What Makes a Tango Memorable?

There have been a few tweets going around about memorable Tangos, mostly from women.  One lady tweeted that it seems as if only the women remember memorable Tangos.  I replied, tongue in cheek, that if a woman remembers a good Tango, it is because she may have had many bad or indifferent ones.

There are many reasons why a moment would be memorable, such as it being the first time you did something, like a first kiss, or the first time you travelled on a plane.  Anything you did something special or unusual for the first time will usually be memorable.

I will never forget the first time I danced with my first Tango teacher.  I was nervous, but he danced gently with me and it made me feel great.

I remember going to my first milonga and not being able to dance because I only knew how to dance large. (I changed teachers after that!)

I remember going to Corrientes (at Tavistock Place) for the first time and only having two dances during the whole evening.  Not two tandas, just two dances! (I was still a beginner)

I remember going to Corrientes four weeks later and dancing almost the whole evening!

I remember the first time I had ‘that Tango feeling’.  Aah!  (And the other times after that I can count on one hand)

I have a lot of Tango firsts that are memorable.  There are other things that can make a Tango memorable, such as when I  just move to the music and not just pay too much attention to what my leader was asking me to do.  When two people are in sync with each other and the music, that can make it memorable.

Not all memorable moments are good however.  Things can be memorable because they are unpleasant.  I will never forget the moment when someone told me I had no style (I had only been dancing 6 months!).  Or the men that think it is ok to cop a feel on the dance floor, or the ones that have BO and BB!  That list goes on.

These days my Tangos are memorable because I am not dancing so much since I have moved out of London.

Women are usually good at expressing themselves.  It is how we solve problems and form solidarity.  Even if we complain, we feel a lot better afterwards.  Better out than in.  This probably explains why there are mostly women tweeting about memorable Tangos, good and bad, but mainly good ones.  One can almost hear the yearning when reading about their wonderful Tango.  It makes me wonder about the ones danced in-between the memorable ones.

I’m sure there are men that have memorable Tangos too.   They must have their fair share of good and bad experiences that make a Tango memorable, not dissimilar to the ones that women experience.  They are just not talking about it (certainly not writing about it).  Fair enough.

So, what makes a Tango memorable for you?

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Ask Arlene… How good do I have to be for a good dancer to want to dance with me?

From Sara

Hello Arlene,

I have recently been to a milonga where I found all the typical milonga things and people you have described before. Partly out of choice, I have been sitting out quite a lot, which did not bother me that much because I enjoy listening to the music and watching people dancing, but still that has led me to wonder how invitations are made. I know that familiarity, approachability, prettiness and level count but I am still puzzled. I am also disheartened as to how good classes can really be. I am told I am going to be a good dancer but I am inexperienced. Although I am not in a hurry I really do not see how I can improve in a reasonable amount of time if good dancers will not ask me and if classes do not teach me much. I feel like I am in tango limbo, and worse still I feel that it could not be so. I realise this can sound winy and trite, but my question is this: provided that I am a friendly, average looking girl, new in town, and that I do not dress to kill, how good do I have to be for a good dancer to want to dance with me?

Dear Sara,

Your question ties in with a recent post: Fear of the Milongas.  I think Sophie summed up in her recent comment what I have been saying all along.  It isn’t always about how good a dancer you are, but about how nice a person you are and how sociable you are.  You need to put yourself out there at the Milongas and make friends.  Take the classes before the Milongas and make friends with the men and women.  On occasion, you might actually even learn something in those lessons to improve your dancing.  Go to the practicas and practice.

Smile, a lot.  If you put your attention on being sociable rather than on how much you are dancing, the dancing will eventually come.  Oh, and PLEASE be selective with your dance partners.  Listen to what the other women say.  We have all been there.  In fact, I am pretty much back to where I started on the dancing front, but that is by choice now and I have a lot more people to talk to if I want to.

If you are not getting what you really want out of your evening, then that is the time to leave.  I leave when I am tired, or when I know that I won’t be getting any more dances or good conversation.

I have seen the so-called good dancers dance with women that were not good dancers.  So what goes on in a man’s mind when they ask a woman to dance is sometimes beyond my comprehension, unless the woman is so obviously attractive or seemingly available. 😉

I have danced with some of the so-called ‘good’ dancers and have been left feeling cold afterwards.  In my opinion, the good dancers are those that dance with feeling, and that isn’t something that one can always see on the dance floor.  I recently accepted a dance with a young man I hadn’t danced with before or seen dancing.  I took a risk and was glad I did.  It doesn’t always work out like that.  It was my choice.  When I watched him on the dance floor afterwards, I didn’t notice anything special, but I remembered how it felt.  Please keep that in mind, the feeling, when you have a dance with someone.

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