Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm retired from the Tango

Just wanted to write a tidbit on my short-lived Tango career. I went with the American guy and two Dutch girls I met in Uruguay to a Moulin Rouge-looking tango club called La Catedral where they have a half-hour lesson before the club becomes a club. So I found myself on the dance floor in a circle with about 30 other people and two teachers in the middle in my Tango dress and sandals (one, I didn't bring my dancing shoes, two, I was already worried about falling on my face and didn't need the extra inches of a high heel). As I was having flashbacks of my failed hip-hop team tryouts in 7th grade, we started slowly doing some individual footwork going backwards and forwards, and then they made us get into partners. The one Dutch girl and I were both solo so we just grabbed the first two guys we saw and made them dance with us. Imagine my surprise when I found out my partner was the one and only Professor Javier, Tango teacher and extraordinnaire. He's not actually famous, but he was pretty good and I apologized in advance for being "muy mal". He didn't speak much English but he attempted to instruct me in my movements and was very patient. While I was cursing at myself under my breath he was saying, "Tranqilo, tranqilo" and telling me to breathe, which suddenly became very difficult under the circumstances. In a way he was a really good partner to have because I suppose he is used to uncoordinated beginners such as myself, but I also felt so much pressure to do well that I don't think I enjoyed it as much. We'd get into a bit of a rhythm and I'd think, "Yeah, I've got the hang of this!" but then since he was leading he'd try to take me somewhere else and I would either trip on my feet, step on his, or not budge at all. My theory is that playing center back in soccer forced me to be sort of an unmoveable being (one reason I usually remained standing after a collision and am still third all-time at Oregon in yellow cards, woo!) and I'm not really able to relinquish control of my body to someone else just to have them swing me around. I tried to explain this to him and he just kind of looked at me puzzled, as if thinking, "How can this gringa play soccer and not have good feet?"

Well, oh, well. I'm really happy I did it, but I was so relieved when it was over that when I went back to the couch to sit with my friends I downed a glass of bad wine and sprawled on the couch as if I had just finished playing a half of soccer. At midnight we all cheers'd for my birthday and exchanged the kisses on the cheek that I love and the Dutch girls bought me a piece of Tiramisu. It was very sweet...

We're having a barbeque tonight and then going out after. I'm not too sure where yet, but I can almost guarantee it won't be a tango club. Who knows, maybe I'll pull a Brett Favre or Michael Jordan and come out of retirement. Unlike them, however, I can't get much worse so it'd most likely be an improvement!

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