Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Tango Distance, Mar 5, 2015.
But what was your question?
The question is in posting 298 above. Here is part of the posting:
"Why do you feel the desire to Tango if "hugging" is a problem for you?"
Thanks, Reuven007, I've totally lost that initial question. But (pssst) being honest, I don't love CE dancing that much, too! I simply must dance that way, see my picture, and I still find, the best dances I had, are those with NO one at hand or sticking at me ! It´s all about the music, for me anyway.
Not everyone must like everything - some like OE some CE. I obviously belong to the CE "group"... What counts is that you are having good time dancing!
If I would have to choose - I would choose the CE "group".
But I don't have to - it's tango, I dance just as I feel...
Dance Adventures Minus DW
My big reason for dance is it is a fun thing to do with my DW. It's rare I go without her, if I do it is usually something special like a birthday dance. For the record, if she is traveling or I am traveling, she encourages me to go by myself to Milongas; she does but it's rare I do (though I have been known to sit in a corner and enjoy live Blues music on my own).
One thing I have discovered is I am more relaxed dancing with other ladies if DW is not there. Don't get me wrong, this does not mean I want to dance without DW! One Tanda with her beats a full Milonga with others. Another factor is she much more often goes to Tango events without me than vice versa. While on one hand she keeps encouraging me to go, she expresses big disappointment if I go without her. Part of it is she really really likes Tango and hates to miss tandas, and I think part of it is she is a little tiny bit jealous if I go without her. Not to worry, it all works, I prefer to go with her and dance with her.
New Class of Compliments
DW was on a trip. I decided to go to a visiting instructors' class. It was a close embrace class for beginners. The figure was pretty complicated, especially for a beginner's class. We did a ladies line on one side of the room, a man's line on the other side of the room, and the couple at the head of the line would dance to the end of the line. The instructors would help as people passed by. I had to concentrate hard, which left fewer brain cells to deal with the closeness part of things.
Something new happened. Compliments I get are usually technical, and consist of things like "You are easy to follow," or "I like how you lead X." I also get indirect compliments, like "are you going to ask me tonight?" or "missed you tonight, hopefully next time!" This night had a new class of compliments, which included:
"That was nice."
"That was wonderful!"
"I really enjoyed that!"
Part of it is the TD has 2+ years of Tango experience, and a little bit of prior CE experience, and there were several beginners. I think it also helped the times were short, more like 1 to 2 minutes rather than the 10+ minutes of a tanda. Another thought was something clicked fairly quickly and it was going well compared to my classmates (not usually the case!). I think the biggest part was I was concentrating so hard on what to do I didn't have mental room for overanalysis of the personal and social repercussions of proximity between genders. Somehow the TD crossed a threshold and took a step forward.
There's a thought, I have assumed "connection" means you are completely aware of your partner, but maybe that isn't right? Maybe "connection" means you almost forget there is a 2nd person there? That's where I was at this lesson. Hmmm, this brings to mind the phrase "One body four legs." This then makes me think of centaurs. I suppose centaurs are the most connected Tango creatures of all time... Or do centaurs say "one body eight legs?"
One lady did not want to do close embrace. The figure was not going well. The instructors critiqued me, saying something about how could she possibly follow when we were so far apart?
The class was followed by a practica. Being the Tango Distance I went back to dancing open embrace, except for some quick practices of the figure with my short list of ladies with whom I'll do CE. One lady was dancing like she had been drinking, she could not follow even simple steps. Finally she said she wasn't used to OE, and could we do CE. She then followed everything perfectly! That's not so hard with me, I don't know much CE! I talked to her some more. She was a visitor from out of the area, and said her area only did CE, and was surprised to hear that there is OE in my area, and OE is growing faster than CE.
Ultimate Introvert Dance Night
This one needs a bit of background. I have come a long ways, but I am still a ways from doing a full night of CE. I am past the dissociation part of things, but I think I'm now in full introvert mode. A small number of people directly know about my struggles. Even so, they have said "Oh, but you are all better now, right?" DW's version of this is in her mind, a dance with any woman is equivalent to a dance with her. She'll sometimes try to get me to dance with another lady so she can dance with yet another gentleman. She likes to dance with as many people as possible. I would be happy just dancing with her. We compromise, I do a small number of Tandas at the beginning and again at the end of the night with her, and she does the majority of tandas with others; I now do likewise. She has started suggesting we cut down our number of tandas together, so we can be "like other couples." Poor TD! I'm not like other people! BTW, our area does have couples that only dance with each other, or dance 80+% of the time with each other, or have the occasional night where they dance just with each other, but switch other nights. I am not completely an anomaly, but am in the minority.
I helped some friends finish an important project, to meet a deadline, at our place. We got the project done and had a great time. I had told DW that it might go late, and to go ahead to the Milonga without me, and that I would catch up with her later. I was cleaning up afterwards, and put on some Blues music. I started walking to the beat as I put things away. Then I thought "What's the rush? I won't dance with DW until the end, anyways." I started solo dancing to Blues. I had a great time, and before I knew it an hour and a half had passed in what seemed like a moment. I went to the milonga just in time for DW and I to finish the night together. Yes it was unconventional, but was a fun night for TD the introvert.
For the record and in case any ladies in my area read this and figure out or know who is the author: I do not want to sound unappreciative. I do enjoy our dances and your smiles! I promise to keep working on becoming a better person and more like Enrique Blanco.
Kindness to a Stranger
DW was on a trip. I worked very late and had dinner by myself in the wee hours at an all night diner. I was doing a quick check for Dance Forums posts on my Ipad when a lady stepped up and asked what I was doing on the computer. The Tango Distance of yesteryear would have given her a short, polite answer, and turned back to my screen to indicate she should move on. I could tell it was taking a lot out of her to get up the courage to talk to me. The new-and-improved TD asked if she would like to sit down and talk for a minute. It turned out she had just come from a live Blues music with Blues Dancing night. We had a short conversation and she returned to her table. On the way out she gave me a huge, beaming smile. I give dance credit for my enhanced body language reading skills for correctly reading she just wanted a bit of conversation, and nothing more; for thinking more about others; and for making a lady's night better.
DW was out of town again. I was working late, and a Blues dance was right on my way home. I decided to stop by. My instructors were there, and I danced with my lady instructor. A need for more lessons was indicated! Then, a lady I had never seen before ran up and asked me. Later that night a winner of a multistate Blues competition asked me. Historically, except for instructors, it has been TD that does the asking at Blues events.
I never have done the night club thing very much. In high school and college I went a few times. Generally it was with dates. The few times I went with other males were time and money wasted. A friend's band was playing at a local night club. He plays for fun a couple times a year, so we try to grab his shows when we can. I have never gone to a night club by myself, but DW was out-of-town and gave her blessing to go. I walked in, put on my dance shoes (my plan was to dance by myself, lots of people do that in night clubs), and a lady immediately grabbed both of my hands and pulled me onto the dance floor. I could tell later that night another lady, after seeing me dance by myself, really wanted to dance, so we did a song together, too.
Since I got there late, and missed most of the show, I went again the next night. History repeated itself. As soon as I had my shoes on, a lady ran up, grabbed both of my hands, and pulled me onto the floor. She was a terrible follower, but she had a blast and her friends hooted and hollered their approval. Two other ladies expressed high interest, but hurriedly left when a drunk wasn't getting the hint they were no longer interested. Later on, I could tell an old lady really wanted a song. I'm not usually this forward, but I could tell and you can't talk over all that sound volume anyways, so I held out my hand and she took it. She enjoyed it!
I was happy that each dance ended with "thank you," no hug, and that was the end of it.
I know what you are thinking. "Waltz Tango Hustle! Methinks the Tangoest Distancethest protesteth too much!" I don't think I have mentioned before that I was OK dancing with romantic partners, or the not-touching, or just hands-touching dances you can do at night clubs. I'm kind of like a Theremin: Enough separation and nothing happens, but as you approach the pitch gets higher and higher, until it is ear piercing upon contact. Two years of intensive dance therapy later, and I'm very OK with OE distances. In true introvert fashion CE runs down my batteries pretty quickly, so I just do some with a few select ladies. Just a reminder, a common colloquial definition of an introvert is they feel their batteries get discharged by interaction -- they much prefer smaller groups over large groups, friends over strangers, and limited doses of interaction. Extroverts get charged up by interaction!
It was a very interesting study in the difference between Tango culture and night club culture. At the night club, there were about 20 ladies dancing by themselves or in little groups. There might be 1 to 4 couples dancing, and only 1 or 2 men dancing without a partner (yours truly included). There were about 2 times that many people spectating.
I had thought to myself, "Do I really want to be 'one of the girls' and dance by myself?" Then I thought, "Waltz Tango Hustle, I want to dance!" It was definitely my kind of music and I knew the songs well. My dance experience gave me confidence and a desire to do more than sit there.
Another interesting thought is "it takes 2 to Tango." It is a harder dance to do by oneself, maybe that's why I haven't seen ladies dancing by themselves at Milongas.
It's not something I plan to repeat any time soon, but it was an interesting. Our friend's band plays again in a few months, I am looking forward to taking Dw this time.
Tango Distance, you should start a blog - your writing is very thoughtful and engaging!
Many thanks. I don't think I do enough that it would be interesting to write daily or weekly, but I do a blog-like post here every month or two. I figure I'll quit posting in this thread if I hit the point where I look forward to doing CE all night at a statistically significant number of Milongas (that would be 9 for a greater than 99% confidence level, for you statistics fans). If you haven't, I'd suggest reading this whole thread, it has many posts like #326. I'm not normally so intense a person, all of my other hobbies are enjoyed at a much simpler level, but I've had to climb a mountain to enjoy Tango.
Something I didn't mention in that post (but it was discussed earlier in this thread): Some introverts find Tango a good way to lessen, yes, lessen interaction. It's one person at a time, no eye contact, and no talking. For me I enjoy talking and can do eye contact and even lots of handshakes, hey I'm 3/4 of the way to being a CE Milonguero! Rats, wait, you don't need talking, eye contact, and handshakes to do a Tanda, well maybe eye contact for Mirada/Cabeceo. Oh well, I'm 1/2 way there.
Here's an interesting quote I hit tonight from http://theotherkiss.com/TangoFAQs.htm :
... tango would, on first sight, appear to be scandalous. In either case, you can assure your mom or daughter that there is a more "prudent" form of the tango called "open embrace" that is becoming all the rage ... .
If you are still concerned, the fundamentals class is taught exclusively in an "open embrace" so that students can "see" what is going on. Subsequent classes will transition to the posture and possibilities of a "close" embrace that is the hallmark and standard of the tango.
In reality, the "fear" of the embrace goes away all too quickly and you are left with the marvelous feeling of closeness that is unique to the tango. Soon, hugging someone becomes very natural and you become sad for people who do not allow themselves the freedom to do it.
At first I felt sarcastic and cynical that all that Tango connection bliss requires is "allow themselves the freedom to do it." On the other hand, the article has a good point. Tens of ladies are literally standing there willing to hug me for 10+ minutes, foibles and all. Some are not afraid to ask, and others persistent in that arm tugging that says "please come closer." In a sense it is a gift right there that merely needs to be accepted. My area has many men that will oblige them.
Tango Distance gets Successful Therapy
A professor at a well known university contacted me, saying one of her grad students found me by googling and finding my Not Touchy Feely thread. She asked if I would be part of a study she is doing. I agreed.
The first step is she sent one of her graduate students to my city. I wore small, unnoticeable sensors under my clothes. These measured galvanic response, heart rate, temperature, and my movements via differential GPS and accelerometers.I wore eye glasses with miniature cameras that watched my eye movements, pupil dilation, and eye blinks. They didn't tell me this, but I'm enough of a tech nerd I could tell what was for what.
The researcher analyzed all this data, and told me what I knew all along. When I danced with DW I entered a calmer state, with slower eyeblinks, slower eye movements, smoother body movements, etc. When I started to dance with other ladies, they saw a definite spike of anxiousness that gradually dissipated, but never fully went away. It would spike up even higher, and tended to not go away much in close embrace, with the exception of one lady in whom I confide was lower but still elevated. The professor said it was tough to find subjects like me, most would have quit dance long ago, and asked if DW and I would do an experimental treatment. With some trepidation, but for DW and in the name of science, I agreed.
They flew us to a major city. I have been asked to not share the details of the therapy (they will become public upon publication). I had an hour or two of therapy (there wasn't a way to tell time). I was then led to another room, instruments still stuck to me, and told to dance with a Tango instructor they had hired. They also had me dance with DW. It was weird, as I approached the Tango instructor I could somehow feel a brief puff of acid mist being emitted, but immediately a cool breeze blew it away. As we got closer I could smell the most wonderful smell -- kind of like baking cinnamon rolls but not that smell but like the same effect. The smell became nicer as I got closer to the lady dancer, going into close embrace was like the best thing I had ever smelled. I had not noticed until just then I was cold but could feel wonderful warmth in the embrace. I felt like the actress that said "Now I understand what all the fuss is about!" This was repeated 3 more times; three more therapy sessions and three more dance sessions with instruments. The later therapy sessions were shorter, there were at least 2 dance instructors, and I could see I was one of several people involved in the research. BTW it was the same wonderful experience with DW. I was not sure at the time if they introduced the odors and changed the temperature, or if it was all in my mind. I have had more muted, but similar experiences since at milongas -- I can still just barely sense the acid mist quickly being blown away, and then smelling a distant but wonderful smell, and going from cool to the perfect warm temperature. I guess it is in my mind somehow that I have this imagery (smellergy? temperaturgy?). I told the researchers I felt safe and secure and not worried like before. I was a bit afraid to say anything, afraid it would sound crazy, but I also mentioned the wonderful smell and pleasant warm feeling. The researcher gave a mostly noncomittal response but did say that was "within the range of normal." BTW the researchers said they would try to not react positively or negatively, and to not read anything into their reactions or lack of reaction.
They then watched me at a milonga again. They said their sensors showed a small, and very normal, amount of anxiousness when asking a lady to dance. They also showed a little bit when just starting, but said it quickly went to similar levels as when dancing with DW. In a private debrief I proclaimed I was cured. The researchers were much more cautious, but said it was promising and want to test again 12 months from now. They expect their publication will come out late in 2018.
Apparently the ladies can sense something is different. If DW and I do a second tanda in a row, we have had ladies playfully pout something like "Share the wealth!" I have had to gently disengage multiple ladies at the end of tandas -- they just want to keep hugging and not let go. I then often get a 2nd hug after walking off the floor, and I get a 2nd puff of that wonderful smell. Did I forget to say I'm doing CE almost all the time now? I also now leave events doing the full hug gauntlet, 10 or 15 hugs later I can leave. The only downside is I think in a way DW misses the old Tango Distance a bit -- she now keeps an arm around me to stave off the ladies that will hug me 3 and 4 times in one night.
I'm looking forward to the chance to dance with the Tango ladies from here on DF, in close embrace believe it or not. I'm hoping to go to the Albuquerque Tango Festival, hopefully some of you will be there.
For the record, the head researcher OK'd this post, but asked I not reveal further details, or the researchers' or school's identities until after publication.
Dude I could have told you that. Cinnamon rolls cure everything!!! congrats however on the insights
Nice post considering what day it is.
How interesting, the same university grad students (a competing team) contacted me as well, except that they found me on Facebook - not here. They wanted to figure out why I have problems dancing in open embrace...
If I were to ever find a magic lamp and was granted three wishes, surely one of them would be to get rid of April Fool's Day.
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