Ups and downs of the tanguera

Many is the conversation I have had with women about waiting to be asked for a dance. Many are the women who have said to me that they feel like 'giving up' tango because the frustrations of going to a milonga and not being asked to dance by anyone - let alone someone they would really like to dance with - are too great and surely there are better ways to spend one's time! And many are the times I have said that over the years I have learnt to take the bad with the good and to enjoy the company and conversation of others at milongas when dancing is not an option. Those who know me will know that I have a partner of many years - and they will also know that he likes to dance with other women and will frequently spend the whole night on the other side of the room or on the dance floor. Yes I do have the option of asking him to dance with me when I am feeling like a wallflower, but I don't do it very often.
Recently I have had some amazing nights of tango and some really flat ones! Two nights ago was truly flat - apart from only dancing 2 tandas, both good and one with my partner, the music swung between awful tandas which mixed orchestras, to cumbia (some of the most boring music ever written), to electronico and - I left! However last night made up for it, despite the Haphazard DJ. I had some sublime tandas... that will stay in my memory for many, many years. Beautiful tangos where I was transported with the music and the dance to another plane - and a superb waltz tanda with one of Sydney's (I think Australia's) Very Best Dancers...
This is why I keep dancing, going to milongas and immersing myself in the music that only Argentina could have created in that very short, and very wonderful Golden Age of 20th century tango!


Anonymous said…
"... when dancing is not an option"??

If this is the state of things for followers in Sydney, its pretty sad. Hopefully someone can come up with a remedy. Conversation is a poor substitute ... a milonga is for dancing.

I don't understand how your partner (or you) would find it acceptable for him to spend a whole night on the other side of the room or on the dance floor, with only one dance with you per night, if it is clear that you are not getting invitations. And he should be quite aware of that, no? Two dances a whole night? I believe you, but it's not right if you go with someone.

If I go to a milonga with someone, and they are not getting invitations, for whatever reason, I make sure I dance with them, as much as I dance with others. I don't think it is good manners to leave my guest/partner sitting looking hopeful while i am cavorting to my hearts content with whomever I please. And if that means some unaccompanied followers miss out on my invitation, or I miss out on getting some great dances with others, so be it. My first responsibility is to my guest.

i'd be interested to hear what others think.

Well yes it is the state of things for many followers in Sydney - frequently the older women.
My partner and I have an agreement that we will dance with as many different people as we can - and I am perfectly happy about that. As I said I can ask him for a dance if I want (we have been together in life for more than 40 years!) and he understands.
You sound like a man with manners and understanding - in other words a gentleman - we are rather short on these in Sydney, not just in tango!
I will be interested to hear what others think too!
Desert Diva said…
I'm a beginner and I'm glad that I "happened" upon your post.

Just last night I went to an hour and a half lesson with a milonga afterwards. In two hours I had only danced a tanda with the instructor.

I don't think I would have been upset if I hadn't been to a milonga the night before (at a coffee shop) with approximately 10-15 people. Three men who had danced with me the night before "snubbed" me at the larger venue with more "advanced" dancers.

I found myself getting frustrated and "teary." It was reminiscent of the days in high school when no one asked you to dance.

At first, I decided that I would take some private lessons, and skip going out to milongas. However, Tango is a social dance, and I don't want to give up that experience. However, it's rather difficult to maintain composure when you want to be on the dance floor.

Part of the problem is that after being "snubbed" at a dance, I don't want to dance with these men anymore - to do so would (in my opinion) would be to send them a message that it's OK to be there if there is no one else for them to dance with. I have to be worth more than that - it transcends the dance. I know I'm a beginner, but I'm a good follower and still a person with feelings.

Anonymous said…
Was great to see your post and comments and see that I am not alone struggling within the Tango world.

I love to dance and Tango is my first go at dancing with a partner. I am used to flamenco and ballet, so quite new to this kind of social dancing.

I am struggling with a tango depression, and can't seem to get over it. I have been dancing tango for 3 years now and have even been to a festival in Greece. I think after my trip there I came back having had the best time ever, and not happy at all with the social scene here in Brisbane. I find it like a school yard as well, and the fun and beauty of Tango does not seem to be in the main focus. There is tension amongst the followers, and bitchiness, and I am rather staying at home then going to Milongas for this reason. I am actually ok to sit out Tandas, my main irritation is the social hierarchy and rules that take the meaning away from the true essence of tango in my view (passion, music and dance). I feel that leaders are getting very picky and looking at how many steps a follower can do, rather then the feeling that the tanda could bring. They stick to the same followers and don't give a chance for others. its not an inclusive environment here, like it was in Greece.

any tips on overcoming this tango depression are most welcome! (I have tried to be social and talk to people at Milongas while waiting for tandas, but this does not seem to be appropriate as followers want to look available to be asked)
Anonymous said…
I think It will be a good idea to modernize the rules of tango.
Followers should be able to invite to dance every second Tanda.
A blue light for followers at the DJ'S and Green for leaders.
Both will have access to a dance.

I am a follower,there are men ,use there power to punish a woman for refusing amorousness advantages .

Teachers should concentrate in more equality, musicality and inclusiveness into the dancer,that we are there to enjoy the moment and the beauty of tango.

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