Ask Arlene…Fear of the Milongas

Hello All,

Please note that I have quite a few saved comments for Ask Arlene that I am trying to work my way through.  I will be answering them, slowly but surely, as there are some interesting topics to cover.  Life is a bit busy right now so please bear with me.  I will get to everyone as soon as I can.

From: Tango neophyte

Dear Arlene,

I’ve been learning Tango for about a year now, but have not been brave enough to attend any Milongas until recently when I attended Tango Al Fresco in Regent’s park, unfortunately I was never asked to dance! Whereas it was lovely to watch people dance it would have been nice if I’d had one dance.
Can you offer any advice as to how to get over my fear of attending Milonga on my own and not been asked to dance?
TN

Dear TN,

I find it very interesting and strange that you have not attended any Milongas in the year you have had lessons.  I am really surprised that your instructor did not encourage you, nor suggest any venues for you to attend.  (The Crypt is a pretty friendly place and so is The Wine Bar.)

Frankly, it does not surprise me to learn that you were not asked to dance at Tango Al Fresco.  Most people that go there tend to go in groups and dance with their friends, or if alone, dance with people that they know because they met them in the other Milongas.  The rest are usually onlookers.  Outdoor Milongas are not necessarily the best places to start dancing.

I have written about getting dances on many posts on my blog.  It might be useful for you to read some of them.

I always go to Milongas alone.  If I waited for anyone to do anything, I would be sitting on my butt at home alone.  You just have to do it.  I didn’t dance much in the beginning.  It takes time to get to know people.  You need to put yourself out there and be sociable.  Make friends with women.  They are THE most sane people at a Milonga.  Go to classes before the Milongas to meet people.  It is called networking.  Smile.  A lot.  I did the same thing when I first started to learn Salsa (which I learned before Tango) and Ceroc.

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.  The fact is, you already went out of your comfort zone and went to an outdoor Milonga, good for you.  Now that you have experienced that, it will get easier each time you go out.  Oh, and don’t have any expectations, then you won’t get disappointed.  You can’t expect people to dance with you if they don’t know you or haven’t seen you dance or if you don’t put yourself out a little bit.

But be careful what you ask for.  Try and be a little bit selective.  Look at the dance floor and see what you like or don’t like about someone’s dancing.  Tango isn’t always about dancing.  It is about the music and enjoying yourself.  Before you know it you will be dancing.  Sometimes it will be good, it will be great, it will be average and it will be bad.  Give it some time and you will be complaining with the rest of them about there not being any good dancers to dance with. 😉

So you better get out there.  There is another Tango al Fresco coming up soon!

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Why People Leave Tango/Why People Love Tango

There is a survey on the West Coast about why people leave Tango.

The post by Working Artist sums up how I feel about it (the link to the survey is on her blog).  I came across her blog through Tangocherie, who also has a few things to say about this.

People leave or return to Tango for many reasons.  Does it really matter why?  Not to me.  I come and I go.  If I don’t go so often anymore is is not because I don’t like it or love it, but because I might be tired or doing other things.  I spent the first 3 years of my Tango life dancing 5 nights a week.  I was working full time, but my job and hours were different to what I am doing now.  I wasn’t in a relationship.  Now I am and he lives out of London.  My priorities are not the same.  I listen to Tango music all of the time as that is what is really important to me.

Tango doesn’t care who dances or who leaves.  Tango will always be there.

I think this survey just gives people another outlet to moan and whine about Tango, and is probably not totally accurate because those who really left it may not be reading about it.  I say that people should quit their belly-aching, whining, whinging, moaning, griping and what other euphemism that comes to mind.  Grow up and get on with life and your dancing and take responsibility.  If something is not working, try something else or go somewhere else, but stop bitching about it, it doesn’t change anything.  I know, because I have had my moments of bitching and complaining.  I don’t do that anymore. My enjoyment of Tango is better because I no longer expect anything from it.  It is what it is and if I am not enjoying myself, I go home.  Easy peasy.

So, let’s focus on the positive.  I want to know why people love Tango and why they stay! (only comments about why you love it will be posted, no bitching allowed)

from Arlene: Considering the hundreds of people who have viewed this post in the last week, I find it incredible that only a few people have commented.  When I post something about not being asked for dances or cliques, then the comments come flying in.  I think that is very interesting.

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