one day at a time

day 73: dragons won’t eat this

dragons wont eat this © Verena Fischer 2011

dragons won't eat this © Verena Fischer 2011

In almost every tango scene there is a leader with the nickname “Terminator”. Sometimes there are even two or three of the kind. It’s hard to pinpoint whether the nickname specifies a certain quality of that person that is common to every “Terminator” or whether it’s a random coincidence that other people see the person’s dancing as Terminator-like. I personally think there is some common ground:

  • He has been dancing for a long time, but he has not improved beyond being a beginner. He does not go to lessons anymore and nobody really knows whether he actually ever took any lessons at all, although he seems to know many figures. Unfortunately almost none of them work, because he is lacking the basics. It’s as if he knows tango in theory, but not in practice.
  • He uses force. If the follower doesn’t do what he intends he forces the movement on her by pulling and pushing forcefully, usually in the wrong direction for what he intends to do. You can sometimes even spot a follower trapped in a tanda with such a leader by the way of her facial expression while they are dancing and the way she stretches her back and rubs her shoulders between tangos.
  • He walks the perimeter like a soldier. Instead of waiting and watching the followers dance he does not actually choose who to dance with. He just walks the border of the dance floor and dances with any follower who is unfortunate enough not to know what she’s dealing with.
  • He preys on beginners. Normally beginners can have a hard time getting asked to dance at a milonga, because most dancers stick to the people they know unless they’re travelling. Not when it comes to the Terminator though. Beginners don’t turn him down, so he sticks with them. This might actually be part of the reason why he doesn’t improve anymore.


The terminators are a curious species and it’s somewhat surprising that they stick with it. After all it seems impossible to imagine that they actually have fun at a milonga.

On some level it’s psychologically almost understandable though: It’s rather strange to have your flawed basics pointed out to you after years of dancing. At a milonga it hardly happens, because hopefully people are there to dance and not to criticise. I’m quick to just leave a leader in the middle of the dance floor if he thinks he has the right to be impolite. And it’s very impolite to criticise if you’re not asked your opinion. However, developing bad habits is also very easy, mostly easier than they are to get rid of again. Everyone who doesn’t go to lessons or moderated practicas regularly probably isn’t aware that he has a few of those. Yesterday I went to one of those practicas at Nou Mitte here in Berlin and I was glad to have two of those bad habits pointed out to me. It gives me something to work on at a time when I’m hardly able to motivate myself to do anything. Maybe I should make it a habit to work on my dancing whenever I feel without motivation. Then it at least would have some purpose to feel that way.

The picture is of a dragon fruit. I hadn’t tried them before and quite liked it.


4 responses

  1. Terminators never stop, they never give up, they just keep going until they kill someone surnamed Connor, and their batteries last for hundreds of years. Did you not see the Terminator tango in True Lies?
    Do they have durian in Berlin? Try that next.

    October 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

  2. Gorgeous photograph with a lovely composition. And hope you stay motivated to keep working on your dancing!

    October 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  3. Beautiful fruit! Have never tasted it either.

    October 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

  4. Kelsi

    I love the thin fuschia line between the inside and the peel.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:16 am

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