Happy Holidays!

The time has come to take a break and spend some time with the family.  I have a fair amount of cooking ahead of me and with any luck I might make it to the Boxing Day Milonga at The Southbank.

I look forward to being back here in the New Year with some more of Ask Arlene and a few other items to get you thinking and dancing.

In the meantime, have a look at B.A.TANGO – Buenos Aires Tango (Magazine).  I am expecting it to be a regular feature.  It is in Spanish and English.  Who knows, it might give you a few ideas for planning your next holiday in Buenos Aires!

All the best to everyone and Happy Dancing, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


Can you really blame the shoes?

Hi Arlene

…These women who are let loose with their Comme il Faut stilleto’s can be lethal. Men may have their faults but it is these dangerous shoes which are the real hazard. I have seen both men and women lacerated and stamped on by these. Perhaps you should take some sort of proficiency test before you are allowed to buy these. I would be more than willing to make that judgement. Did you enjoy Negracha last night?


Dear VOR,

Saying the shoes are dangerous is as ridiculous as saying cars cause accidents.  Cars don’t cause accidents; it is the people driving the cars that cause accidents.  You never hear of the car being prosecuted in an accident.  “Sorry officer, the car had a mind of its own and bumped into the car in front or swerved into the one on the side.”  When it comes to Tango, it is the men who are doing the driving and the woman is merely the vehicle.  A woman must follow her leader.  I don’t know how you can justify saying ‘these women who are let loose’.  I have never seen women who are let loose in Tango, maybe in Salsa or Ceroc, but not Tango.

As you are a man, I will excuse you this one time.  I ask you to please do not make disparaging comments about the shoes in the future as you will be on a very slippery road with no exit if you do.  There are more women than men out there, so you are definitely outnumbered and are leaving yourself wide open to negative responses.  Have a look at any Milonga floor and look at the shoes.  Most of the women are wearing high heels.  They are not just a fashion statement.  If you haven’t read it already, I would recommend reading An Homage to Comme il Faut to learn more about women and the shoes.  I wonder if you can actually tell the difference between a pair of CiFs, Darcos or Neo Tango shoes.

Regardless of the shoe style, people are going to have accidents. I didn’t have my first pair of CiFs until around two years into dancing and I still had lacerations, kicks, etc., and I am sure that I have given my fair share too.  One can do a lot of damage even with a pair of low heeled practice shoes.

With regard to Negracha, yes I did enjoy myself, although I didn’t dance much.  I did witness, however, a very nasty accident caused by a swarthy male teacher.  He was dancing large on the dance floor and took a step back and his partner trod on the lady behind – right on top of the foot, very painful.  The said partner was wearing a very fetching pair of CiFs and she was mortified about what had happened and apologised to the victim even though her swarthy male partner was trying to pull her back.  The sad thing was her leader did not apologise at all even though he was confronted by the victim’s leader.  I have witnessed this sort of thing before with the swarthy man and have never seen him apologise.  I find it really disgraceful.  The shoes were innocent.

Women do not like it when they cause harm to another woman and we are mortified when that happens.  If a leader is taking his time on the floor and the person in front moves backwards without due care and attention and gets kicked, I can’t really see how it is the fault of the one behind.  One shouldn’t take back steps on a busy floor.

As a woman dancing on a busy floor, I feel it is my duty to keep my voleos near the floor, unless I know I have the space around me, and to refuse invitations to do moves that might make me injure someone else.  I try to keep my moves small.

I believe it is the responsibility of the leader to display proper floor craft.  My best dancers always move in the line of dance and take their time on a busy floor.  I very rarely experience any conflict or injury either on my part or from anyone else when that happens.

When dancing at The Crypt’s Christmas party the other evening, I was on the floor and hadn’t even taken a step when I found myself entangled with someone else’s shoe!  My heel was barely lifted off of the ground!  Although I was concerned about the lady, I was more annoyed with her leader.  He should have taken more care.  My shoes were innocent.

Frankly, I think the men should do a proficiency test before they are let loose on the dance floor, and maybe more people would enjoy dancing and there would be fewer injuries.



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