We all have a duty

I sat between two very unhappy ladies. Both had suffered at the hands of the same man.
He would ask for a dance, before he knew what the music was, and expect them to dance to whatever was playing.

Now neither of these ladies is what you would call advanced but then if this carries on they are never likely to be.

Now the first lady was asked to dance, then when a milonga played, she was told she was not advanced enough to do milonga and told to sit down.
The second lady was asked to dance and when something non tango was played, she was accused of bouncing “I can’t dance with you ” he said and sat her down. This despite the fact that the music was in fact bouncy, and the lady had never before danced “tango” to non tango music. (To me this is not in fact a failing)

I have said before, and I will say again, as often as it takes; “men your job out there is to make the women happy, make them believe they are the greatest dancer out there”. If you cannot do this, or the dance does not work, you and you alone are to blame.

If you watch those who know what they are doing, they never invite anyone to dance until they know what the music is. You will never see them, drop a woman mid tanda, or give any criticism. The lady in my arms is there to enjoy her dance and I will do everything in my power to ensure that happens.

A week previous to this, I danced with a relative beginner. After the dance was over she said “thank you, you made me feel like a beautiful dancer” I cannot start to tell you how good that made me feel. I could not care what anyone else in the room thought at that time. Her thanks made me feel top of the world.

We all have a duty, a duty to tango, but most of all to each other. We have a duty to make each other happy, to make our partner enjoy the dance and to ensure that it is such a pleasurable experience that they will come back time and again.

The old adage “If you cannot say anything good, then say nothing at all” is just as true in tango as elsewhere in life. If anything I would say it is more true.
You want great dancers? Then Coax, Compliment, aid the beginners on their way. They will become great dancers the sooner because of it, and that great dancer will remember you fondly and forever choose you for her next dance.

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6 Comments

Filed under Tango

6 responses to “We all have a duty

  1. tangobob

    Geoff, I have also spoken to him and he is quite contrite. That is why I tried to keep it nice. Lets just all learn from this and move on.

  2. Bob, I’ve talked to the guy in question. Actually, at first I thought it was someone else as this leader is one of the most thoughtful and respectful around the region. It seems he was having a very bad experience that evening and is extremely embarrassed about it. Normally, he is a perfect guest at events and can be relied upon to make sure followers don’t sit out too long.
    Geoff

  3. M

    Thank you for bravely speaking out and for caring so much about tango that you want the whole world to enjoy it as fully and completely as you do.
    Tango is such a wonderful dance. It allows human beings a way of relating to each other in a shared experience that can be so life-enhancing. However, there has to be mutual respect and appreciation of each other’s efforts. No-one goes on to the floor intending to spoil the dance.
    I believe that most women understand that in tango the men have quite a difficult task. Leading can’t be easy. Spontaneous interpretation of the music in order to create a dance that flows takes skill. But, without an ability to adjust to the capabilities of the follower that skill counts for nothing.
    For me the ingredients of a good tanda are as follows:-
    a comfortable, secure embrace;
    beautiful music;
    a mutual intention to dance as well as possible;
    tolerance of limitations;
    kindly words of encouragement and appreciation,
    and, perhaps most of all, a sense of fun and enjoyment.

  4. Janis wrote: “He is alone in this world because of his bad manners.

    Sadly not. He’s got plenty of company here in the kind of UK event Bob describes. Inviting during the curtain rather than waiting for the dance music is increasingly what some organisers around here think is proper behaviour.

    Some even go so far as to use lighting to discourage the good mannered kind of inviting. One I recently tried for the first (and probably last) time turned on white lights during the curtain but then switched to dim disco colours immediately upon the start of the dance music. Subsequent adverts carried this:

    “We use dynamic lighting to give a unique ambiance. There is sufficient illumination for Mirada & Cabeceo then the house lights dim during tandas, to dance in subdued light.”

    Full marks for honesty. This forewarns anyone looking for a traditional milonga that this event is actually a tango disco where bad-mannered inviting is the norm.

  5. jantango

    Bob, you need to do the tango community a favor by taking this guy aside to talk to him about his ungentlemanly behavior. He is alone in this world because of his bad manners. He needs to be told that a woman has the right to accept or decline an invitation after hearing the music. And he needs to learn the head movement for making invitations. If anyone can get these things across to him, you can.

  6. Well said, Bob!

    The girl’s job is to have a good time and the guy’s job is to give it to her.

    And to every girl invited by guys who won’t wait to hear if the music will suit her: Just Cabaceo No.

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