29th January 2009

(More Next Steps articles.)

"You mean to tell me that a grown man runs around the streets of Gotham at night dressed as a bat?" ~ way too many people...

The Costume

There's the moment when Clark Kent takes off his glasses and you see the change. It's fairly easy to have your own "costume". For some it's simply wearing a shirt, for others a tailored suit, a pair of shoes. Whatever, it can help get into the right mindset.

For reasons best known to himself, Superman wears his costume under his "day clothes". This presents a problem. Imagine he sits typing at his desk all day, hunched over the keyboard. When it comes time to fight the villain, the big "S" on his chest is going to be creased, which doesn't create quite the same impression. However the exercise of trying to keep your t-shirt crease-free while you dance tango helps a lot.

Another problem of the whole costume change thing is that it takes time. Andrea Misse tells her students that on entering her class they are to adopt a tango posture and remain in it until they leave. That way they always look like proper dancers (useful for getting dances in the milonga) and also when they take up the embrace they don't have to spend time sorting out their posture. It's good advice for practica / milonga too.


Iron Man's armour is literally bolted on around him in a specific configuration. Once he's in it, he has to stay in hero posture. Likewise the joints in it are all about dissociation. Try visualizing yourself locked into armour and imagine the "feel" of how you would dance tango.

Larger than life

Why does Superman wear bright blue spandex with red underwear? Why do so many women at milonga look like heroines and villanesses? Tango is larger than life. For a few hours you get to put the mundane on hold. Enjoy it.

Mind the tights

Whatever you do don't damage the clothes of the person you're dancing with. Be especially wary of doing leg rubs on tights.


The point of a cloak is for it to flap around impressively. Consider the way you move. Would your cloak drift out behind you, or would it just be sitting sulkily on you shoulders? Likewise Alan Davis came up with the idea of expressing dramatic stillness with a cloak. Pausing isn't the same as stopping.

So even if you're in a pose or a still point in the music, imagine the cape rippling slightly in the breeze.

And remember - Heroes don't stand. They pose, dramatically.


"I'm the best there is at what I do" ~ Wolverine

A lot of confidence comes from experience. Knowing that you can do something well helps a lot. But how confident you are also has an effect on how comfortable the follower feels.


"I don't believe it, Batman laughed." ~ Justice League of America

There are many types of humour. Try and make sure that you have at least one when you dance tango.

Secret identity

Many people get jumpy about asking people they don't know to dance. Remember they're not seeing you, they're seeing the persona you project. Batman is ridiculously confident at asking out models as "Bruce Wayne" because it isn't really him. He's terrible at asking out women he actually loves.

No two heroes are the same

Find your own expression of who you are. There are a great many ways you can do tango.

No man is an island

Heroes have allies. People who give them information, make them gizmos or just give them a different perspective or moral compass. Find people whose opinion you trust. Listen to them.

One power, many uses

Superman doesn't really have that many powers, so writers continuously come up with various inventive ways of using them. What are you good at? How could you use it in different ways? Boleos came naturally to me, ochos didn't. So I used boleos to understand ochos.


Ever wonder why it seems that kryptonite is available on EBay, the ease with which villains get hold of it?

According to the writers, Superman quickly gets boring to write without weaknesses. Maybe for you it's accordions, maybe it's dancing to milonga or asking people to dance. Whether you decide to overcome it or avoid it, try not to worry about it. Everyone in tango has their own kryptonite...

Bad Luck

I suspect Peter Parker's hobby is breaking mirrors in his spare time. His luck is truly horrendous.

An important lesson for all heroes is how to pick themselves up again after things go wrong. What do you do after the night where everything went wrong?

And finally...

"With great power comes great responsibility" ~ Uncle Ben

Woe betide you if you abuse it in tango. Peter Parker has J. Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle giving him a permanent bad reputation. You'll have the Tango Grapevine, and believe me it's just as effective.

 - Christopher O'Shea, 29th January 2009

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