I’m Not Dancing Much These Days

I have written a little bit about how I came to Tango on my About Me page, and over the years I have had a lot to say about it and my dancing experiences.  I started cutting down on my dancing long before I moved to Eastbourne.  People come and go in Tango for many reasons.  I never really left, just put it on hold.  If I was living in London right now, I would be dancing regularly, even if it was only just once a week.  After all the years of going out nearly every night, it can get dull seeing the same faces night after night and having the same experiences. I used to do other things for a few weeks and then come back to it.   I like variety.  I know many women that would do the same thing.   However, I am a terrible traveller for Tango.  I would never consider going abroad for a Tango festival.  I would, however, consider going to a milonga in a town I happened to be visiting or I would consider visiting a city knowing that there would be some Tango there – like Berlin, or Sevilla, or Paris, or Roma, or any other city I was interested in visiting.   I wouldn’t go to a place just for Tango.

There is Tango in Brighton and Hove.  I can’t be asked to drive there for Tango.  It isn’t the same type of driving as London driving.  I would rather stay in Eastbourne and dance Salsa or Ceroc.  I am not committed enough to set up any Tango here, though I would really be happy to help out if someone else wanted to do it.  As long as they aren’t hacks.

Tango used to fill a void, but as my life has changed other things have been replacing Tango.  However, I really do miss a close Tango embrace sometimes – especially when I listen to some of my favourite Tango music.  At least I still have the music, which is where it all started for me anyway.

If I am not writing about Tango, it’s because I am not out there dancing, not because I don’t have anything to say about it.  I still read blogs and keep up to date with what is happening in London.  There is a lot happening in London, some good and some, eh.  At least you all have choices.  I try to list all the milongas.  There are new ones popping up all the time that I can barely keep up with them.  Some have done the distance and have been around for years, and then some disappear after a couple of months.  Personally, I think we have too many.

Same thought for the teachers.  Easy come and easy go, and some don’t know what they are doing.  We have so many visiting Maestros.  Who are these people?!!!  Maybe my age is showing, but my understanding of a Master is one who has spent nearly a lifetime perfecting a craft.  I am not saying that these visiting teachers are not good dancers or teachers, but Maestros?, puhleeze!  Besides, how can one perfect Tango?  It is supposed to be a dance of improvisation.  It comes from us, from within.  Nobody can teach you that.  You can only be taught the basics, the rest is up to you.

Then we have the demonstrations from these so-called Maestros.  I have to admit that when I first started out, I was very impressed by the back to the head kicks, the ganchos, the jumps, etc.  But that is not real Tango.  That stuff gives people the wrong idea about what Tango is all about.  Just look at all the Tango shows and stuff you see on TV.  I am not saying that these people are not skilled or talented, merely that they are not portraying real social dancing.  I prefer to see people dance beautifully and give me something I could actually aspire to, not the showy acrobatics.  I also don’t want to have to pay extra to see it either.  If I want to see a show, I will go to one.  I want to dance at a milonga and not spend extra money watching people doing stuff I would never to on a dance floor when I could actually be dancing.  As I said earlier, I am not dancing much these days, so when I do go out, I want to make the most of it.

Until I do manage a close embrace in The Tango Way, enjoy yourselves people and have a dance for me.  If you have anything you want to say or need help with, just send me a comment and I will see what I can do.

Happy Dancing! 🙂

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Ask Arlene…About Lectures on The Dancefloor, Again!

Ageism?

Dear Arlene,

I haven’t found a better place on the website to ask the question, so here goes: I have been dancing tango for a couple years, and have found myself at a disadvantage because I look young! While I’ve had some wonderful partners in the milongas, I also have had a fair share of rather unpleasant experiences with men who, having decided that I must be *very young*, proceeded to lecture me on my mistakes etc (this happened in a couple places). I have no problem with constructive criticism, nor am I a terrible dancer (at least I hope not), but it is the tone that has bothered me. It can put a dampener on an otherwise nice evening. Has anyone encountered a similar issue, and is there an etiquette about a partner commenting on the lady’s performance?

Many thanks,
Delia

Dear Delia,

I have addressed this topic here and here.  It seems as if it might need repeating.  There is no real etiquette about this sort of thing that people follow, otherwise they would only use the cabeceo, etc., just some common sense about how to deal with people.

There are some people on the planet that feel the need to tell others what to do in order to big themselves up.  It comes from a lack of self-esteem.  It has nothing to do with how young you may look.  It can happen to anyone at any age.  Sorry if that doesn’t make you feel special, but that is how it goes.  I don’t look my age, but that hasn’t stopped some men from trying to tell me how I should be following.  If that happens, I just end the dance and leave them on the dance floor these days.  I am tired of playing nice and wasting whatever time I have left on the planet.

So, I will repeat: A Milonga is a place to relax and dance.  A class or a practica is a place to learn, where constructive criticism is acceptable.  End of.

No one likes being patronised when they are out trying to have a good time.  So, Diana, it is up to you to work out how you want to spend your evening.  It is NOT acceptable to be criticised on a fun night out.  Especially as most of the men out there don’t know what the heck they are talking about.  This type of behaviour can really put people off. It doesn’t only happen in Tango either.

The nice thing to say is what the gent said in the post about being lectured by a teacher: “I come to Milonga’s to dance, visit with friends, and have a good time. If I wanted a lesson I would go to a studio and take one. Now you can either let me lead and enjoy the rest of the tanda or I will say thank you and go sit down.”

Or as a woman to a man: “I come to Milonga’s to dance, visit with friends, and have a good time. If I wanted a lesson I would go to a studio and take one. Now you can either lead me (or let me follow) and enjoy the rest of the tanda or I will say thank you and go sit down.”

As I don’t dance much Tango these days, I tend to dance mainly with people I know that won’t do that sort of thing.  Try and be more selective with who you dance with and it will all work out ok.

Happy Dancing!

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