One of the things that drew me to JP quite a while ago was his love of dance. It is the rare man who really loves to dance. Hence, along with our shared interest in wine (and my desire to learn more), we shared this passion from our first date.
A year of group classes (for which I drove the 45 minutes from Avignon to Nîmes) and a handful of private lessons have paid off -- to a certain extent. I'm comfortable with the basic moves now, and yes, I can easily follow the guiding of JP and my teacher. At the informal group dances held by our school, and the more formal balls, I say yes when others invite me. Sometimes this is a pleasure, sometimes it's rather painful.
I'm still hesitant -- will I be able to follow their guiding style? I do often forget the signal for a forward cross (croisé en avant). Will I be light on their shoulders? balanced? easy to swirl around? I still have work to do on my confidence, and on remembering to let the music as much as my partner guide my moves.
As so many of these balls happen during the hot summer weather, there are added ingredients to the mix which can be disorienting for a highly sensitive person like myself. For example: it is a tad stressful to dance with someone you don't know well. As a newly formed dancing couple we have at least three dances before us so as to get to know each other. Leaving this new partner earlier would be rude. These are the rules of the ball. Will we click? The heat of our two bodies pressed against each other, in the embrasso so favored by the Argentinians, brings our chests to touch, our arms wrapped around the other's back . . . Amongst other things, it's darn hot, thus we will and do sweat. Can my dress handle this?
I am strongly affected by the intensity of the men's scents. One might have heavily perfumed himself with cologne, another has scented gel stiffly holding his long curls, another might be emanating the aroma of simple savon de Marseille. There is a predominance of strong artificial scents which throw me. It's more jolting and dizzying than attractive. Natural pheromones emanating from a man recently showered are my preference -- but hey, this is Mediterranean France, that would be going out undressed, right?
Whatever physical awkwardness or shyness one might have had earlier in life, when you dance the tango you simply need to get over it. In the embrasso you'll be pressing your breasts (big, little, what-have-you) into the chest of the man you're dancing with. It is very rare to dance in the open position. So, here goes, I press my generous gifts from Mother Nature high upon the chest, hold myself high, breath, and await my guiding signals.