Browsing the tango section in a otherwise Salsa forum I found this old post by someone I know, a follower who within a year or two switched from salsa to tango.

“September 2006 – 10:18 Your salsa shoes will be just fine. And wear them as soon as you arrive because the leaders look at women shoes before inviting them…

Later you’ll find real tango shoes with higher heels (8 to 12 cm) but many followers use mere 4 to 6 cm shoes.”

This words rang a bell somehow, though it was not precise yet. “Yes”, I thought, “we leaders we fall too often in this cheap trap”. And reading further on I found another post by the same lady:

“When a leader sees a woman with dance shoes he thinks she’s a dancer.
Just ask S… who has yet to learn the tango. She once came and see us at a milonga, wearing her salsa shoes as I had told her, and it worked, she got invited. When I met the guy afterwards he told me ‘Ok smart girl, your friend with the pretty shoes, she’s a salsera uh?’.

I could not stop laughing.”

And only here did I realize why it sounded so familiar. Here
http://tangobeginner.blogspot.com/2006/08/fantastic-dancer.html

is my own side of the story. Damn salseras and their high heels, trapping the naive, unsuspecting leaders…

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Damn Miles

2007, November 17

So, all his belongings during his one-year trip in the realm of tango were a pair of dance shoes and a laptop – which by the way had to be sold at some point. Sleeping in a trunk, eating every other day, all this to save the money for yet another private, now that’s dedication. Congrats, Miles.

Dancing with the clowns

2007, November 12

There is an unknown, remote practise in town, where beginners go. I have many memories of this place, going there with a book, being greeted by a “Hey you’re still here, how comes you haven’t given up yet“, reading my book and sipping tea while the beginners with a partner were exercizing their steps, and even sometimes practising with some follower whose leader was a bit late.
I’ve read so many books there! War and peace, Cities in the plain…
Also during all these months I’ve improved my musicality a lot. It’s much easier to focus on music when you’re seated and you don’t have to make/lead steps.

This room where we were practising A.T is not in a dance studio but is part of an unknown, remote theater where no public ever attends but which is used intensively as a school for aspiring comedians and clowns, or for rehearsals. Once, a comedian playing a beggar, unshaved and holding a half-empty bottle of beer, entered the room and began commenting out loud about our dance and mimicking our steps. Nobody answered him and finally he left, grabbing some cookies on his way out. Oops, was a real beggar.

One day the practise ended.

Last Saturday it reopened, in a somewhat different form. The aspiring clowns/comedians now have monthly A.T discovery sessions as part of their training. Then there is the practise, open to anyone, where I went for the memories, the tea and the cookies.

“They’re all absolute beginners“, the teacher explained me. “But also they’re not ordinary people, they can juggle and walk on a string.
While the comedians were very similar to regular beginners, leading the clowns was not a piece of cake. Even without their big shoes, they walk like ducks when moving forwards. They escape from the abrazo whenever they can. They never stand still, forget about making a pause.
Even leading anything at all is not that easy, they can improvize and will find their own way to follow your lead. They get bored quickly, you have to keep them interested. They like very much the playful parts of A.T, like the barridas, but first you have to catch their shoe. Doing steps the simple way is an unknown concept, they’ll do the CW front ochos on the left foot.

At the end I was mainly leading them into quick giros, at least it kept them busy.