TAKE the Lead or Scent of a Woman, whichever movie thrills with its leading men of Antonio Banderas and Al Pacino respectively, the tango is a sizzler.
Take the Lead is a fictionalised account of the work of Pierre Dulaine, who with Yvonne Marceau are four-time winners of the British Exhibition Championships.
Dulaine (real name Peter Gordon Heney) started in 1994 a non-profit organisation called Dancing Classrooms NYC, where social dance is taught to children to help cultivate essential life skills in youths. That effort is shown in the documentary, Mad Hot Ballroom.
Inspiring, isn’t it? But I don’t recall exactly why I signed up for a social dance class in August 2016.
I think it was watching all those footwork and dance sequences in movies or maybe it was after decades of interviewing dnacers, teachers and reviewing dance work on stage that propelled my ageing body into a dnace studio. To learn something different from my work. Or maybe I was just bored with hatha yoga and walking briskly in the suburbs of Bangsar or TTDI. Maybe,it was to help stave off Alzheimer’s!
All wonderful exercise workouts, really. I did try dance workouts in gyms, line dancing in Petaling Jaya, and I did work the nightclub circuit when heaps younger, Oh hell yeah!
Anyway, I interviewed Michelle Hong in April 2015 for a show called The Mythical Journey which starred Jack Kek. She impressed me, and so did Kek, but then most of my interviewees do, anyway.
In one of her consequent emails for The Gardens Theatre shows, a line on ballroom dancing turned up. I think she mentioned dance classes and anyone can dance if they want. Her positive attitude stayed with me… for a year before I propelled myself to MidValley and the TGT studio.
I have been learning under Michelle since, which says a lot about social dancing and the patience of the teacher!. For one, there’s much to learn. It’s a different set of movements from Indian classical dance, that’s for sure!
But it is thoroughly enjoyable. From learning the steps for the rhumba to the blooming, blasted technique, it’s been sweaty for me.
Michelle’s students have been winning medals in dance competitions around the country and in Thailand, recently. She gave me that option, and it was either that or take the examination. I thought the examination was easier, less stressful. Big mistake. But I made it through for latin dance, specifically rhumba and the cha cha.. Phew.
We are learning the quickstep and Viennese waltz now. Tough workout. As with the tango, the head for the ladies is almost always a left tilt back. And the body is spleen to liver to the partner. Like my example?!
The enjoyment doesn’t stop. Thank you my teacher, and my body for still be able!