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Posts from the ‘Social Dancing’ Category


Dancing with labels

Throughout the years that I have been dancing/learning tango, I must have been extremely fortunate to have met no teachers who force me to dance exclusively the way they teach, or let alone to dance in a “labelled” manner. To be sure, there was a couple of teachers who have but I accept that that was what they were teaching – a particular style – and what I was there to learn, so no issues there. I mean, otherwise it would be like showing up at a class advertised as “milonga” and demanding a lesson for “vals”, no!?

In fact, from now on, I think my response is to ask the person: “Do you feel more comfortable dancing with a label?”


Misbehaving at milongas

I have been hosting weekly milongas almost continuously for the last 3-4 years (and on-and-off since about 10 years ago).

Recently there have been some blog posts about how to handle inappropriate behaviours on the dance floor.

Much of the time, my approach has leaned towards one of minimal interference. Only in extreme (and rare) cases have I needed to talk to the offenders. I take the attitude that no one is intentionally out to injure or bump into other people and my experience has shown that people are generally receptive. The way I see it is that some misbehaviours can happen simply through ignorance, e.g. not tail-gating people, not over-zealous in changing lanes, etc., perhaps lack of physical control, i.e. taking inappropriately large steps every time someone launches into a sequence, unnecessarily large embellishments, etc., or even through disorientation when there is too much space.

From my experience, more often than not, a quiet word is enough to ensure cooperation. Other slightly more subtle means can include having some leaders being in the peripheral vision of the offender or simply manipulate the size of the dance floor – not too small to create unnecessary stress and not too big for someone to take a devil-may-care attitude and encourage reckless behaviours. Ultimately I do believe that when people turn up to milongas they are there to have a good time. As long as they are not put on the defensive, most reasonable people can see the sense once pointed out.


A simple tale

This is a true story.

A few years ago, a small dance studio began a fortnightly milonga. Months later, once the attendance started to stabilize, a larger studio which opened later promptly decided to hold a competing weekly milonga on the same night – despite already running a weekly milonga on the following night.

Could the organisers of this fledgeling milonga have kicked up a big fuss under the circumstances? Certainly it was an option. However, seeing that both studios were supposed to be serving the same smallish tango community, the owners of the first milonga decided that it was unhealthy to create divisiveness in the community, so instead doubled their efforts to create a friendly and conducive environment with excellent danceable music. The rest, as they say, is history. Dancers voted with their feet and the new milonga remained largely empty on the nights when the “small” milonga was running, which was also unofficially known as the milonga for experienced dancers… 🙂

Moral of the story? People are intelligent and sensitive enough to see when you care about them and not trying to make a quick buck. It is not by coercion (if it is even possible?) or otherwise, but by delivering good services and, of course, a demonstrative passion for tango that you earn the respect of the community.


Some interviews

Since I have been neglecting my blog for the past couple of months, thought I’d bump up the post count before the end of 2011! 😉

Here is Part 1 (of 5) of a series of interviews (English subtitles) with tango teachers in Rosario, Argentina (map below).

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Thanks to Janis for alerting me to this series.