The desire to improve one's tango

Yes I would love to be a better tango dancer... yes I know I should do more classes/workshops/privates...I am simply coasting along in my tango. One of Sydney's better tango teachers told me this week I was 'very nice to dance with' but I know I would love to do better. So what stops me from doing something about it?
I have decided to take a couple of small  steps to improvement. I have enrolled in 2 forthcoming workshops - and I may do more. I know I really need to do privates with a good leader as well.
Possibly what stops me is what stops many.
Time. Tango is hugely time consuming. You can give it every moment of your spare time and still not feel satisfied. I think it is what keeps so many of us coming back for more. I have an extended family, a part-time job and I'm a freelance writer. I love to cook, to read and  to walk every day and I do yoga at least twice a week. Throw in a few coffees with friends, the occasional trip to the theatre - and there's not a lot of time left. Life needs balance.
Money.  Private classes are expensive, especially if you do them on a regular basis. I don't make a heap of disposable money... and I love to buy shoes, clothes, books, tickets to events, shoes...
The right teacher. I need to find someone I want to learn from and although there are one or two in Sydney I would like to study with, I am not sure I can keep it up.
Those are my main reasons/excuses - but maybe by enrolling in these workshops I will set the ball rolling - after all you will make time to do something if you really want to do it - if I've learnt anything in the many decades I've been on this earth it is that!
And just as an aside - you may be wondering what made me write this piece today? I was musing on why many, particularly men, do not understand the need to improve their tango. Sometimes I will go to a milonga, look around the room and wonder who I would like to dance with - and sometimes there are just two or three I hope will ask me. I was jolted into thinking about this by a man I like to dance with (not my partner) who asked me at milonga recently who else I would like to dance with. Maybe the men are making the same excuses I am?


Raccontango said…
Dear Angelina, your problems are my problems... Thank you for having written them. :)
Chris said…
Angelina, may I ask: what makes you think that more classes will make you a better dancer? Around here, the worst dancers are those who've taken the most classes. The best are those who've spent the most time dancing.
Good point Chris. However what I would like to get from a class is correction or refinement of technique. I have been doing yoga for 13 years now and I still go to classes twice a week - and I appreciate the adjustments and corrections that my regular teachers provide - I think I am hoping for the same thing in tango!
I have been dancing tango for almost the same length of time, but sometimes as a follower I may go to a milonga but hardly dance at all - at a class I will dance - and hopefully learn something along the way!
Patricia said…
"I was musing on why many, particularly men, do not understand the need to improve their tango." Here's a theory, Angelina.

On a recent stay in Buenos Aires, Pedro Sanchez (a lovely milonguero with strong views) made the thought-provoking observation that women determine the standards at a milonga.

Allow me to elaborate: Some women choose to dance with men who pull & push them around, have poor floor-craft, whose personal hygiene is wanting, etc. What incentive do those men have to "lift their game"? Possibly very little.

I'll be blunt. Those men are being rewarded by women for anti-social behaviour. Dare I say, we ladies CAN influence standards. We just need to be determined to do so and simply not accept this.
Such a good point Patricia - I hope you don't mind but I am going to take it as the lead in to my next post!
Chris said…
Well said, Patricia. We have the same problem in the UK. Maltreatment of girls is something that's fostered by the kind of tango dance classes that predominate here. In class, a guy is guaranteed to get a girl to dance with, regardless of how disrespectfully he treats her. Girls cannot reasonably refuse. By joining the class they have agreed to its terms.

This is exacerbated by DIC-method teaching, in which guys try a copied step again and again on girls, trying to get it to work, regardless of whether the step feels good or bad to the girl.

This class culture is the very opposite of milonga culture, so when class-taught guys and girls reach the milonga, there's a serious incompatibility between behaviour that's acceptable to them and behaviour thats acceptable to regular milonga-goers.

Girls who refuse to be badly treated in milongas and decline invitations from bad dancers soon get a reputation for being unfriendly and unsupportive to new dancers.

This is having the effect hereabouts of creating two kinds of milongas. Trad milongas based on the traditional social basis of relationship between guy and girl, and class-culture milongas based on something quite different.

On walking in to a milonga, once knows immediately which kind it is. Trad milongas are well-lit - not just to facilitate the cabaceo, but to allow everyone to see what is happening on and around the dance floor. Class-based milongas are more dimly lit, often using spotlights and flashing disco lights. This serves to conceal the behaviour of guys which frankly if seen by prospective partners would greatly descrease the change of them getting further dances. It's really spooky to hear the teachers that runs such milongas saying they dim the lights becasue it makes people feel more comfortable.

Angelina, here's food for thought for your next post: The Power of “No”.

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