Polly's Tango Talk

August 26, 2015

Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid…

If you decided to try tango because someone told you it would be easy, “just like walking” you know by now they lied, right?
What they should have said is, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.” 
A few things they didn’t tell us and we don’t tell others, because…well…why spoil the surprise?
Tango will mess with your mind, bat your ego around like a whiffle ball and make you feel like your IQ is shrinking. What starts out as “just a dance” will seep into every crevice of your cranium and on some days will be downright toxic. Moves that look simple will make your head spin, your brain explode and you’ll wonder why your usual quickness isn’t kicking in.
Partners will blame you when things go awry, and your self esteem will disappear when your feet and body won’t do what you beg them to. You’ll spend hours working on some tiny detail you think couldn’t possibly make a difference, and when you finally get it, partners will rave about how much you’ve improved. Teachers will correct every micro-move and watching yourself on video will make you cringe. You’ll learn one way of doing something from one instructor, exactly the opposite from another, and you’ll need to remember which way to do it in which class. Fellow Tangoids will speak of magical moments with partners you shared a nine-minute nightmare with.
If you break up with someone you’ve shared pillows and passwords with, you may find yourself negotiating which milongas each of you will and will not attend. A tango-Pre-Nup would not have been out of line. There will be times when you can’t wait to get to a milonga and times when you can’t wait to leave because there’s been a disconnect between you and your cerebellum. Some partners will grip your hand so tight it may take a trip to the ER to restore your pulse. When you finally work up the courage to ask a certain someone to dance, they might decline and two minutes later bound on to the floor with some bimbo. Or when the woman of your dreams is finally available, someone walks between you, catches her eye and leaves you staring into space.
Tangoids are non-conformists, so far be it from us to impose restrictions. However, there is an Encyclopedia of Etiquette. For example, saying “Thank you” at the wrong time is a felony and the person you say it to will never speak to you again. You’ll spend more money, time and energy than you ever intended on clothing, shoes, lessons, videos, CDs, DVDs, festivals, and couples counseling. You’ll give up trying to explain why you love a dance that’s smarter than you are but no one’s listening anymore anyway.
So what’s the deal? Are we masochistic? Or are we deeply attracted to something that challenges the daylights out of us and then rewards us in ways we never dreamed possible? Let’s go with that.
From “Tango and Life”

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