in the English countryside, gardened a lot and could only speak one language. Now I live in a 10th floor studio looking out over Buenos Aires skyscrapers, haven’t bought any plants for the balcony yet, and could probably have a bash at writing this post in Spanish.
I can remember that lesson as if it was yesterday: I didn’t have any dance shoes, and the only shoes I owned with smooth soles were cowboy boots – so I wore them; I struggled to walk backwards without toppling over; I longed to be able to dance like the guys in the advanced class. The longing got me to Buenos Aires and by a degree of chance – I like to think of it as good fortune – into the tango embrace of my teacher Ariel. We have been dancing together for seven months now, three times a week and today we danced for my camera yet again. I wanted to record my dancing, at the one year mark.
Video days are never easy. Today the weather was not kind. I got soaked on the way. My friends, with the camera, couldn’t find a taxi and so arrived at the moment when we were ending the class. I managed to negotiate with the receptionist for fifteen more minutes in the room, but we were all a bit flustered. Perhaps this was a good thing. My stomach had let go of its butterflies half an hour before, my mind was no longer expecting to be filmed, there was no time to get nervous. We just danced.
There are two new videos here. The first is of a choreographed tango, ‘La Cumparsita’. The second is an improvised tango. You decide for yourselves how I am doing ‘one year on’. And just incase you want to check if I have made progress I am going to include links back to the posts I wrote and the videos we made at 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 16 weeks.
The essence of tango for me is in the feeling in the moment that I dance, in the connection with my partner, in the joy of my spirit’s expression. The thrilling highs and possibly the most beautiful dancing come when I least expect them. Perhaps you will not ever see my greatest moments in any of my videos. Having a camera in the room steals something from my soul. But I make the videos as a diary of my adventure: so that I can watch how I change; to inspire and motivate me to keep learning; because it is fun. I share the videos with you so that you can see what is it possible for an average person to achieve over time.
So these mark seven months in BA, and one year dancing. Enjoy!
And my past tangos in words and on film…
Update: And I’ve got the winning feeling today because England have just managed to pull a victory out of the bag against Australia in the Rugby Mundial! I loved this comment on the BBC Commentary at 78 minutes with two minutes to go…
78 mins: “Chorus after chorus of Swing Low rings out – mainly to stop everyone from vomiting with nerves.”
BBC Sport’s Tom Fordyce in Marseille
England survive to fight another day! ROCK ON!
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