What women want at a milonga - My New Year Wishes

As end of year festivities wind down and most of the milongas fill up again, I have sat with a few women chatting about milongas, milonga etiquette and tangueros. Why? Because at the last 2 milongas there were many more women than men - i.e. 10-15! too many, which is a pity as some women will leave the scene if the men don't come back - or if the men who are there don't dance with more than just their regular partner. These conversations have led to putting together a few New Year's Wishes on milonga etiquette.

More men would to take advantage of uneven numbers
As someone with a partner I feel privileged. I am especially privileged because my partner actually looks around the room and dances with women he notices have not had any dances, or have not danced for a while. Though it means that I miss out it also means that others don't. Of course some men are simply not aware of the problem - or are unable to see the opportunity.

More teachers to dance with their own students - and with other regular patrons of their milongas

My partner was once refused by one of the leading teachers in Sydney and was so hurt by the refusal that he will never ask her again - and rarely speaks to her. Teachers need to realise how important it is that they dance with others - some do not even dance with their own students, others refuse dances all night. The other dancers at the milonga may not be their students, but they do patronise their milongas and as hosts it is common courtesy to make your patrons/guests feel welcome. Something that seems to be often forgotten on the dance floor.

Those who have set themselves up as teachers not to sit in judgement.
A few teachers who sit in judgement are well known to the regular dancers and it is definitely not appreciated. Letting those around them know that they are there to criticise is not good form.

Tangueros to be wary of the rottweilers.
Another problem that can occur when there are too many women are the 'rottweilers'. Every scene has them. These women, like the dogs they so resemble, are a powerful breed with a prey drive. They focus on the men they want to dance with and aggressively approach asking for, and sometimes demanding, a dance. They have even been known to approach a man when he is talking to another woman or has already asked another woman to dance.

I understand from a couple of friends who have just returned from BsAs that el cabaceo is fast disappearing and being taken over by similar behaviour, so we probably don't have much chance - it will probably lead to more rottweilers.
Do you have a New Year wish to add to this...?


Arlene said…
Seems like we have similar issues all around the Tango world.
My opinion of teachers is mixed. I do think they should dance more with others, but where does one draw the line? They need to enjoy themselves too and drum up business. They should definitely dance with their students, but everyone else? Not so sure. Over here, there are men who think that if they get to dance with a teacher that they are hot stuff and then get an attitude.
I might address this on my blog next week.
I hope things improve for 2009.
All the best and Happy Dancing!
Bit worried about these men with attitude - and why should teachers draw the line? Then they run the risk of becoming teachers with attitude.
After all there is no regulation on who can teach and who cannot... anyone can, and does, set themselves up as tango teachers. Some of the best dancers I have met from BsAs and USA will dance with anyone and everyone - and why not?
I have had some magical dances with some of tangos leading lights - and not because I was a student.
Sorin said…
This discussion comes up every once in a while in some form or another.

Why would a teacher, or anyone for that matter dance with someone they don't want to dance with? Just because they make a living teaching tango, doesn't mean they are on the clock, around the clock.

I am not a teacher, and I certainly don't get upset if one of them is turning me down (unless they are an ass about it, which is a different matter). They are not there to entertain me.
Pantina said…
I love your list and agree with your New Year's Wishes. The only thing I could possibly add is regarding shoes. When shoe distributors come to milongas I wish they would bring more Size 40 & Size 41 shoes for the larger foot woman..... =)

All the best from NYC,

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