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04 August, 2012

My pet peeves as a fitness consultant and as a tango dancer

In one of my earlier post, I had mentioned how it is very amusing (actually read: irritating) for me as a fitness consultant, when people meet me outside my workplace and try to seek some advice on health and fitness. I will be at a party- A Birthday party, wedding reception, etc etc, few standard questions I am asked are

1. I am gaining weight. How do I reduce it?
2. Can you make a diet chart for me?
3. I am gaining fat around my belly. Tell me an exercise to reduce that.
4. What do you do for your workout? What do you eat?
5. Can I come to "your gym"?

I am appalled/baffled/confused/irritated/ at loss of words, with these questions. There is no one line answer for these. I am not a Doctor who would just write a medical prescription about the medicines you are supposed to have and give it to you. (I guess even a doctor would not do that in a party but would rather ask you to get some tests done). Health and fitness is holistic. There is so much in it. I cannot teach it to you or give you one solution in a party. You need to come to my studio (it is not a gym for heaven's sake), take an appointment, we sit, we discuss and we take it from there. I do not have one standard diet chart (which I prescribe to everyone), that I will pop out from my bag and hand it over to you, the moment you ask me for it. It does not work like this. I have written enough blogs on this subject and quite a number of people I know, have now stopped (or reduced) these questions.

Now comes new scenario vis a vis Tango. Tango is relatively new for India and specially for Indian mindset. Tango needs a mature mindset to handle it. For a non Tango dancing, Indian population, it is little tough to handle it. When they see a man and a woman in close embrace, they start imagining things. (Read: They start seeing them in bed together). Things like lead, follow, connection, embrace, milonga, musicality, etc are too difficult for them to decipher and decode. For an Indian male (I am talking about masses), who is also a non tango dancer, Tango is an opportunity to hold a woman close in his arms. He has no clue, what to do beyond that. He also has no clue about the rules of the dance- Tanda, cortina, Cabaceo, etc etc.

In this regard, what kind of questions are asked VERY FREQUENTLY, to me by non Tango dancing, Indian male.

1. Can I be your Tango dance partner?
2. Can I perform with you?
3. Can you teach me how to dance? I want to learn only from you.
4. Will you dance with me in a milonga?

General Tango queries I get- in a party.

1. Can you show tango.

Like how? alone? I might be in a sari, non tango shoes, without any partner, no tango music, no tango heels. Yet, I get this.
2. So you teach salsa?
No. I teach tango.
3. Is it same as salsa?
No it is not.
4. How long will it take for me to learn?

In any dance, example Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam, it takes years of dedicated practice before you have your debut performance on stage, called Arangetram. You need to train, learn, practice and then start performing. Imagine a non dancer (and I mean, an absolute non dancer) asks me to be his tango partner, perform, dance in milonga. HOW is that possible? After the embrace (and they do not even know the concept of embrace), they do not know, what next. And I am a mere follower, waiting for my leader to lead me. Now what? Do we struggle, trip and fall on milonga floor and I make a fool of myself?


Dear Indian men, who are non Tango dancers- Do not see Tango as an opportunity to touch and hold a woman. Learn the dance, if it interests you. The whole new world will open for you. Because no Tango dancer will dance with you, unless you are a good leader.

And how long will it take for you to learn it? One life time is not enough.