No Need to Be Able to Do All the Steps

At the peak of social dancing in Buenos Aires, different neighborhoods of the city had different favored steps. People in some neighborhoods liked gancho, people in another liked ocho cortado, and people in yet another liked to do giros. Which steps were favored by which neighborhood went along with which orchestra was favored by which neighborhood. In the neighborhoods where D’Arienzo was the most favored, their dancing vocabulary was different from that of the neighborhoods where Di Sarli was the most favored. In different neighborhoods, how they danced, in terms of dominant sentiments, was also different.

Most social dancers including great ones at that time did not dance nor try to dance with the largest dancing vocabulary with every possible step. Some steps did not fit together well. A great dancer from that time said something like this – “When I started dancing, I did 10 steps in a song. But, the more I danced, the fewer steps I used. I now use about 3 steps in a song. But, I now do them very well.” This small number of steps as well as how he/she dances are what characterize a person’s dancing, or his/her style.

Some people may never do ganchos and it is Ok. Some people may never let go of ganchos and that is also Ok. What is important is that he/she finds a relatively small dancing vocabulary the steps of which are coherent and representative of the person.