Tango Argentino > Having fun at milongas

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Gssh, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    I wish I was patient enough to give leading a go. The few times I've tried it I thought it was really, really difficult. I definitely did not get any compliments. But then I was dancing with a leader who tried following for the first time, and for him it was a breeze... Very annoying! ;)

    But I can imagine that, if nothing else, learning how to lead must give you a deeper understanding of the follower's role, which I'm missing out on.
  2. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    We have some disgustlingly snobby places here in London and of course its always tough for beginning followers and as JID pointed out even for those who've been dancing for a year or two. Negrachas (the Mecca) was my first milonga outting and didn't get one dance for many months but I still kept going. To watch. To Learn. Then I just started focussing on the men and thought "sod it, I need to dance and to keep dancing I need to learn to lead". My advice for followers however (what I did) is keep two milongas on the trot: the friendly more benign one to attend where you'll have fun and get dances and the other: the snobby-not-so-easy-to-get-a-dance-less-benign. You use this one to watch, learn and monitor and of course always an incentive to one day show (you will) those b*stards that never gave you the time of day before.
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Heather, I respect your approach and I am glad it has worked for you. But for me, I want to get my money's worth. My budget is limited and I do not want to pay admission and end up sitting all night. Even at my "friendly" milonga, I sit some of the time (all the ladies do) because there aren't enough leaders, so I have sufficient opportunity to watch and learn there anyway.

    The unfriendly place doesn't deserve my money, plain and simple. I'm just following the laws of economics; I won't support a place that doesn't support me in return. As long as the unfriendly place keeps getting people's money, there is no incentive for it to become more friendly.

    I can understand the satisfaction of "showing those b*tards" but for the most part, I just don't care that much. My feeling is, nice people will be nice to me from the start and those are the people I appreciate; b*tards just aren't worth my effort. When I dance with them, their negative vibe comes through and I don't enjoy the dance.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  4. ericajones80

    ericajones80 New Member

    I agree. It isn't worth going somewhere where you have to pay a good amount to get into when people are going to treat you badly. I can't stand dance snobs!!! ugh
  5. spectator

    spectator Member

    To be fair, some of the places that seem snobby aren't really, it just doesn't occur to people to ask you to dance if it's big e.g. negracha and/or they haven't seen you dance they don't know that they would enjoying dancing with you specifically as opposed to the other new face sitting three seats away or one of their friends. That's why the turning up often works, people recognise you. I don't think people tend to think "i'm not going to ask any beginners/ not great people" it's more that they haven't noticed you. Smaller milongas feel more friendly because it is immediately obvious that there is a new person (as opposed to 20 new or out of town people) so you get asked. Also I have noticed that despite what dave thinks, a lot of unspoken invitations are made and if you a. don't know that they are inviting you or b. have made the decision "I don't do mirada" you miss out.
    I think a major part of this is that you need to be seen dancing with someone who makes you look good, this then alerts people to the fact that there is someone new to dance with. This is why it is good to have a tango buddy.
    TomTango likes this.
  6. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    spectator, I agree completely!

    And I think people tend to use the word "snobby" way too much. If you are new to a place where many people know each other it will take some time before you feel part of it all, that's just normal. Especially in a large place where a lot of people come and go. You need to make an effort in the beginning. You might not like that and stick to small places with many beginners who are eager to make lots of new friends, that's your choice. Why does that make people who come to meet old friends and have a few dances with them "snobby"?

    I'm not saying that there aren't any unfriendly people out there, of course there are. But not more so than anywhere else really. So I think we are being a bit unfair to the London milongas... They're not so bad...
    TomTango likes this.
  7. Hock Siew

    Hock Siew New Member

    Are you referring specifically to Milongas? Or practica as well? Actually, where I am, I can`t really see any difference. BTW, I`m still very new at Tango.

    I can understand the first part. But surely putting into practice steps which you have newly learnt will help in improving one`s self :confused: I don`t mean trying moves which you haven`t really understood yet; and can`t even do on your own. I`m thinking more on things which you have already learnt and tried out before, but still need more practice. I guess ideally, everyone has practiced what they learnt and has perfected the lead beforehand. But I think that more often than not, we don`t get enough practice. I thought that `practicing` during social dancing will be helpful; providing that one is already able to lead the step to a certain degree. Of course, we should also consider whom we are dancing with – whether the person is someone we know well or not, whether she likes trying/practising moves or prefers just dancing, how experienced she is (whether she can help or will just get confused), etc.

    :confused: :confused: :confused:

    But I certainly agree that we don`t want to do the following below; or even anything close to it!

  8. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Well, this is supposed to be the difference between a practica and a milonga. Practica - for practising, milonga - for dancing. In many places they are the same in practice(!) unfortunately. Also the nuevo crowd has often started using the practicas as milongas with nuevo moves, which they can't do in crowded milongas.

    Personally I like smooth dances when I go to milongas with as few "risks" as possible. You do practise even in a milonga, in the sense that you always practise when you are dancing. You don't have to do new steps, you can practice the connection with the follower and the music, leading well, listening to the follower etc.

    But obviously it depends on your level and lots of other things. As usual ;)
  9. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    No, I don't think we are being unfair to the London milongas. As a man with the capacity to invite my way onto the floor, my experience in London (at several different milongas) is much frostier than any I have had in any other city in the UK, and we're not just talking about one or two.

    By hard work and hard lessons, I can now fend for myself and have a good time in these places, but I haven't forgotten the numerous times I have been danced into, snubbed and generally ignored. Maybe it's not tango snobbery, maybe it's just general hostility and self-centredness? Out in the sticks we're a bit more nurturing of our precious tango.
  10. spectator

    spectator Member

    Nah, I don't think this is a tango thing. it's a general London thing. You've experienced the tube, right?
  11. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I've done 3 years of Tube penance. Black snot and everything.
  12. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Yes, of course, newcomers need to make an effort in the beginning but their efforts should be rewarded with a friendly response on the part of the non-newbies. Implicit in your statement is that once someone is beyond beginner level, they are no longer eager to make new friends at a dance. That's a shame. Whether you call it snobby or not, it's certainly unfortunate. I think a public dance event, by definition, should involve interacting with others and meeting people. It contributes to an overall positive vibe and fosters a stronger dance community. If someone only, and exclusively, wants to see "old friends" and never dance with anyone new, then I think a private party would be more appropriate.
  13. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Hmmm, I'll have to attend a milonga in Chicago proper to see if the same applies here. Even if so, it should still be worth the admission price once just to watch.
  14. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Does that mean I should not be welcome at milongas because I sometimes only dance with very few people and spend the rest of the time watching and talking to friends? Should the same be applied to night clubs and similar as well?

    I think people see milongas as two different things - a big dance class where people should change partners regularly to learn more, and more of a club/bar where you go to hang out and maybe dance if you want. Why does everyone have to be the same?
  15. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I've been sampling a few London milongas over the past couple of months (Negracha, Welsh Centre, Corrientes, and the Crypt), and it seems to me that there are clear venue-specific levels of "snobbery" - because a lot of the same people go to the same venues. I reckon a graph is needed :D

    Of course, "snobbery" is a subjective term, and it's no surprise that the venues I think of as snobby are the ones with what seems to be the highest levels of ability. There is a correlation, and that's only natural. At the moment, I'm most comfortable with the less-formal, lower-ability, smaller venues.
  16. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Well, it looks like we've got both sides of the argument covered. I think you should ask "Why should anyone make me feel welcome if I do nothing in return?". Fortunately I see the magical word "sometimes" in your statement that means you do contribute to your community.

    Clearly personal choice must come into the equation, we don't always want to dance, and there are those we'd rather avoid, and there are too many styles and fundamental differences for everyone to just circulate without choice. Take the following scenario as food for thought:

    Gavito (RIP) invites you to dance at a milonga. Do you:

    a) Refuse, because he's not one of your mates.
    b) Spill your drink.
    c) Leap gracefully into his arms.

    I think you'd probably agree to dance. I would choose c), and I'm a straight guy. What makes this any different from a normal milonga encounter? Are the normal rules and behaviours suspended because he is famous?

    My personal view is that if you go to a milonga with the intention of dancing with one person, or a clutch of friends, it is your own enjoyment that you limit. It only takes each person mixing it up a little bit once or twice a night to make the whole room happier and generally more friendly.
  17. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I'd agree.

    To me, "mingling" is what makes a venue friendly. "Groups of friends" pretty much defines what looks like (from the outside) a "clique" - although, again, those terms are highly subjective.

    Basically, if you mainly dance with a subset of people there, you're more likely to be seen by others as less-approachable. If a lot of people at a venue follow that sort of behaviour, the entire venue is likely to be seen as being less friendly.

    Conversely, a venue with less "grouping" and more mingling is more likely to be seen as more friendly.

    Obviously, everyone is at perfect liberty to behave any way they want to - but if a group of dancers don't mingle much outside their group, then yes, they're likely to be viewed as less-friendly.

    Agree - and it's usually worth a bit of risk to dance with new people, that's half the fun of it to me.
  18. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    I never said I don't accept dances, in fact I don't think I have ever refused a dance.

    Everyone has their own reasons for behaving the way they do. In a big milonga there are people who want to dance with new people and people who don't. If you want to dance, you'll find someone to dance with. If you don't like a milonga, choose another one. That's why we have many different milongas. In a small community it's obviously different. Either way, a milonga won't last if not enough people like it.
  19. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    We err on the side of caution. There are some guys I find extremely creepy, but who am I to tell followers about that idea? After all, it takes only one tanda for them to form their own opinion, which will be much more relevant than mine.

    I find some people creeps even though they're good dancers, BTW (and even very good artists in their field -- even creeps can make great art; I'm sure some creeps have a very mellow person at the core hidden behind those layers of creepiness). The last time I offered an unsolicited opinion about one --I do tend to speak my mind-- that was not exactly kindly received.
  20. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I'd like to hear the perspective of a skilled dancer who went to an unfamiliar milonga with other skilled dancers. How much of the "unfriendliness" vibe is from skill level, and how much is from not knowing you?

    Someone suggested that a venue seems unfriendly because people just don't notice you, and other mentioned that "mingling" makes a venue seem more friendly. Have the people who have felt slighted by the unfriendly milongas tried mingling? Just going over and chatting with various people throughout the night. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but the feeling I've been getting is that the onus is all on the other people to come over and talk to you.

    This thread made me think of an e-book that just came out on this very topic. It's about feeling comfortable in milongas and getting dances. The author breaks down tango dancers into 4 types, and argues that you need to employ different tactics with different types to get dances. Note: I am not the author.


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