day 89: detail
Last night I went to tango really late. The subway wasn’t running anymore and I had chosen to take the bike as to not wait for half an hour for the night bus. The streets were empty, the air was crisp and it was a bit chilly if you didn’t cycle fast. I arrived around 1am at Clärchens Ballhaus, sat down, put my tango shoes on and started looking around. The usual chaos on the dance floor had disappeared by this hour and the floor was filled with good dancers. Without too much care I looked up to see whether I could find someone to dance with and … someone I actually didn’t want to dance with had approached and was looking right at me. What to do? For a split second I had the chance to retreat, but my reaction was too slow, he already asked me verbally whether I’d like to dance. I hesitated. Should I go with my instinct and decline? Or should I be polite and dance a few tangos? I decided to be polite since I had danced with this man before and I was a bit curious because I couldn’t quite remember why I didn’t like dancing with him.
My curiosity only got me a bumpy start into the evening. I had to accept three tangos where he repeated two moves that I really disliked over and over. One was a gancho with not enough space and the other was something that hopefully doesn’t have a name and isn’t taught by anyone, because it feels utterly silly. Apparently there was also no change to his dancing since we last danced, at least 4 months ago, because these two moves brought back the memory of another night at Clärchens. Back then I also thought after only one tango with the same leader just at the beginning of the evening that sneaking up to someone who just arrived speaks of desperation. I couldn’t manage to be polite for an entire tanda, because I wasn’t enjoying it at all. I was so wishing for the cortina to play, but when it didn’t come I thanked him after 3 tangos glad that Berlin is not so strict about these rules. Well, lesson learned, next time I will insist on having a drink first.
What strikes me though is that I’m much more patient with beginners than with someone like this. It is obvious that he has danced for years, but that he has been stuck in his dancing for most of this time. In this case it’s not bad basics, it’s bad taste in figures which are on top of things not properly mastered. However, most importantly it has to do with lack of musicality and an embrace that seems like he doesn’t even want to connect. It’s about getting by and therefore not striving anymore. It’s about missing the point. Whatever you do, dancing, photography, art, music, don’t settle with just getting by. At least try to give it your best shot. What’s the point of doing things in such a half-hearted fashion?
This picture was a bit of a struggle by the way. It was an attempt at combining different textures. I’m not sure I’m entirely happy with it, but that’s to be expected when you’re experimenting like this. The texture on the left is the material of my tango shoes. You can see the reflection of the scarf on the right in the top part of the heel. I love these shoes more than ever, now that they actually fit well.