How do we choose someone to dance with?

Finding someone to dance with whether it be for one tanda or a lifetime is the most difficult part of tango after learning to dance.  Remember that first milonga you went to?  You sat there and wondered, “Will anyone want to dance with me?”  How many years have you been dancing and now maybe you think “Does anyone want to dance with me?” Or worse, “Is there anyone I want to dance with?”

In the tango culture outside of Buenos Aires the amount you dance is just as important as the quality of the dance. Sometimes I think the quantity is more important. People want to justify getting dressed, getting there, and standing around.  Time is money. You don’t want to waste your time.

Here in Buenos Aires, tango is a more social event.  If we equated time with money, then we would be a very rich country.  Anyone who has ever been here knows that Argentines run on their own time schedule. The concept of wasting your time waiting to dance is a foreign one.  If you are not having a good time you leave.  It is that simple.

How do people pick the people they dance with?  Good question.  One night in January Club Gricel was fairly empty on a Friday.  I was bored.  I looked around the room.  There was no one I really wanted to dance with.  The man sitting at the table next to me NEVER invited me to dance.  I stopped looking his way long ago.

That night he happened to catch my eye.  I was rather surprised.  I made sure it was me he wanted to dance with.  He nodded.  We got up and moved to the floor.  After the first song I made a comment to him that this was the first time we had danced together.  This is not an uncommon thing to do.  He in turn said to me “Yes, none of my other amigas are here.”  I know he didn’t mean it that way, but that was what came out.

I laughed at him and went “Pobrecita, your friends are not here, so you are forcing yourself to dance with the Rubia.”  That was when he realized what he had said to me. “No, no.”  and as he started to explain I cut him off and continued to tease him.  Although he was very complimentary to me after our dance, he has not asked me to dance since.

The point here is that he dances with his friends.  People have their favorites.  We all do.  Then for some reason or another we take a chance and dance with someone new.  Maybe we continue to dance with that person maybe not.  I have had men say to me they don’t know why they don’t dance with different women.  They just get used to dancing with the same women.  My women friends say the same about the men.

Too often we look for things that don’t matter.  Women think they are too short, too fat, and too old.  Men decide they cannot dance well enough.  Tango brings out all of our insecurities.

Is there any reason?  No.  One man who doesn’t dance that often with me told me that after each time he dances with me he even questions himself why he doesn’t dance more with me. “You are a good dancer, your are beautiful.  But I guess I just forget to ask you.”  My comment to him “Viejo, don’t forget me.”

Deby Novitz

©Deby Novitz 2009 TangoSpam all rights reserved.  No parts of this may be reproduced without permission of the author

Direct Comment or Overheard at a Milonga: No. 1

Negracha a couple of weeks ago:  I was chatting with a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile when the gentleman (loose term) sitting next to my friend interrupted our conversation, without saying ‘excuse me’, to ask my friend to dance.  Surprised at this rudeness, we both turned our heads to look at him, saying nothing.  He asked again.  She told him we were having a converstion.  He looked at us and said, ‘This is a Milonga.  What are you doing? Dancing or talking?’

We ignored him.

Later: I was chatting with a lovely Norwegian lady, a visitor, when a friend of mine sat next to me.  I knew he wanted to dance, but I was in the middle of a conversation.  I put my hand out to him to let him know I knew he was there, then in a pause he asked me if I was chatting.  I said ‘yes’ and that I would be with him when I finished.  He waited for me.

We danced.

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