You can dance to anything (of Course)

Those who know me from the tango world probably do not realise that we are very active in other dance scenes as well, and it is amazing how the difficulties encountered in one scene cross over to others.

We have known that for years “sequence dancers” get bored with social dancing, and try to introduce all their new dances to social events. This causes all sorts of frustrations to those who choose, because of time constraints or just can’t be bothered, not to learn a new dance every week. There is an obsession with learning more, where does this idea come from, that the best dancers know more moves (or dances)?

(almost) Anyone coming into dancing now is inspired to do so by shows such as “Strictly”. What we do cannot be compared, but it is worth a look at what they do; They learn a minute and a half routine, they learn it well, They practice it until it is perfect, then they practice it some more. The judges do not look at how many dances they can do, but instead look at how well they do the dance they are performing at the time.

The same should be true of those of us who are not performance dancers. We dance for our own pleasure and the pleasure of our partners, but we try to do it the best we can. I see “sequence dancers” who know all the routines, but they will never be dancers. I see old dancers who simply never learned a sequence yet they dance with a grace and musicality that I could never aspire to. I know which camp I would prefer to fall into, although, in truth, I probably fall somewhere in the middle.

The other area of difficulty that seems to be the same is the music. We dance Jive and rock and roll, not the best in the world, but we get by. We dance Rumba, although these days our ballroom Rumba has taken a back seat to the sequences we know. So WHY, do they insist on playing Rock and Roll and announcing a Rumba? To me this is as bad as what they keep trying to do to Tango, and I always leave the floor.

Dance to what ever you want, enjoy the music, just keep moving . That after all is what it is all about, but every musical genre has it’s dance moves.  They were designed to match the music as it was written, this was done by people much better at this than you or I. So what makes us think we know better, and  can re-write musical history?

Sod this I am off to salsa, at least so far they have not tried to do that to a Paso Doble or Bosa Nova………..

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3 Comments

Filed under Tango

3 responses to “You can dance to anything (of Course)

  1. This must be why Blues grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and won’t let go. I have heard it described as freestyle musicality. A real no rules social dance, based on connection and musicality. But I have to dance like this because my brain just can’t handle sequences to music. I hear things and I am off at a tangent, dancing to what I can hear. After doing umpteen MJ classes, trying to make someone else’s movements fit my body just didn’t cut it.

    Sequences are HARD! I have major respect everyone who can cope with them.

    I think there’d be quite a problem with static dancers on a Tango floor. If you want to do ‘your thing’ then more power to you if you and your partner are happy. But at a social dance the whole room is relying on a structure to keep themselves safe.

    The same is true when you mix West Coast Swing dancers with Jive dancers for example. To a Jive dancer a bit of empty space is fair game. To the Westies, that is still part of the slot that they are dancing in. So the turn and suddenly their space has a pair of Jivers in it! Collision central!

    You’re not alone in wanting the etiquette of the room to be adhered to by all Bob. And you’re right, it is also a major safety issue.

  2. tangobob

    I like that “If you only know one dance make it fit” I am going to use that next time somebody says “if you know tango you can dance to anything.

  3. A tango DJ in Santa Fe once challenged me to dance tango when a chachacha was playing. Sure I could have, but why? Tango goes “well” with everything and every place just like Spanish :-/ — if you only know one dance or one language — just make it fit, right? 🙂 We call it “Alternative. I am not a purist, but really. The last alternative milonga had people doing stationary dances on a tango dance floor. That was scary — dangerous to my partners. But many thought it was cool.

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