There are no mistakes in the Tango!

There are no mistakes in the Tango!

After: “The man leads and the woman follows!”… “There are no mistakes in the Tango!” must be the next most often heard statements in Tango circles.

What does this actually mean?

Well… the Tango is the man’s creation (in co-operation with his lady… of course)… and since “men never make mistakes”… that leaves us with the women…

Now, if he is a charming gent… and something goes wrong during the Tango… (and since he never makes mistakes) … when she goes “Oops” or apologises – he will say “There are no mistakes in the Tango!”

Is it just a nice way for a guy to make a woman feel good when she is stumbling around all over his toes…? Or is it a “get-out-of-jail-free-card” he likes to play to deny his ineptitude on the dance floor?

For me, the truth is this: the only mistakes a woman can make are – one: to neglect to keep her posture and therefore get her toes out from under her man’s feet… or, two: try to correct what she thinks is a mistake. That’s the man’s job… he leads! So… he leads the so called “corrections”. If you find yourself stepping with the “wrong” foot… don’t double-up to correct it… it’s the man’s responsibility to correct the feet!

Once I was making a soup at my girlfriend’s house… after tasting it, I felt it needed more salt. I couldn’t find where she had put the salt, so I popped out to go buy some. While I was out she came home and tasted the soup… she too felt it needed more salt… and - knowing where the salt was hidden - she fetched it and added more salt.

When I got home a few minutes later, with the salt I had just bought, I immediately added more salt to my soup. Needless to say… the soup was way too salty and we ended up throwing it away.

Ladies, don't try to correct what you think are mistakes in his Tango… don’t add salt to his soup… in fact, ladies, you shouldn’t be thinking at all. You should just be feeling!

And the man…? What mistakes does he make?

Well, gents, if you can’t get her to do what it is you want her to do… then your lead is wrong or too weak, or you are not aware of your woman – you have not contained her … and that’s the only mistake you can make.

If you have tried to lead her into a right Giro a couple of times… and she doesn’t do just that – a Giro to the right…. Then you have not led the Giro properly… and that’s your mistake. But in truth it’s not a mistake… all it means is that you have not worked out exactly how to lead this woman into a right Giro yet!

For me, even when a woman is not able to follow my lead so well and does something completely unexpected… I don’t see it as a “mistake”… I see it as the lady creating an unforeseen situation that I now need to lead us out of. And in my experience this is how new steps are discovered. Many of the most interesting steps I now like to put into my Tango, were “mistakes” my partner and I made together and so came up with something new. They don’t feel like “mistakes” anymore!

Never stop dancing… even when it feels like he is tying you in knots… even when you have stepped on her toes a hundred times… don’t stop dancing! The real skill of the dancers lies in their ability to keep dancing into and out of the difficult and unexpected situations. It’s what makes the Tango exciting and challenging. These unpredictable situations add to the spontaneity and drama of the Tango. They give the Tango a whole new dimension. Like Al Pacino said in that movie - 'Scent of a Woman' - "There are no mistakes in the Tango, Julia. That's the beauty of it. You Tango up... you Tango down... and if you get all tangled up... you just Tango On!"

For me, however, more annoying - is the apologies.

Let’s look at it this way… most people will agree that confidence is very sexy. In fact some might even say that confidence laced with a hint of arrogance is very sexy. And for me that is the attitude one should project in the Tango… confidence with a hint of arrogance… ‘cause that’s sexy!

When your partner keeps apologising, for what she feels are mistakes she is making, she reveals a lack of confidence… but more than that… if she is thinking that she is making mistakes, then she can’t be enjoying the dance that much. She’s probably nervous and tense… and most often starts trying to anticipate the next step… making it harder to lead her. Can you see how our Tango is deteriorating…?

I believe one should go on to the dance floor with the confident, and even arrogant, conviction that “I do not make mistakes!” … and so never apologise and never, never stop dancing.

Just this little affirmation: “I do not make mistakes!” will give you the right attitude… the right amount of confidence and arrogance… to make your Tango look and feel better.

So… next time you are dancing with me and you hear me say “There are no mistakes in the Tango!” it’s not because I’m being charming and trying to make you feel good about all the mistakes you’re making… No! It’s probably because you have just apologised or gone “oops!”, and I’m just reminding you of the attitude and confidence required to enjoy a good Tango!