After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Waiting is normal here in Argentina. The Argentinian people have so much patience. (My first Waiting post was about waiting in lines to get things done.)
But people who want to dance tango also need a lot of patience, and to wait. There are no short cuts. You have to put in your time.
Tango is the dancer's dance, remember? It's the most difficult of all the social partner dances. In the olden days, men would practice with their mothers and sisters just walking for maybe two years before they ever went to a milonga.
Nowadays, dancers, especially from other countries, don't want to wait. They want to dance tango Right Now Right Now. And so try to learn a hundred steps in huge group classes and expect to dance right away all night long at a milonga. Impatience as adults comes naturally to norteamericanos and europeos.
My son Jason used to dance ballet professionally. A graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts, he was a principal dancer with the Hartford Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet, and before I lived in Buenos Aires, danced in the Teatro Colon. His teacher, Tatiana Riaboushinka Lichine, one of the famous Baby Ballerinas of the '30's, used to cry at him: Rome wasn't built in a day! Because even as a teenager, he wanted to soar before he could jump. She knew that he had to put in his time.
Tango too needs time--time to understand, to feel, to express, to hear, to communicate, to learn grace and elegance. It just isn't possible overnight, no matter how many Tango Weeks and Tango Festivals you attend.
When Ruben and I take our foreign students to their first milongas here in Buenos Aires, they are impatient to dance. They see all the tango around them and want to be a part of it. But in the milongas, they have to put in their time. And wait. Wait and watch until people get to know them and how they dance. Wait until they learn the codigos of tango and milonga etiquette. Wait until the tango takes them.
And that takes time. Tango is worth waiting for.