The neighboring city up north has a reputation for really disastrous floor craft. Although I know some great leaders up there, I tend to avoid visiting. The poor navigation stresses me out and makes it hard to focus on enjoying the dance. I made an exception over the weekend, however, and I’m glad I did!
Not that I escaped unscathed. The room was crowded most of the night (and hot!). I had a women walk straight into me. I am still not sure how she did it, but the ball of her foot landed squarely on my toes, and her heel slammed into the top of my arch. (Ladies, when you make contact with something, do not put your heel down!) Her leader had the gall to give me a dirty look. Sir, I had both feet on the floor and was moving with the line of dance.
Later, I saw a couple trying to squeeze past my leader’s right side. Knowing that it was his blind spot and there was less than a body’s width of space there, I subtly moved my left arm down—which stuck my elbow out into that space as a signal for them to stop. They barreled right through. (Ok, I know, I probably should have quietly helped my leader see that they were there so he could navigate us away … but really …) These things continued to happen, but my leaders were gentlemen who did as much as possible to protect me.
And the dances were so, so good. At the end of one song, dancing with a lovely Argentine, he grinned ear-to-ear and said, “Essssssa!!” As if that were not enough, a dear friend who is the epitome of a calm, gentlemanly, close embrace leader gave me a couple lovely tandas. After one, he gushed at the little musical embellishments I threw in: “I could feel that you were doing something, and it was always perfect with the music!” He is always kind and complimentary, but as he said this I could feel his sincerity. I always find that meditative zone with him. And then there was the leader I danced with for the first time; he noted that all the followers from my community seem to be great dancers.
So in the end, I am glad I went. But it was a nice reminder that, even though sometimes it is refreshing to dance in other places, my community is quite lovely. It was also a nice reminder that tango is never just about the two people dancing together. You dance with that person, and the music, and the entire floor—and a floor that moves together is a beautiful thing.