Some one said to me that my views come across as extreme, I hope that is not so. My presentation is always on the jokey side, I never take myself too seriously and I hope my readers do not either. That is why I always ask for comments and there is an open invitation to anyone with my email to drop me a line if they think I have said anything in any way upsetting. That does not however mean I will give up editorial control, what I say here is my own thoughts, comments, unless abusive or spam, will always be published whether or not I agree with them, but I will change my own words only if they upset or seem to suggest something other than I intended.
My views and my heart are very much with traditional tango but allsorts are tolerated here, the community is not big enough to split. You will not get me doing tango to non tango music, but if others choose, so be it. Expect me to be sitting down though.
On the subject of extreme views I have just read a very interesting article called Tango Tyrant. I desperately wanted to comment, but in the way of these things, when you really want to comment, comments are not allowed.
So hopefully I will not be in too much trouble if I quote bits of it here.
Our Tango Tyrant said many of the things I do, but as is so often the case, he also says things to which I would not agree like “A proper Milonga should have a curtain at the door” while this is often true, surely you cannot decide on a places authenticity by one piece of soft furnishing. I could go on about where we agree or not, but this is not my point. My point is that, tango is different things to different people, we can comment gently, we can advise, correct even (to a limit) but we should not be rude or forceful.
People reading my blogs may get the impression that I can be a bit of a Tango Tyrant, I hope I am not. My methods are more softly spoken; I will dance with a woman and slowly introduce some complexity. If she goes off on her own I will let her this time but then take a more firm hold, if she fails to follow I will try again or something else. The Milonga floor is no place to teach or to lecture.
Fortunately now in this part of the woods ladies are taught to follow and not taught complex routines. This does not mean all women follow well here, we do get wilful women, who enjoy tango in their own way. While I find it frustrating at times, they seem to enjoy it and if I stood there lecturing them, they would not want to dance with me, if they stayed with tango at all. No, by constantly giving good lead and waiting while they return after their excursions I think they will in time become good followers rather than resentful as they could if I were more aggressive.
Catch me on a bad day and I can seem aggressive, this is an unfortunate side effect of having to work long hours. When I arrive at a tango class after being awake already seventeen hours and after four hours sleep I hope that my followers will understand and forgive me.
There must be rules, in everything you do and everywhere you go there are rules, so why should tango be different, but to call us the Tango police or even tango tyrants is unfair.
I like to think we keep discipline in an informal way, with a smile on our faces.
Correction should be done gently and with a smile, leads firm but definite, and instruction limited to the class.
I hope I do not come across like the man in this article, if I do you should definitely tell me.
This is the address of the article; I just hope I have not contravened some copyright laws by including an extract here in blue.
Friday night found me back at Neg’s and very jolly it was too. I took my camera for a bit of shoe porn and had a fine time adding to my collection. I lingered uncharacteristically long upstairs (ain’t I getting brave?) happy to watch the dancers and enjoy the music, while chatting to Bb the Wise and Ms Domestic Wildlife. With my eye way off the cabecea ball I was startled to be asked to dance. The gorgeous young Turk smelled of cinnamon and spoke honeyed words in response to my apology. I could have eaten up every last baklava bit of him. But I’m on a strict connubial diet, so I went downstairs to join the LGTN group for some fat-(chance) burning. As I rose from stowing my camera behind the bench, a man I’d never seen before asked me to dance.
He had the most gracious embrace-approach I’d ever come across – wordless yet warm, his focus so soothing I found my breathing synchronizing with his. Was this the Holy Grail, CONNECTION? Before we’d even touched hands?
Things deteriorated rapidly after that.
(After one track)
TT: “Where did you learn these things you do?”
LD: (Noting the beetling of his brow)
“If you mean my mistakes, I assure you I make them up as I go along.”
“That’s the trouble with the teaching here; you haven’t been taught to follow. ”
LD: “Sorry. I’ve only been dancing three months.”
TT: “You can be taught to follow in three hours, but you need one-to-one tuition. You’ve been in group lessons, haven’t you?
LD: “Guilty as charged.”
TT: “There’s no point dancing with beginners. You won’t learn anything but bad habits.”
Other things he said:
- Too many people are getting into teaching and dancing tango without understanding enough about it
- Most milongas have no business calling themselves by that name
- British dancers are afraid of close embrace
- Followers who apologise are just getting retaliation in early
- The British give blanket veneration to Argentinian dancers; many don’t deserve it.
Experienced dancers I have spoken to admit there is some truth in TT’s statements. But why did I endure his head-shaking admonitions through three tandas? Because I glimpsed the possibilities inherent in following a very confident and creative lead. But a milonga is no place to malinger, so his rate being the going one, I arranged a lesson.
As always you comments are always welcome here.