I have two left feet

Dance dependent, two left tango feet

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I have two left feet. I had been partner dancing for a number of years before I made my discovery. Strange to think that it took so long to realise. Even stranger then is the fact that I had become rather proficient at leading nicely connected, musical dances. All the time I was blissfully unaware. How weird that I had somehow managed to dance so well without understanding a simple truth; when I dance I have two left feet.


It took Argentine tango to bring this to my attention. Like many newcomers to tango I started gaining ability, improving my balance and I was even starting to enjoy some of the traditional music. But like most newcomers I was being held back by my failure to understand one simple thing. When I dance I have two left feet.


I remember my moment of epiphany vividly. I was having a private lesson with the Dutch tango maestro Bennie Bartels. As is the way with these affairs my mind was being bent to breaking point trying to motorize my imaginings. Attempting not to be flustered as I inflicted my brutal tango lead upon this ultra-refined expert. Why is it when you need your skills the most they seem to abandon you? If only when I danced I didn’t have two left feet.


Bennie must have noticed the steam coming from my ears or perhaps he feared for the safety of his toes, he said in his beautifully pronounced English that I had to ‘think his feet’ where I wanted them to go. I stopped thinking about my feet and his feet, and now started to think about my four feet. Bingo! When I lead an embrace I have two right feet and two left feet.


Looking back I identify this as being the moment that I finally started to ‘get’ tango. Tango teachers talk a lot about having a student mind. Like most students of dance I had very quickly abandoned the idea of having two left feet. It is synonymous with being clumsy. However if you apply it literally to leading any partner dance it reveals a level of understanding that will really propel your progress.


So, dance. Enjoy having two left feet.

Nath is a Tango, Modern Jive and Blues teacher based in the Midlands. You can also find him behind the decks. Check out here for more information


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