"The Story of My First Tango Couple"
by Chris Lynam
So we prepared all the necessary survival material like navigating on a crowded floor, adjusting to different tempos, and great patterns to get out of a traffic jam - stuff like that.
Dinner Dance #1
They attend the Dinner Dance, and the following week I am waiting to hear their full report. Their first words were a little surprising, to say the least.
"We need to learn some Tango!"
Turns out that the band played a single Tango in their set, but here's the catch - no one was dancing. They were able to blend in during the Swing and Foxtrot music with the other social dancers, but Tango provided a little competitive advantage they wanted to capitalize on - this was Silicon Valley after all.
So they decide to add Tango to their dance program. After a couple of tango lessons they are able to get around the floor, change direction, and even execute a Corte - which, as part of our strategy, was the move they'd do as their grand finale.
Dinner Dance #2
They head off to Dinner Dance number two, but this time with the Tango dancing in their back pocket. Just as before, I look forward to receiving a full report from them on their following lesson. They arrived, and they were beaming.
"We are the 'Tango Couple'!"
The plan worked to perfection. The band played their one Tango, and while everyone else sat down, this pair of beginning social dancers stayed on the dance floor. They danced their basics, finished with their Corte, and by the end of the evening, other dancers were referring to them as "The Tango Couple".
Dinner Dance #3
The plan was coming together perfectly, but there was another dance coming up, and now they had a reputation to uphold. So we focused on refinement. We borrowed the posture of the Waltz to convey confidence. We developed sharper movements with patterns like the Promenade Left Turn, and finished it off with a new and improved Corte.
After the third Dinner Dance they walked in the studio with the news that became a defining moment in my career as a teacher.
"So everyone recognized us. They said 'look, here comes the Tango couple', and we met a lot of people. When we danced, people clapped for us, but that's not the best part...."
Not the best part?
"... the best part was that for the first time, the band played two Tangos at the Dinner Dance."
Tango is a dance that few people consider to be practical, and that's what makes it so special. It's dramatic, extravagant, and the furthest departure from the familiarity of your comfort zone. Here's the thing - that's why people love it so much. It allows you to play a role, and makes the onlookers your audience. It doesn't need to be perfect, you don't need to be born in South America, and it doesn't mean that you need to sacrifice any shred of your current dance program.
Who knows? Maybe you could be the next Tango Couple.
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