Lucky Beginners

or "Help! My Wife has Booked a Tango Holiday for Me"


A Tango holiday in Italy ! Oh, how romantic, my friends had said, when I told them about our vacation plans for this year. A country house at Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Italian dolce vita, amore and so on.  And when we finally arrived at the Villa La Rogaia it was all just like how we had imagined it: a tranquil little paradise far away from hectic everyday life, gorgeous food prepared by Mamma Ornella, good company with a handful of couples from different countries, sunsets behind the rolling hills. So far so good.

But what about the Tango classes ?  I admit I was sceptical, indeed very sceptical. Then came the first lesson. I surely had not imagined it to be like that. Tango for me always has been Forward, Forward, Rok-king-Step, Back, Side, Close. I never got the rhythm and at weddings and other inevitable celebrations I was always standing on the dance floor like a log. My wife tries to lead then. In vain mostly. It is terribly embarrassing each time.

Now  I am here, meant to concentrate on my “axis” and I have no clue what that means. I am told to be aware where my weight is, and to lead a nonverbal dialogue with my wife and dance partner. Actually it is her fault, that we are here. She gave me the Tango holiday as a birthday present. So what could I do about it? Fact is: I like to dance. It is only, that I have no talent at all.

At the beginning of the lesson the teacher couple Annette and Wolfgang had us walk around in a circle, alone, without partner, clapping the beat for us. And it worked, but it is simple enough though. Walking!

Now we are standing in front of each other. I shift my weight from one foot to the other. Gently but clearly enough to make my wife feel it and join in. That is new for both of us. Not to learn a basic step by rote but feel what the partner is doing. To give and receive subtle signals. Now I step forward, still a little hesitant, but right on the beat. My wife joins in. I do not tread on her feet. A success ! Now another step and one more. Blimey why is it working now?

„Please stand straight! If you bend forwards or backwards the ladies will not feel what you propose to them.” Our Tango teacher pretends to say it for everybody, but I know she meant me, didn´t she?

Actually, the concept of “lead and follow” does not seem to exist here. We, the men, are supposed to invite the ladies, seduce them. They shall feel what we propose to them. And all of  that during the whole dance. A real challenge. I notice that I start to like it. I do not have to concentrate on steps, do not have to learn sequences by heart. My wife seems to like it too. At least she is not hissing instructions.

Whoops, now we did crash into each other. One moment we did not watch out. We look at each other dumbfound and then we start to laugh. I realize there is still a lot to do. Yet the first step is done.

In this week at La Rogaia we not only have learned the basics of Tango but also a new subtle way of “body talk”. We learnt that “it takes two to tango”. We laughed, we ate, in short we had a great time!

Does this sound interesting?

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