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Tangled up in tango

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CO-ORDINATIOn Balancing and flexibility are two key issues
CO-ORDINATIOn Balancing and flexibility are two key issues

NIKHIL VARMA realises that he doesn’t have even a tiny dose of grace to get anywhere close to Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango is a dance form that originated in Latin America and spread across the world. Over the years, it has evolved in various regions across the planet. The instructor at the Argentine Tango class at the Alliance Francaise says: “It is often confused with ballroom dancing, but is very different.

This dance is performed in an embrace that can vary from very open to very close. Closer embraces are associated with the more traditional styles.

It is a dance form that has adapted many new styles over the years from other forms.”

The dance routine starts soon and the instructor provides a run down on the steps expected. She says: “It depends on the arm and leg co-ordination. You must be flexible. In order to be a good performer, you need to balance well and should be able to transfer your body weight from one leg to another gracefully.”

Balancing and flexibility are two issues that my body seldom is able to grapple with, yet I decide to take the plunge and try the routine.

The instructor asks the class to raise their hands up, in a dance like motion and move towards the left and then towards the right.

The rest of the classes manage to do the routine, moving like a well-oiled machinery unit towards the left, their feet moving in tandem with the rest of their movements, even as I clumsily try to get a move, imagining myself leading an imaginary partner through the steps and failing miserably in my attempts. The instructor says: “You will need three to four sessions before you get used to the steps.”

She adds, “Flexibility and maintaining balance is vital in this routine. It is difficult initially for men, since they are supposed to lead their partner in the routine.

With practice, you will be able to execute these steps easily.”

She adds, “This dance form depends a great deal on improvisation as well, though certain steps have codified over the years to instruct dancers.

I decide to give up on my clumsy attempts at picking up the dance moves and watch the class move with silken grace. Their coordination leaves me feeling ashamed at my own inability to manoeuvre my body.

I slip out soon, devising ways to enhance the mobility of my body and turn into a lean, mean tango machine!

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