Fighting the Tangorrista
“I am, uh, shy, but I am, uh…willing.”
–Pepé Le Pew
Buenos Aires, October 24
It has been a week of Tango lessons. We meet at six in a small studio for an hour lesson. It is about a thirty minute walk from my Spanish school. It is good to take the walk because it clears my head after struggling through a one-on-one Spanish lesson for two hours.
We have a cute and small young profesora, Guadalupe, who teaches the class with great confidence. Coincidently, she will be performing in the same tango show I described in my recent post “Watching The Tango”. There is a lot to learn and a lot to remember, the basic seven-step box–or is it eight?– the backwards and forwards Ocho, the “sandwich,” the “rebound”, and there is simply walking.
“You must walk with confidence and lead the woman with a soft, yet firm EM-brace,” Guadalupe says, putting the emphasis on the first syllable, and when I dance with her it seems much easier. There is a woman from Winston-Salem who is on an extended holiday with her husband, and I find it quite easy and natural to do the steps with her as well. There is a young woman from Sweden who is quite nice but she is very large and clumsy in her high-heeled Tango shoes, and either I don’t lead well or she has trouble following me, because she often gets a little off balance and because she is on the big side, begins to topple over. There is a tall young woman from Aspen who obviously hates having me as a partner (we switch every song) and then there is Francie, a tall woman, a little bit on the big side, dressed in black with rose tattoos crawling up her legs. She has ice blue eyes and she particularly hates dancing with me. There is an Swiss man named Emilio who is at her level and she expects to dance with him and him alone.
On my second day of my lessons, she announced “Emilio better come today, because I am not doing box steps all day.” She could see that I was taken aback and she focused on me and said: “Well, I paid for this after all.” I do not usually come back with a quick retort, as in “you didn’t pay for a private lesson,” and I wasn’t clever at that moment, either.
I avoided her the entire lesson and danced with Winston-Salem, Sweden, and Guadalupe that day. From then on, I dubbed her “Tangorrista:” n.f.: a woman who only dances the angry Tango. I am thankful that she has now taken her last class.
From now on, I pledge to fight the Tangorristas here so that we never have to fight the Tangorristas back home.