“If it doesn’t give you goose bumps,
man, you’re not dancing tango”
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-Fino in "Tango, Our Dance"
Because I watched Tete videos so much when I began in tango, I picked up his habit of kicking up my feet on the dance floor. One evening in Celia’s a milonguero named Chiche came over and said quietly in my ear, “Sometimes you’re picking up your feet. You should keep them close to the floor.” Although some of the milongueros also occasionally pick up their feet when they dance, most traditional milongueros hate to see people raising their feet or moving them around in the air (especially women).
Tete, who is not really a traditional milonguero (and doesn’t want to be), picks up his feet quite a bit (he's pictured above, kicking up his heels with Alicia Pons in Banco Provincia, and with Sylvia in Porteño y Bailarin). To me, this is a nice way for Tete to express his musical feeling—but I have a lot of respect the milongueros, and I take what they say very seriously. They all talk to each other, and it’s likely that when one of them takes the time to approach you with some advice, it has been discussed with several of them at their table. So, I decided to follow Chiche’s advice, and stay more grounded. And I began to find that my dancing smoothed out, and I became more stable and maneuverable. I developed more confidence on crowded floors, and although I gave up some of my earlier exuberance, I more than made up for it by adding subtlety to the way I danced. In the end, I actually expressed the music better and more confidently. What Tete and some of the other milongueros do certainly isn’t wrong (they are maestros, after all)—but in my case, the advice from Chiche and his friends was absolutely correct.