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love taking tango classes!

I have an excellent memory for certain things (not numbers), and I find long sequences especially pleasurable to memorize. It’s funny when my male partners are annoyed by this.

The sequences themselves are often delightful enough to enjoy repeating 100 times or even more.

It’s fun to see how quickly and with how few words I can solve any technical problems my Mark is having with the sequence. If I can keep the corrections extremely brief and mechanical, I can do it without hurting his ego (and he will stop hurting my body).

I also love circus and magic shows!

My very favorite is the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe’s “Swan of the Orient”, with the Swan Lake pas-de-deux re-imagined and performed by Wu Zhengdan and her husband, Wei Baohua.

I also really like the show Empire, by Spiegelworld, especially the skate couple, Denis Petaov and Mariia Beseimbetova, because Trust is Hot.

Empire includes a feather-show, which I saw performed by my friend, Memet Bilgin (who is also a tango dancer)… The video starts 10 minutes in to his act. He starts with just one stick…

Someone once described my dancing as “acrobatic”. It happened that I had spent the whole day failing to hoist myself onto a trapeze, and I took this comment as an insult to acrobats. Tango dancers do train a bit and stretch and so forth, but what we do is really not in the same league as circus performers. But some circus numbers, like the feather-sticks one, is a trick, which can be taught to reasonably agile and focused people.

Like tango dancers, magicians don’t have to be in extraordinary physical condition. They can rely on the tricks of the trade.

Pretense of Ease After you practice something a whole bunch of times, you can make it look easy and show off. This makes your audience impressed with you.

Ooh and Aah If you can do some kinda extreme cool stuff, the audience will think you are really fantastic and they will praise you and recommend your show.

Funny If you can be funny while doing stuff that’s easy for you, and kinda cool, the audience will think you are totally adorable, even if you are making fun of other people (or the audience).

Don’t tell your secrets “The secret of an Illusion should never be revealed.” The Magicians’ Code is never to tell the real secrets. You can show people stuff, or even pretend to teach them, but this is just part of the entertainment.

Nonsense words As part of the drama of a performance, magicians use nonsense words. This gives the audience the impression that magic is within everyone’s reach, if only they can grasp the deep meaning of the magic words.

“Push the floor…  compression …  traction … “

Profound If you say some stuff in a way that seems profound while doing stuff that’s easy for you, and kinda cool, the audience will think you are even more than a magician, even if they can’t remember what you said or figure out what it means in practice.

“When you dance tango, go together, not alone.”

tom-magician-londonThe magician’s code also says that if someone asks to be your student, you have an obligation to teach them honestly and accurately.

I’ve spent the last few days pondering how exactly tango education is different from a magic show. I’m trying to remember chemistry and calculus. Well, there’s homework. Very clearly defined homework. I left class extremely clear about what I understood and what I didn’t and what I needed to figure out before the next class. And I was definitely a lot more focused on my work than how great my teacher was. In fact, I didn’t like them so much when I was in the classroom. But I did have some really great teachers. What made them great was their deep understanding of what they were teaching, and of human development, and their very considered pedagogy so they knew how to get me to the next level. And the very fact that being able to get the students to the next level was what they took pride in.

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