Tango Argentino > Come as couple - but lady gets no dances

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by aaah, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. aaah

    aaah Member

    Hi when we go to a new milonga as a couple the lady gets few if any dances, How do you go as a couple and yet dance with others esp at a milonga where you are not well known. Ideas ? She wants to improve her dance by trying new leaders but they avoid her when they see me. It appears that even if I ask other women to dance - the initial effect of our entry as a couple nullifies her chances of being asked to dance.

    Do you separate - don't sit together? Your suggestions are appreciated.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    As someone who almost never shows up with a partner, I'd say that's what you need to do.

    At Lo de Celia in Buenos Aires, I was accompanied by a female, non-dancing fellow traveler (we were both going to travel in Patagonia with a group) and was ignored by the nearby women when I would scan the room. When my table mate moved around the room to chat with JanTango, all of a sudden the women did not avoid my gaze and I started getting dances.

    If you look like a couple, you will be treated as a couple.
    As confident as I am in my own dancing, I still hate being turned down. So, I do what I can to maximize success. And that included not asking someone else's "partner." (unless they are a well known couple and I have been told to ask the woman)
  3. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Go in five minutes apart, sit apart, but dance the odd tanda together. 'Compete' with the other leaders for her eye, and dance with her if no one else asks. At least both of you will be seen on the floor, and that increases both your prospects.
    MaggieMoves, Mladenac and sixela like this.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'd say it depends on where you are dancing. Steve is right in that in BA, couples sitting together are assumed to be exclusive. I haven't found that to be true in the places I go in the Northeastern US, but what does happen is that women outnumber men and leaders don't bother with "unknown" followers much since they have plenty of followers to choose from. So being seen dancing as well as communicating your desire to dance when you are OFF the dance floor become important.

    You can chat up other guys and mention how much she wants to dance with additional leaders. The 2 of you can sit apart or spend time socializing separately when you aren't dancing. You can take whatever workshops or class is offered as a chance to get to know other dancers and have other leaders experience her as a follower, although this might only get the lower level dancers interested in her since the advanced dancers probably won't be there.

    If it is a new milonga that you will be returning to, eventually it will probably sort itself out, especially if your partner is a good dancer. If it is somewhere you won't be going back to (for instance while traveling) it probably will increase her chances if you arrive separately, but she's still got the odds against her as an unknown follower.
    sixela likes this.
  5. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I go to festivals with my girlfriend, and we are keenly aware of this phenomena.

    When a follower is associated with a particular guy at a milonga, she tends to become invisible. I think it's largely unconscious on the guys' part (at least I hope). It's partly because guys want to be careful about being seen as infringing on someone's lady, partly because, while a romantic relationship is usually not a possibility, the idea of availability is still attractive.

    I'll go in 5 minutes after her and sit at a separate location. I'll refrain from dancing with her until she's had a couple of tandas with other leaders. I'll keep an eye out, and if I see she hasn't been asked for 2 or 3 tandas, I'll go and ask her. I'll always dance last tanda with her. For her part, she's gotten better at all of the little follower tricks you can use to get more dances. Don't sit in one location too long. Chat with other followers, smile, have a contant mirada with out it being too aggressive, aka "prairie doggin'" .

    I often times wish we could just sit beside each other all night and chat between dances. But after the milonga, we have so much to talk about: good/bad dances, people whose clothing we really admired, what we thought of the DJing, the performances, etc. The after-milonga debriefing is a great bonding experience :)
    aaah, Mladenac and wooh like this.
  6. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Chatting with other followers can be useful if you mean (and I think that you do mean) to be passing brief, friendly conversation with a variety of people; but a strategy that means that you may hardly dance, if at all, is to go and sit (and then chat) among a group of followers and get more caught up in the conversation than in the process of getting those dances.

    I've lost count of the number of times that I have spotted a group of ladies, all sat together (usually in a corner), who after a while, stop even looking up or pausing their chat at cortina time. It doesn't matter how intently you look at the group, or an individual in it: they're talking, and talking and talking. They might as well be wearing t-shirts with 'Planchadora' printed across the front. Once I've spotted where they sit, I don't look that way again, it's a waste of time, and worse, dances may be lost if the mirada isn't more profitably directed.

    I've had my fair share of evenings when I have danced very little, and with four-song tandas, the opportunities to get onto the floor are few with each passing hour, so it can be dispiriting to sit out for very long. Perhaps it is face-saving, to some extent: and it's better to get some pleasure from the conversation, than to sit alone and get none, but it seems rarely to be a strategy to dance.
  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I'd rather dance with a person who talk on the milonga, it means she is friendly person.
    And while not dancing I observe the podium and human interaction on the side if I don't talk.

    There are many small tricks she could learn from other followers while chatting.
    It's always positive to greet everybody and be a kind person.
    Men don't dance with best follower through out the evening.
    Kindness and friendliness is one of criteria when I invite follower for dancing.

    Some other perspective on the subject.
    aaah likes this.
  8. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    I can't stop laughing (and crying a bit inside too)... and it's the same reason I usually wear something skimpy to any social dance. Or I need to get aggressive and start asking men to dance.
  9. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Because of my answer or the video?

    Be friendly and polite and you should get dances. Not immediately but over time definitely.
    Be careful about your posture and listen to music while sitting.
    Men tend to observe you as a package (personality, kindness, technique, musicality)
    As told in video some leaders have their priorities and relationship that are built during milongas.
    So there are obligatory dances and it can get personal so building relationship is important.
    Hot chicks might get more dances at first, but over time leaders will wait until she gets better dancer.

    Obligation of the host is to dance with new dancers coming to milonga. ;)
    Some people like to invite foreign dancers, some not. That's life.
  10. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    @Mladenac Mostly due to the perception of the men in the video. I've driven over an hour before only to get 1-2 dances for a 1-2 hour long event and after not being asked it gets a bit annoying. Although this was mostly in part due to the number of women that showed up vs. men. There were easily 4 times as many women as there were men.
  11. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I also know women who travelled so much for a milonga and have same experience as yours.
    That's life as tango follower and there are ways to stand out.
    And that things needs to be developed as musicality and dancing technique.

    If it was regular milonga then you need to win a dance.
    There are 4 more woman than you and if you want to dance you need to get noticed.
    Ask your teachers how to get noticed: male and female.
    As you practice cabeceo there are other tricks you could do (read post above)

    Regarding that video and that kind of men.
    The video is mocking them because they cannot recognize proper dancer.
  12. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    I usually go as a loner and yes I won't invite the wife if the husband is sitting at the same table. Even if he's away at the bar or outside for a cigarette, I won't invite the lady. Only if I can see the husband dancing with another wife than his, will I invite the lady.
  13. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    If somebody does not talk to others in the milonga it does not mean he or she is an unfriendly person. They might be more into listening to music, for example.
  14. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Yes and Yes. When I 1st began going to milongas I was at a milonga held in a restaurant. A friend shared my table as we had a snack. When she was done she explained that she would have to sit elsewhere because the other men would not ask her to dance if we sat together. I've since seen that was true & done it myself. A common approach that I've seen used by many couples - walk in the door seperately or seperate at the door, sit seperately, after mirada & cabeceo dance with her so that other men can see that she is responsive to cabeceo & that she can dance. Seperate again. Repeat.

    Personally, I avoid women who are involved in conversations at the milongas. I am more likely to notice and ask an unknown woman who seems to be listening to & appreciating the music.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I find this thread so discouraging. Maybe I'm in some weird alternative universe here in the Northeastern USA, but I don't know a single couple in my regular tango travels in which the female partner has no interest in dancing with other leaders.

    Not one.

    Maybe the pattern in BA is that couples sit together when they only want to dance with each other, but I've never personally known a couple from the US that wanted to be exclusive or that wanted to have to sit apart for the evening just so the lady could dance. I have known a few couples where the MAN had little interest in dancing with anyone but his regular partner, but even in those couples, the woman wanted to dance as much as possible. I've known couples who sat together because otherwise the woman was going to be sitting alone all night not dancing, and her date felt bad so didn't dance much either.

    But I don't know ANY followers who don't want to dance with leaders other than their partner, even the ones who have really good partners!


    So I honestly don't know what to make of this supposition that leaders shouldn't ask a woman who is attending the event with someone, especially if they are sitting together. My pessimistic, irritated self tells me its just more reasons to NOT ask a follower to dance, since leaders already have so many of those anyway. My attempt to be open-minded tells me that I should give the benefit of the doubt and assume it is an attempt to be "considerate" (however I'm not sure who the consideration is being given to... certainly not the lady who would like to be dancing!).

    But it really doesn't make any sense. If you support the use of cabeceo (as so many here at DF seem to do) then why wouldn't you just cabeceo the lady and see if she is interested? If for some reason cabeceo isn't working at the event, there are ways to find out if the couple is dancing with other partners... like, if nothing else... ASKING HER TO DANCE.

    Has anyone here really had THAT much trouble, heartache, or difficulty over having coupled-up followers turning down their invitation to dance? Are you sure it was some broader "I only dance with my partner" reason and not just YOU she was turning down? Even the followers I know that want to dance a lot have standards and will still turn certain leaders down. Even the single women do! Are there really so many followers at events who won't dance with anyone but the person they came with, that it's more than just an occasional (and possibly rare) issue to have to worry about at all?

    Has anyone here had an instance where a man got disturbingly upset with you just because you asked his date to dance? Has this actually happened to anyone more than once, much less on a regular basis?

    In this supposedly enlightened day and age, do we women really need to fake being out on our own just to be considered socially (not sexually) available and not under the purview of a man? Is it really that man's choice that we do or don't dance?

    Should we just institute a dress code for women: Short, tight and revealing if you are available for dancing... burkas if you're not?
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
    brunoalfirevic likes this.
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It doesn't have anything to do with being under anyone's purview.
    It has to do with being a couple. Or not.
    And I can tell you that if two women look like they are a couple, I won't ask either of them unless they are establishing eye contact.

    And, you know if someone IS looking around, not sitting entwined with their partner, or if they are standing and gazing around instead of making eyes at each other, etc, etc...
    Certainly, if they catch my eye, it increases the chance I would "ask" them.

    I wrote about the general guideline. There are exceptions.

    Actually, I had my feelings hurt pretty badly when someone who had been my favorite dance partner, as I had been hers, for years, refused to dance with me; because, as she explained it, she was now engaged to someone.
    I'm sure you know what aversive conditioning is.

    (BTW Now that they've been married for some years, and I've seen her dance with other guys, and mentioned to her how he gives me the stink eye when he looks at me (I usually give her a big hug when I see her), and she said, "He looks at all the guys that way," I'e danced with her once, and may dance with her again (they don't come out much.)

    Not AT, but last week I had someone abort a dance with me because of the way I do two step (with the "red neck" over the shoulder frame.) Other than that I had a very good night dancing. But, I always struggle with that one negative incident that keeps coming into my head, rather than the good things. So, I avoid setting myself up for those rejections. Or, I do things that maximize the chance of having a good result.

    Again, I'm by no means insecure about my dancing. And maybe other people aren't bothered so much by the occasional rejection. But that's how it is for me.

    Here's another tip for couples. If you sit in a booth, don't put the woman against the wall if you want other people to ask her to dance.
    Also, go to any lesson before the milonga. Rotate, and tell everyone you are there to dance with as many people as possible.
    Mladenac likes this.
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    You are assuming that because someone is in a couple, that they are off limits, when in fact, in my experience, it is FAR more likely that they aren't.

    It seems to me that you should probably try to just let it go that a previous partner started turning you down when she got engaged. We followers get rejected all the time, in the form of being completely ignored by leaders, including oftentimes being ignored by leaders who have danced with us in the past and even those who expressed delight at dancing with us! We have to get used to being "turned down" even if it isn't as direct as what you experienced, it still hurts just as bad because it is still rejection. And we experience it multiple times per night EVERY time we go out to tango!

    At least you got to know her reason and it had nothing to do with you. We're usually playing "WTH?" when a leader who has expressed (what we assumed was) a sincere enjoyment of dancing with us subsequently avoids us for 4 events in a row, only to praise us again at the 5th.(and then ignore us again for another 3-4 events)

    It would be interesting to find out whether if women were more encouraged to do the asking, if they would relate the same way to a man being in a couple? I honestly don't know.

    The idea of being under the man's purview comes from the notion that one should ask the man if one can dance with the lady instead of asking the lady herself. I've seen that brought up and defended on these threads before. While that wasn't specifically mentioned in this thread, it was a natural extension of the topic to include discussion of that idea.
    ocean-daughter, wooh and Mladenac like this.
  18. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Even men play "games".

    And there are some reasons we don't know and we take it personally.
    Maybe that person is not in the mood so he/she won't spoil the experience.
    Or we are not in the mood and he/she won't spoil the experience.

    I had a situation when because of that I didn't dance for some time with someone.
    And when certain follower recognized my bad mood that evening, move away.
    We mingled and danced on the following occasion.

    Social dancing involves social skills.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2015
  19. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    She praised you too much so you have become blacklisted. :cool:
  20. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    Well, in my little corner of the tango world, this stuff doesn't happen. Couples come together, sit together, and dance with everyone else and it's not an issue. I've personally gone to milongas with a female friend, sat together, danced the first tanda together, and then danced with other people the rest of the night, with the occasional tandas together. It really was no big deal.

    I do know couples who only dance with each other and are generally left alone, but I think that's their choice. If the woman looks around for a cabeceo, or the man goes off to invite other women, they both will get dances based on the same criteria as everyone else.

    That said, I do know of a few men who do not invite women they know are not single or are there with their husbands/boyfriends, but they are not the norm. I can only guess at their motivations, and for the women who are there to dance, it's probably not much of a loss...

Share This Page