Pas de finesse…
Staying in Buenos Aires for a few months provided several eye-openers. One of the great revelations was concerning the logic of the dance, or rather the lack of it, and how this adds spice to the dance:
We were taking lessons with various teachers, with very different philosophies with respect to tango, how to dance it and how to learn it. Gustavo Naveira, the great master, dissected each step carefully, explaining exactly how and why and which steps were crossed and which were open etc.
Coming then to another lesson with the quite different teachers, I asked once why I was to go with this foot, and not with the other, as I could not make any sense of this particular combination. Jorge looked at me, as if he did not understand the question. Why? Because the step is like this.
Only later did it make any sense to me. It was actually when los Disparis showed another step. A step where the man deliberately hides which foot he has weight on. To make it less obvious which direction the turn will be. Going in the not so logical direction. Or perhaps not.
Adding a touch of finesse.
I remember several years earlier, another tango teacher told us that the man should always have a little surprise for the woman, a sorpresita, to make her feel she was something special. And in the same way, it doesn’t hurt having a sorpresita for the spectators as well. At least if you are giving a show, that is.
And this leads to one reason I find a lot of performances unbearably boring. The dancers do a lot of things, trying to be innovative. But it shows a mile a head where they are going. No sorpresita. Lacking even the slightest hint of finesse.