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Rusty Tango Friday, 08 January 2016 print

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It’s that time of year again. After the excesses of the festive period,there ’ll be many of you out there thinking of putting on your tango shoes again and seeing how your first few steps feel.

A little wobbly perhaps?

We have only given two classes so far this year and already two different students have come up to me and said just about the same thing: that they were nervous about coming to class that day. And that they they were sure they would have forgotten absolutely everything.

And maybe that is how they felt as they started the class. But watching them from the outside, they looked fine! Their footwork was polished as it had been before Christmas, and when I led them, their following felt light and responsive. Perhaps they felt they were out of practice, but it wasn’t something that their partners or a spectator would have necessarily picked up on.

And I’ve had students come back to class after a much longer period than just a few weeks and to their relief also find that they haven’t lost everything. Yes, they feel rusty to begin with. And perhaps a little apprehensive. But I always tell them that it is only a very thin layer of rust and that they’ll have shaken it off by the end of the class.

The body is a miraculous thing. It remembers so much more than we often give it credit for. I’ve come across students who come back after taking several years’ break and find they can still dance after a few refresher classes.

And I’ve even seen Beginners who danced another form of dance as a child (and never since), doing tango movements in a way particular to that other dance, their body somehow remembering something from the dim and distant past.

Of course, if you haven’t danced for a while, it may be that your muscle strength and suppleness have diminished. But it has a much less dramatic effect in a relatively gentle dance like salon tango than in something more physically demanding like ballet. And in my experience it is quicker to recuperate lost strength and suppleness than build it up for the first time. In other words, your past dedication was not in vain!

So don’t sit at home worrying about your bambi legs, head down to class, brush off the rust and let the dancing begin!

Super User

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