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Ich Bin Ein Bonaerense

How to tango like an Argentine in Deutschland

Author Chris Wright Illustration Marc Rosenthal

dispatches5

GERMANY – The Germans have many admirable qualities, but an excess of physical grace isn’t among them. Compare the self-assaulting Bavarian slap dance to the sultry Argentine tango, the leather bib to the ruffled shirt. Even so, the German brewery town Fürth is hosting its first Tango Festival this month (September 4–6), featuring “leading dancers of tango.” Here, a quick pre-fest primer.
 
1. Posture
Lower your eyes and frown, as if sniffing old milk. Stand straight, close enough to your partner that it’s awkward. Place one hand in your partner’s hand and the other in the small of the back (leader) or on the bicep (follower).
 
2. Stepping
Follow the rhythm via a flurry of forward, backward and sideways corrida steps, in close proximity to your partner’s equally zigzaggy feet. The basic pattern is: step-step-ouch-step-step. Experienced dancers can drop the third step.

3. Flourishes
Having learned to avoid the mutual destruction of metatarsals, you can attempt more complex maneuvers, like hip spins, spinal dips, heel kicks, calf hooks, hand flaps, knee stabs, nasal thrusts and extreme sensual frowning.

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