Monday, March 28, 2011


It’s rare, but it happens on occasion, when you can sincerely say, “Honey, you were right.”  These words were spoken in March of 20011 but our story commences in October 2010.
My husband and I are the co-directors of Tango Fusion Dance Company in Saratoga Springs, New York; a company that was once stationed in New York City, invited to perform in Argentina and now that we live in Saratoga and are parents, it’s recent incarnation has performed around the Northeast.  Tango is the backbone of the company, but we also dance and choreograph a fair amount of salsa and swing as well as incorporating ballet and jazz.  The majority of the time, the 4 to 5 couples dance with the same person, but we also enjoy shaking it up and having different company members dance with each other.
Such was the case last Fall(2010) when we were preparing a new Salsa number for our Fall show at the Charles Wood Theatre in Glens Falls and my husband and company member Deb Otto- Jones were slated to partner in the new four person piece: Shaky –Shaky.  Deb is a well trained ballet dancer; my husband is also strongly trained in ballet so I expected the piece to contain some fun lifts.  Johnny is happy to lift and Deb is delighted to be airborne.  I was not prepared.
Whenever Johnny works a piece with a company member, I generally come in after the majority of the choreography is finished to watch and perhaps offer some suggestions.  The piece did indeed offer up some exciting lifts including the one that starts with the woman jumping and being simultaneously lifted on the man’s shoulders with her legs apart; not in back of his head but right in front.  The crotch in the face moment gives one pause.  After a quick re-gripping of the hands and wrists, the lift continues with the woman flipping down to the floor and the fun didn’t stop there.  Deb then proceeded to do progressive splits forward with my husband’s help.  I believe I stayed fairly cool and said something like, “that’s   some prep.” And left it at that.
A week later, they were rehearsing the lift in front of Deb’s husband and myself and I said to Richard, “Have you seen the crotch lift yet?”
To which he naively and nonchalantly responded, “No.”
“Just wait.” I said.
He turned to me after the crotch lift with raised eyebrows and said, “I see.”
I said to Richard, “It gives one pause doesn’t it?” He agreed and we immaturely decided that we needed to work a crotch lift equivalent into any time that we danced together in our show.
Well, a crotch lift equivalent never came to pass and after gently teasing Johnny and Deb about the lift, they both said that it took much concentration to get the correct hand grip in that position.  I believe that my husband’s exact words were,”Honey – the position is not titillating.  At the time I am concentrating on keeping Deb safe as she flips to the floor.”  Deb concurred.
Nonetheless, even though both couples have been in the dance business a long time, danced with others and many Tango Fusion Dance Company steps and positions would not fly in the non-dance world, that  face to crotch position caught my eye until…
Last Saturday, I was rehearsing some of the cast of RENT (I am choreographing the show to be performed at the EGG in April) for the number “Contact.”  Overall, the show does not hold back on sexual content and the musical number “Contact” takes the cake.  One of the main characters, Angel, has died and the piece depicts his release from this world through sexual movement.  So-----I had the cast rolling around on the floor attached to each other, thrusting each other against the wall, mounting each other in various facings and pulling hair. 
We were rehearsing at our studio in our home and I invited my husband upstairs to help us with some lifts.  To give him an idea of what we were doing, we did a run –through and since one cast member was missing, I stepped in to fill her shoes.  Naturally, I’m thinking that this will be my husband‘s comeuppance  and he now can witness me thrusting, straddling, and performing intimate acts not meant for public consumption. 
However, that’s not what happened.  Instead I had an epiphany when I realized how much I had to concentrate counting the music to make my next move on time and make sure that it looked good and keeping my partner safe.  The athleticism it required to maintain our positions, hold our partners and pick up our partners overpowered any sexual experience.  Actually, we ended up laughing a great deal of the time and getting a terrific work-out.
So – I guess the crotch lift is not just a crotch lift.  Although my husband waited a full 5 months for my realization to come to pass, he took my concession well and did not hold it over my head.  Now, how about that butt lift?

(Check out the video and pay special attention at 2:50 to witness the crotch lift)

Diane Lachtrupp Martinez


  1. Boy! That girl in the green dress is really good!

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  3. I love the video and I loved it. You and Johnny always look like you are either having a fun time when you are dancing, or very passionate. The moves and lifts are amazing, when I saw the "crotch lift" it was very professional and timed flawlessly. Deb appears to be light as a feather, and looks great. Keep the blog coming. Congratulations.

  4. I must admit that I checked out the video prior to reading this blog...and most definitely noticed the "crotch lift!" I must also say that it takes a particularly strong woman to admit when her husband is right...and it takes an extremely self-confident man to not rub it in her face!

  5. I agree that girl in the Green Dress is really spectacular. In addition to watching closely for the crotch lift, watching her dance is a pleasure. That girl in the green dress is Deb Otto-Jones.


  6. I must admit as a non dancer one of the attractions to watch true dancers is the sensuality of it all. It does seem intimate, great to hear about the reality of it, a lot to concentrate on. Beautiful!

  7. I got into dance thinking I was a genius for finding an activity that required me to put my hands on beautiful women. Little did I realize that I wouldn't be thinking about the fun stuff when it came time to make sure the girl didn't fall on the floor!

  8. Jennifer - thanks for your support. It does take a lot of concentration when certain movements are tricky or particularly dangerous. Ideally, I love it when I don't have to count when my partner and I are executing a romantic movement and I can get lost in it. Sometimes we can take our cues from the music and each other and not have to count. That's when magic happens.

  9. Richard - You were a genius for "thinking" that you had come upon the perfect activity that provided you the opportunity to put your hands on beautiful women;that's how you met Deb, n'est pas? Looks like it panned out.