Men with big feet

This week we had some hints and tips for dancing to Pugliese. Now my views on Pugliese are well known, I don’t like dancing to the later tunes although I do enjoy listening to them. That said we were dancing to the early stuff and the strong rhythms and changes of pace gave us an enjoyable interlude.

One of the things we were doing was a very slow cross. Dave was asked to demonstrate with Sharon, it looked good. ( I reckon they had been practicing) However somebody noticed that Dave’s forward step moved out slightly, he said it was because he had big feet. Now you know what they say about men with big feet? Yes, they wear big shoes. Still it gave us some ammunition for some ribald comments later in The Coracle.

When these ribald comments arrived I did notice a wry grin on Alison’s face, is there truth in the rumours I wonder? The talk as usual revolved around tango, and the music. A comment by Dave I think deserves more exploration “The music is not an optional extra” The porteños dance because they love the music, and when I see people dance here to non tango, I wonder; how can you say you love tango without a love for the music? If it is a desire to become like something from Strictly, then this is not the place for you. Sex on the dance floor? Well I have news, in all my years I have only met one woman who was looking for a boy friend. There have been one or two romances, of course, but these are the exceptions. Those women who come alone usually have a husband or partner at home, and are just out for the social buzz. I seem to be popular with the ladies here (something new for me) I think that they are secure in the knowledge that I am very married, and look for nothing other that a good dance. The growing popularity of Line Dancing proves my point, there is no opportunity to get together there, so it ends up predominantly women, salsa likewise, you are together barely long enough to exchange names. Tango is the only dance where you socialise with a partner long enough and in an environment where you can get to know each other. So we meet and dance, enjoy each others company and the closeness of our bodies, safe in the knowledge that we will leave separately and that the relationship is just on the floor, nothing more..

 But what about the music? I hear you ask (go on ask me). It has to be enjoyed, women often close their eyes, not just so that they can follow better, but to better enjoy the music, I believe. If a man does not feel the music, does not move with it and just enjoy, then the woman cannot possibly respond well. Again as we danced to Pugliese great pauses happen and a lady with whom I was dancing (herself not much more than a beginner) commented that she loved the way I slowed down with the music. Come on men, this is not rocket science, to move with the music, to feel what the composer was saying, this is dancing. Dancing is not throwing her in the air, doing great big voleos or ganchos, trying to impress with your huge repertoire will just frustrate her, let her know that you feel the music, now that will impress.. It has taken me years to come to this conclusion. Years when teachers taught me moves, years when I learned kicks and flicks, and years when women probably hated dancing with me. Years wasted in not understanding why we dance, love is on the dance floor, for three minutes you love the woman you are with, but she will never know unless you also love the music you are dancing to as well.

Seems my post about the Shrewsbury Tango Rent a Mob has been taken too seriously. We had a very robust debate about the name. It looks like people do not like the Mob Idea. We had various suggestions as to what it should be called, and I thought it was just a joke, Is the world ready? I ask myself.

It had to happen one day, work and dancing just do not mix. Some times when I am not working there is not a venue anywhere where we can dance, this Saturday our friend Steve was performing at Llay British legion, another great artist Bill Dennis was performing at Ewloe, hard choice, but they were trumped by a milonga at Pant, Three venues where we could go. So where did we end up? I came home from work and fell asleep, not waking until quarter to nine. By the time I would have showered, changed, and driven there, it would have been time to come home. So for the first time I failed totally on a Saturday night. Viv did not wake me because she said that I needed it, she was right, of course, but I still missed the dancing, the music and all the three-minute romances.

I hope to make it up Monday night.


Filed under milonga

6 responses to “Men with big feet

  1. tangobob

    I would love to get real tango here, unfortunately everyone thinks they can teach and they all know tango. I may write more on this later, but for now I will leave you the last word on it.

  2. jantango

    I agree that portenos are passionate about tango. Many more listen to the music and sing it than those who dance it.

    Cultural differences stand out when it comes to the embrace. I was talking with a milonguero the other day who taught a class with a couple from Europe. He said they danced European tango, not Argentine tango. He couldn’t change them in one hour and didn’t try. If they want to dance tango like portenos, they have to change their embrace and posture.

    Those who teach tango owe it to their students to study in BsAs with a milonguero so they have credibility in their teaching. Otherwise, they are not teaching how tango is danced in Buenos Aires.

    A woman knows within a few seconds in the embrace whether or not she is going to enjoy the dance. The closer, the better–that’s the only way to have connection. It takes time to adjust, but it’s not impossible. Beginners need to practice hugging in class before they learn steps.

  3. tangobob

    Ok I will not argue with you on the motives of porteños, you know them far better than me, but you must admit that the music is important. I have been to a concert with you and seen the passion they have for the music.
    I am trying hard to embrace like a porteño, but I am afraid there are too many beginners and women who are just afraid to get too close.
    It is difficult when I dance with you and you say tighter then I come home and some women get apoplectic because they are not used to being so close.
    I read your comments on another post, perhaps I should do a “what is a Porteño” post what do you think?

  4. jantango

    Argentine men love women above all. Women are their motivation for dancing tango.

    The big difference between an Argentine and a man from any other country (except Italy) is how he embraces a woman. Women have to dance in Buenos Aires with Argentines to know what I’m talking about.

    A milonguero gave a private class today to an Argentine. I was asked to be his partner. It was my pleasure to dance with the student because, even though he was taking his first steps in milonga con traspie, he knows how to embrace a woman to dance tango. It wasn’t difficult to surrender.

  5. tangobob

    If you look at my history you will see that I have been dancing now for about sixteen years. It did not start with the tango and that is not and never will be the be all and end all of my dancing.
    It drives me wild when I go to a social dance and someone requests a line dance, and nobody asks for a waltz in a disco. You do not go to a salsa dance and get quickstep.
    Tango is and should be the same. Tango is the music first, the dance is only there because the porteños love the music. I have seen many milongas ruined because of gringo music. Of course you are entitled to dance to whatever music you love, as is anyone else, but if you run a milonga, that is supposed to be tango and tango is about the music first.
    Too many so called DJs want to be clever with the music, DiSarli was clever as was Canaro, Biagi, Donato, D’Arienzo and all the others, if they cannot respect the greats of tango then to my mind they have no right to call themselves tango DJs just someone who puts music on.
    If you ever get to BsAs let Janis take you to some milongas and you will then appreciate the difference a great DJ makes, believe me, it is about more than just putting on music.
    Sorry if I have gone on somewhat, but I have seen the same place filled one night and empty the next, the only difference was the guy putting on the records.

  6. Anna

    “when I see people dance here to non tango, I wonder; how can you say you love tango without a love for the music?”
    Perhaps they love trad tango music but also love using the techniques of tango to move together to other music. Trad tango is not the only music that inspires a richness of musical interpretation.

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