2013 Summer External Programs Jacob Innis New Zealand

Dancing – In the Dark.

I went through twenty-one years of life without being able to dance.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, or that I didn’t try – I most certainly had the will, and unfortunately for those around me, I have given it a whirl many times.  However, I’m basically a fish on land out there.

Point of reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY_DF2Af3LM

It’s embarrassing.  So when we perused the different classes available at our University, and Sam proposed we take Argentinian Tango, I decided then and there I would no longer suffer the affliction of Disaster Dancing, and change my ways.  I can proudly say now, that I can do at least one style of dance in a non-horrific manner.

Please note:  We were always hard at work in our actual lessons, so we don’t have any pictures from them.  These totally-authentic-100%-NOT-staged photos will just have to do.


Watch out, Dancing With the Stars

Okay, maybe it was really more like this:


It didn’t all start off so smoothly.  Most people in our class had some dancing experience.  This means they had higher expectations of their partners.  This wouldn’t have been a big deal, as Sam and I went into this thinking that we would be each other’s permanent dance partners – we were wrong.  Since there were far fewer males than females enrolled in the class, we had to constantly switch partners, so that everyone had a chance to dance with a partner of the opposite sex.

While unexpected, this ended up helping me out greatly for several reasons.  First off, it made me far more aware of what I was doing, as I didn’t want to embarrass myself more than necessary.  It also made me work harder so that I could keep up with these experienced ladies, and eventually I got to the point where they didn’t have to wear steel-toe boots when they danced with me!  It also enabled me to improvise more.  That’s one of the beautiful things about Tango – yes there are set moves (ocho’s, weight changes, the cross, back-ocho’s, to name a few), but there is no order that you have to do them in really!  Once you have the pieces you can assemble them however you’d like.  Constantly switching partners ensured that I would never get caught in a routine, and kept me on my toes (literally).

Several weeks went by and the lessons ended.  However, we weren’t ready to end it just yet, so we signed up for the second part of the class.  This time, there were far more males in the class than females, so again, we rotated.  This time around, our improvisation skills really came into play, and before long, the whole thing became second nature.  Tango is really a menagerie of individual steps all strung together in any manner the leader wishes.  Sure, for performances people put together a routine, but at your average tango gathering (and yes they exist, even here in New Zealand!) it’s all very impromptu and random, but always fun.

I’m very pleased that I took this class, one of the many offered at this school.  The range of classes available was quite intimidating really- including anything from bone carving and just about every style of cooking class imaginable all the way through fencing, salsa dancing, and harmonica lessons.  Though there were many options, I couldn’t be happier with my selection, as I have a new skill…now I just need to find an opportunity to use it!

Take care,


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: