Tango Argentino > Different worlds.

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by newbie, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    So yesterday on our way to the milonga, my partner decided that we were hungry. While eating, she talked a lot. We've been partnering for a couple of weeks, did not know each other before, and our usual conversation during the classes is
    "- So it's the same sequence, except they changed the end.
    - Yes"

    So, I listened a lot and, many times, could not believe what I was hearing.. Exerpts.

    "Almost right from the start I used to attend few classes and many many milongas. As a beginner I enjoyed the dancing immensely. Now after four years I enjoy it much less, as I get irritated by the mistakes of the not-so-advanced leaders, mistakes that I was not even able to notice when a beginner."

    "Surprise is what I am after. Because of the element of surprise, a dance with some unknown ok leader is wonderful, while if I dance with an ok leader whom I know, the feeling is barely ok. Of course most dances with unknown leaders are terrible, but still I prefer to take the gamble of a possible ok-made-wonderful dance rather than play it safe with leaders whom I know. "

    "To get invites from unknown leaders, the followers here play the who-has-the-shorter-skirt race, and I hate them for that, but well I started to wear skirts as well."

    "Our teacher, well, when he dances with me in his milonga, does not follow what he says the leaders must do during the class, and most of the time puts me in a position where I cannot possibly do what he says the follower must do."

    "I have more wounds than a war veteran. Ladies' stilettos are deadly. This scar is from BsAs. It took one day to stop the bleeding. This bruise here is from yesterday. I was limping when I left."
    vit likes this.
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    The title is correct, but blieve me, either world is a real world, and advanced dancers simply tend to the more closed one.
  3. Reuven Thetanguero

    Reuven Thetanguero Active Member

    So newbie, what's your commentary on her statements?
    To me it sounds like a young lady who is in search of something beyond dancing in life, but doing it on the dancing floor. Search and curiosity are important, but on the floor it's dancing. If someone is OK dancer, he will always be OK, whether you know him for an hour or a year.
    For me as a leader a lady must be pleasant and demonstrate that she actually loves Tango, not just knows how to follow. Short skirts, on a lady with nice figure are great, but when dancing I could not care less...
    itwillhappen likes this.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I fear, you make it a bit too easy, Reuven. I do encounter the same tendency, newbie mentioned above: The more advanced a follower gets, the more she withdraws. She isnĀ“t seen that often at the local milonga, she only dances with a couple of guys, she will attend with the best dancer around. On the other hand she is seen at really exclusive encuentros. And to be honest, I (leader) do it the same way. Why ruin your health, why wasting your time?
    Mladenac likes this.
  5. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I think this is phenomenon is at least partially the leaders and the overall current tango cultures fault. Followers get encouraged to just follow, and get their joy from being able to execute the leaders dance, from what i call "being danced", instead of being equal partners in the dance. This approach is only fun as long as following and the leaders dance is exciting and a challenge. But after a follower has reached a decent level of technical skill this is not really happening anymore, and the followers have to change their whole perspective and start to develop and enjoy their own dance. And not only is this difficult, but working on this is not supported by leaders - for whom having an active partner is unfamiliar and more work. So a lot of followers basically leave after 4 or 5 years - either into dancing with fewer and fewer people, or into organizing, or dj'ing, or leading, or just leaving tango altogether.
    I often wonder if this is a function of the history of tango outside of BA, where travelling male teachers taught the tango as a leaders dance with talented local beginners as their partners, and no strong role models for followers available. (also compare the often heard complaint that followers at traditional milongas in BA are heavy, and don't move, and so on)
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think this is true for all really good followers. A lot depends on how much they are into the embrace/connection aspect of the dance, rather than the "steps" aspect of the dance.

    Of course what you say is true for many followers. However, there is also the variability of what the follower is communicating as it relates to the leaders preferences and/or what he thinks makes sense (the "What"). I'll also say that some followers are much better at using the embrace, to communicate their preferences, than others (the "How").

    At the end of the day, it comes down to possibilities and preferences.
    (good and bad is at least partially based on preferences, IMO)
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Here's a thought. Maybe her teacher is in part responsible for the carnage.

    Wonder which event THAT happened at.

    And following on Gssh's comments...
    I am dancing mostly with people here in Portland who I danced with maybe 5 or 6? years ago when I stopped going the the Viscount practica. Yes, they are women who stuck it out this long and have gotten much better in their dance.
    I seem to remember that many, probably most, of the visiting instructors I took lessons from were female.
    There is of course lots of "turnover" in attendees, but then I see the same thing at the Country Western place I go to. In fact, now that I think of it, there are fewer female "regulars" there than there are at the practica. I also see a lot more leg at CW (very shorts) than at AT, where one young woman was wearing jeans yesterday.
  8. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I agree, but there are a lot of aspiring really good followers who don't dare be very active because they fear retribution from authoritarian leaders. "Tais-toi et soi belle" (and don't disturb the leader, a genius in the act of creation, just stand in awe and enjoy) is often alive and well in many communities.

    Even I, a leader, have even been accused of "ruining" followers for "everyone else" by allowing them too much agency.
  9. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Despite our partnership I was not even suspecting the hell that AT was for her. I felt like I was listening not to a four-year AT dancer but to a four-year cocaine addict. I discovered that my AT world is very different from hers. Feeling depressed when returning home because one of the strangers in the milonga did not invite her, obsessed by the doubt that he was potentially the one with whom the dance would have been ok, as opposed to the ones who actually invited her and were terrible.

    My tango world is not about getting a cocaine fix. I sit, I put my shoes on. There is this girl, she dances well but she came with her leader/group. There is this other one, available but a beginner. I won't dance with any. Maybe I won't dance at all. No big deal.

    While she was telling all this to me, I mostly remained silent, as my thoughts were "Sorry to hear that. Here is a gun to suicide yourself, no need to keep suffering."
  10. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you do need to learn how to enjoy a milonga even when you're not dancing...if you can enjoy seeing others dance and enjoy the music (even eyes closed) then you're less likely to bottle up a lot of frustration when you just-can't-seem-to-cabeceo-the-persons-you-would-want-to-dance-with.
  11. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    I wonder if she might be in a vicious circle: She is not getting the experience she wants, so she radiates negativity, so she gets fewer dances...

    For instance, instead of "I get to wear a pretty dress tonight! It is not often I get to do that!" it is "I have to wear a dress tonight."

    Per your quotes she wants variety but doesn't like it when the instructor dances differently from class.

    Maybe she should mix it up and do other dances and not just Tango.

    Just curious, do you feel less like dancing with her now?
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I'm interested in knowing if this post resonates with many followers. Is surprise what you are after?
  13. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    On one hand yes. After our long talk, now that I know that what she likes is the discovery and surprise and novelty, it makes me aware that as time went by I became less and less the novelty I was for her when we started partnering. It's not such an incentive when you know you're a bore for your follower.
    On the other hand, if I stop caring and feeling sorry for her, if I disable my empathy/compassion feature, then what I am left with is a superb follower, lovely, skilled, dedicated and who agrees to practice what we learn in the class. Two days ago we went to a not-so-hyped milonga which she knew that no mysterious-charismatic-elite leader would ever attend. No expectations, no blood pressure. She was very relaxed and sweet and playful.
    itwillhappen, opendoor and sixela like this.
  14. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Saturday was another milonga. Dunno how the partnership will end but the bright side is, by then I will have attended all the milongas in town. :)

    At some point I saw her sitting in a corridor, near the exit of the building, far away from the dance floor.
    "I'm hiding" she said, " I got booked by a guy for the next series."
    Which I understood as, she was hiding from any possible interfering invite by yet another leader.
    "Here he is" she told me. She stood up and walked to him. She was all smiles.
    I went back to the dance floor as well and saw her applying her usual hey-stranger-let's-make-it-a-wonderful-dance routine. Very slowly, very softly, she evaded the v-embrace of the guy and inch after inch proceeded to come closer, until full-frontal chest contact was eventually achieved. He admittedly did no effort to keep her at range. Physically, well, you can google Chloe Moretz.

    On Sunday, during a cortina she gave me some feedback.
    "How comes they can't understand that when you're sitting in a corridor you don't want to dance? I was hiding from him. We had danced already half an hour before. He's terrible. The dumbass asked me my cellphone number. When shall we meet again beauty, yunno, this stuff. How cheeky! Hey I am prepared to get my share of terrible dances, but dumbasses, they infuriate me."
  15. itwillhappen

    itwillhappen Active Member

    Is it that simple? Is sitting and listening not a bit less? And does that apply to leaders, too?

    My SO - we met at tango a few month ago - just mentioned that we don't know much couples in our community dancing well-balanced with different partners.
    And we've been at just a few milongas during our holidays. Some of them did I support her a bit "tactically". (Staying aside at a cortina, "provocating" partner-invites.) Some of them did she support me a bit with dances. (One where I was not in the right mood, one with a heavy shortage of followers.)
    But we enjoyed all events w/o any stress, knowing that we can dance where and as much as we like, however.
  16. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Yes. But if you're only going to be happy unless your life consists 100% of moments of pure bliss and epiphany, you aren't going to be vey happy in this life.

    If you're happy with less, then yes, it's that simple. Milonga's are more than the tandas that you are dancing!
  17. itwillhappen

    itwillhappen Active Member

    The whole Life will be easier if one is able to apply serenity. (This includes serenity if not able to dance - and serenity if able to dance!)

    But "happy with less" will for most of us be relative to peers in our tango community.
    So as most of them do not travel to BsAs I'm ok with the fact that I can't afford that.
    And my SO is happy if she can attend an event w/o gender balance restrictions and dance there "not less" ("than me").
    (It took only minutes from "I heard that X & Y are good teachers" until "Checked, register at their Easter encuentro in a Belgian kasteel". ;))
    Not to forget that we can share gasoline and accommodation expenses on top.

    But I can fully understand if a follower experiences a different world, however...
    ...and I think the game changer is to make the effort to become a leader. :cool:

Share This Page