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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Every tanguera's (not so secret) desire

Once upon a time at a milonga not so far away, began a tanda of intense Pugliese tangos.

She casually looked around, and to her delight he was waiting to catch her eye. As he took her in his arms, she felt that this might become one of those delicious tango experiences. His embrace told her he knew how to dance tango, including how to look after a partner (who would be dancing backwards into the unknown for the next 12 minutes). A wave of complete trust swept over her. After the first few bars, she felt herself surrendering to the emotion of the music. And so, they let themselves be transported by the magic that is tango.

But her bliss was to be short-lived ...

Towards the end of Gallo ciego, he took swift evasive action to prevent a collision when the couple in front of them abruptly starting moving backwards against the line of dance. "Never mind" she thought, "there's more good music to come."

Resuming the embrace, their smiles expressed an unspoken understanding that the rest of the tanda would be better. Yet having travelled just half-way around the floor, an elbow jabbed her in the ribs, as the couple alongside them unexpectedly executed a large dramatic figure, somewhat akin to an aggressive martial art move. He held her closer and checked she was OK, feeling guilty he had been powerless to protect her from such thoughtless behaviour.

Dismissing the disturbance, they continued to dance, and gradually re-immersed themselves in the beauty and challenge of Pugliese. Dancing as one, they lost sight of their day-to-day concerns, gradually making their way along the perimeter of the pista (dance-floor) in the line of dance - he, ever vigilant for "loose cannons". She felt herself entering that elusive tango trance.

That night, the DJ had been playing tandas consisting of 4 tangos. And too soon, they realised they had only one tango left to enjoy together. So for that very special piece which the DJ had reserved till last, as they danced, they bared their souls.

Thud! Completely shaken, they recovered and realised what had happened. Another couple had been sitting out the tanda, but had made a last minute decision to take advantage of that final Pugliese tango. Hastily making their way onto the pista, they had caused that ugly collision.

Apologies were profferred and accepted, but it was all too late. The spell was well and truly broken. As he escorted her back to her table, disappointed and deflated, they both silently reflected on what could have been.

Postscript: "Nothing can be done about these problems of the dance-floor. It comes with the territory. We just have to live with it." you may be thinking.
But just a minute - there is another way. Interested? Take a look at some of the strategies suggested by Tom Stermitz and published on

Postpostscript: Click here for a few of videos of normal people navigating around the pistas in Buenos Aires: Porteno y bailarin, El Beso & Nino bien
Enjoy your dancing,

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