How many steps do you really know?   Leave a comment

For those who have been paying attention, I just went through a major life adjustment experience involving a little wire fed through the groin, carrying a micro roto rooter snake and a microscopic size wire mesh to the congested coronary arteries just around the corner from the heart.The effects have been borderline miraculous. Among the newly found wonders, is the ability to have a clear mind and a refurbished memory. Of course, there are things one remembers no matter what, but others vanish as if they never existed, so it is a thrill to have a moment of remembrance courtesy of a long forgotten disc buried somewhere in the man’s cave. One thing led to another, and watching the video reminded me about something I’ll never forget but I’ve always been reluctant to repeat.

In 1997, on the last day of our month long intense personal sessions with Mingo Pugliese in Buenos Aires, the veteran sage told me, “At this moment, you have more power of improvisation than Miguel Zotto.” Say what? It took years of processing and putting into context the wealth of knowledge we had acquired, to understand the profound meaning of what he had said. While the greatest professionals rehearse and rehearse to perfect what they sell to an audience, the one who masters the concepts of the structure of the tango and understands the distinctive yet complementary roles of the man and the woman, has the ability to create at will, free from choreography constrains, driven by an unlimited power of improvisation.

As the years went by and we developed a unique methodology to explain the structure of the dance, and use it as an intelligent framework to teach into the brain rather than the eyes of the learners, we understood the difference between how many steps one may know, and how many steps one is capable of executing. That difference is improvisation, the ability to dance in the spur of the moment. I don’t know how many steps I know, but I can dance an unlimited number of them.

I have now danced more in the last two and a half months than in the last two and a half years. I have been feeling stronger and stronger with every tanda, and we have lost the fear of dancing in front of others. We have been building on incorporating many of the highly technical moves we used to teach for fun and inspiration. As a matter of fact, a lot of our greatest dancing moments have taken place in front of a group of dedicated group of learners after a grueling weekend of lessons. Maybe is because the content of the lessons are still fresh, maybe is because we just love to unwind while everybody is trying to catch their breath.

Dancing to Remembranzas at the end of a long weekend of lessons, June 18, 2006

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Posted August 5, 2010 by Alberto & Valorie in ON THE ROAD

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