What if I want a Lecture?

A friend of mine told me he liked my blog and found it really useful, except for one thing.  Curious, I asked him what was wrong with the blog and what didn’t he like about it.  After all, if there was something missing that people should know about, I wanted to get it right.  It turns out that there wasn’t anything wrong with the site.  He really liked it and found the information useful.  The problem was that he didn’t agree with my responses to ‘Lectures on the Dancefloor’.

Now we were getting somewhere.  What didn’t he like about the answer?  Well, he thinks it should be ok to criticise someone else’s dancing.  I asked him to elaborate.  It turns out that he appreciates feedback so that he could improve his dancing skills.  I could understand his reasoning, and I explained that maybe if he was in a class or a practica then that would be appropriate, but not at a Milonga.  Why not at a Milonga?  Because a Milonga is a social event where people come out to relax, socialise and dance.  They don’t need to be told what they are doing wrong or what they should be doing when they are out and trying to have a good time.

He didn’t agree.  What if you dance with me Arlene and you don’t like it?  I told him that if I say ‘yes’ to dance with him, it is my choice and if it is not great for me then I don’t say anything unless he might be hurting me or making my physically uncomfortable, but I will not criticise his dancing.  I did not think it would be appropriate and I would not like it if someone did that to me.  Besides, I don’t go out much these days and I don’t want to get involved in this type of behaviour when I am trying to enjoy my evening.  I am not a teacher.

But Arlene, what if I ask a woman to dance and then she says ‘no’ to me after we danced before?  How will I know what I did wrong?  How will I know what to fix?

Tricky questions.  I have strong feelings about criticising other peoples dancing.  Sometimes it isn’t possible to pinpoint a specific thing.  If someone is in a class or practica, everyone is in the same mindset.  They are all there to learn something and improve their skills.  Therefore it is appropriate to get constructive feedback.  I am lousy at giving feedback unless I am in pain.  I just know when something doesn’t feel right.  I can’t  explain the problem except to say ‘it doesn’t feel right to me’, and  it always necessitates the teacher having a look.

I repeated that it was OK in a class or practica, but not in a Milonga.

My friend wasn’t buying my responses.  I explained to him that short of asking his dance partner for feedback, it would not be a good idea to ask women why they were not dancing with him.  It would make them feel uncomfortable and why do that?

I told him the fact that they were not dancing with him meant that he needed to improve his dancing, and the only way to find out what he was doing wrong would be to dance with the teachers and get their opinion.

I hope he got the message and I said the right thing.  Are there other men out there that feel this way?

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Ask Arlene…Lectures on the Dancefloor Part 2

My compatriot in Buenos Aires, Deby Novitz, has provided a piece as ‘Tia Deby’ for Jenney Surelia’s blog, Tango Thoughts.  ‘Tia Deby’ has provided her take on the lecturing on the dance floor theme.

What I love about Deby, apart from her wicked sense of humour, is that she has considerable experience of dancing at the Milongas in Buenos Aires, and she has been living there for over four years.  Therefore, I am inclined to listen seriously to what she has to say as she has pretty much ‘been there and done that’.

So, when Jenney posted the link to the recent advice from ‘Tia Deby’, I read it with interest and I feel that what she had to say was quite pertinent on this topic.  I have had a similar incident about someone holding my arm in a certain way that was uncomfortable to me and when I made a suggestion (very nicely) to not give me the death grip, the guy argued with me.  I say no more.

If you haven’t read it already you can find the link below.  If you want to know more about Deby Novitz and her life in Buenos Aires, I have a link for her on my sidebar.

http://tangothoughts.typepad.co.uk/tango_thoughts/2009/02/tia-deby-sense-socialability.html

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