Tango Argentino > small community issues

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by spectator, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. spectator

    spectator Member

    So I've heard on the grapevine that a small tango community (not in london so I don't know the ins and outs hence I won't name it or go into too much detail) has been having a big email fest over things that seem to have been brewing for a while.
    The main issues raised were:

    It is unfair that the 'good' leaders only dance with young/pretty/good women.
    Young/pretty/good women hog all the best leaders
    They should introduce tandas/cortinas to prevent 'hogging' of decent partners
    men should never ever turn down an invitation to dance
    men and women should be free to dance with who they want and not to dance with who they don't want.
    There are too many women
    there are not enough good leaders
    leaders don't have any incentive to improve because the women are all so desperate to dance that they'll dance with any one no matter how awful and painful they are to dance with.

    My answer to this when I was moaned to at length by someone who recieved the million emails was:
    Why don't the women just learn to lead?

    has anyone else encountered these types of problems in their community?
    If so what was done about it?
    Did things change?
    Are issues above that much of a problem?
    Should we ban all young/pretty/good female dancers from milongas?

    Am very intertested to hear what people think.
  2. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Tandas and cortinas are pretty common in most milongas that I have been to. And being "bitchy" does not make you appealing to those whom you want to dance with. In any dance scene you will see that the prettier/younger ones get asked to dance more than the older ones. The tango scene may be a little harder as many places have the rule of ladies not asking gents to dance...but I often say that what you get out of a dance is what you make of it and it often is true.
  3. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    You'd think that a situation like that would self-destruct or boil down to "great" leaders and young, thin, pretty women which would be analogous to inbreeding and the thing would die.

    Now I'm all in favor of only allowing beautiful young women to attend but as I'm far from a great lead, I'd expect allowances to be made for newby chuckleheads like me.
  4. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    They're desperate. They will take anyone! Where is this place exactly? :)

    Followers are sometimes used to having it the easy way and don't put enough effort on improving their follower skills. I wouldn't worry too much about the situation. You just need to get your game better. Any good leader will enjoy dancing more with a great follower than with a pretty face. Otherwise, they're not good leaders, so your whole problem is non-existing. ;-)

    At any rate, the ladies should just learn to lead. Everyone will improve and everyone gets to dance.
  5. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I think a lot of these perceptions might be somewhat illusory.

    "It is unfair that the 'good' leaders only dance with young/pretty/good women."

    It is unfair that sexual predators get all the girls rather than the guys who will not use and abuse them. Life is full of imbalances driven by looks and charm, and warped perceptions tainted with jealousy. The milonga reflects this too. We're all competing whether we like it or not. The solution is to compete on our own terms.

    Should the few better dancers all choose to sacrifice what I will call "artistic and emotional" fulfillment and forego dancing with each other because everyone else feels left out? I personally find that my musical soul is crushed when wonderful tunes and possibilities are reduced to an exercise in muscular tension and for want of better words, damage limitation. There are no absolutes here, because some people are a delight to dance for reasons that go beyond skill or physical beauty. I am not a fan of "partner hogging" either, but you can't make people be generous if they don't feel it. You can only encourage it, by for example playing tandas and by being generous yourself. I like tandas.

    If you legislate a leisure activity too heavily, you start to take away the things that make it an appealing hobby, by for example denying your better dancers the very thing that fulfills them - dancing with their favourites. My local school has a "Nobody can say no to an invitation" policy, and there are no gender rules either, but that still hasn't stopped these sorts of attitudes, or people from disobeying the rules.

    "Why don't the women just learn to lead?"

    Why not indeed? Sadly, the most proactive women are quite often the best dancers, who have no shortage of partners in the first place. A friend of mine has had to deal with more than a couple of suggestions that she might prefer female company. What a bunch of homophobes we all are!

    I think the major problem here is lack of will to do something about the situation. It's much easier to whinge and be put upon than it is to take action. You can't shortcut the long hard road to tango heaven, you can only avoid some of the traffic jams, and enjoy some heavenly stops along the way.

    The attitude that leads to this big e-mail barny is not equality and justice. What your avaricious self-described "average" woman here is saying is "I deserve the attentions of the good leaders too", but what does she offer in return? She declares all the other men are inadequate, thus proving that she too has standards and a streak of elitism. She wants the best, but doesn't want to work for it. It is hypocrisy.

    I would do the following under these imagined circumstances (unproven solutions, but hey).

    Get out recruiting more men. That means publicity and community events. Most people in the UK think tango is that strutty ballroom thing, and most guys would rather die than wear sequins.

    Tandas + Cortinas. They're nice, they give structure and differentiation to the musical course of the evening. No need to enforce partner changing, as that might kill some passion before it even starts.

    Take action to improve the collective standard of dance. That means spending a bit more money, but mostly effort on really doing something to improve rather than attempting to learn passively. With a bit of collective focus, the community can get more skilled dancers in circulation and share the benefits, rather than hanging onto the few good ones like desperate groupies.
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yep. Happens everywhere. It's called "life". Life isn't fair. There are some similarities for men, but I appreciate it's not so extreme.

    My solution is : you're not going to get younger, you're not likely to get any prettier - but you can get good. So get good.

    How's that again? Why would that make any difference? :confused:

    My view is more nuanced - people should never ever turn down an invitation to dance, unless they have a good reason (pee break / change of clothes / etc. - and then an attempted follow-up is polite), or unless their partner is dangerous, pervy or smelly.

    Those caveats are important.

    Again, I'm more nuanced - everyone should be free to ask everyone. Refusals - see above.

    Again, that's true in every partner dance scene in the UK.

    Ooooh, sounds good - PM me the location? :D

    My answer would be more - learn to be a superb follower, you'll be fighting men off with a stick.
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Kieron's post is a good one. I'd like to add...

    A character and social problem, and perhaps a human problem. You are right to find it offensive, or at the least, rude.

    Rudeness has no gender, I guess.

    Though I understand what you are posting, this will not help. The offender/s will simply go to other favored partners. I am wondering what type of milonga is being sponsored that doesnpt have a tanda/cortina system in place, already?

    This, IMO, is the most profound part of the post. I agree 200%. This is indeed a problem. I am not suggesting that a woman nag and coach a partner to death at a milonga. For this, she will certainly become one of those referred to in paragraphs above. However, I do believe that she need not ever say anything. The right time/place, and perhaps accompaniment, would be well deserved and probably well received in the long run.

    Always. As another poster put it...it's life.
  8. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Crikey...all the do's and don'ts - next there'll be CCTV cameras installed at every milonga to ensure that said rules are being followed, if only to continue the Big Brother Surveillance "1984" Society that Briitain is fast coming. There are some men who will always dance with followers of - what they consider - high standard and vice versa. There are some men who prefer the pretty frock, pretty faces: the Babes. Likewise, there are the older women who prefer the Babe Boys. Women outnumber men in the world so little wonder that often times they outnumber them in a class/milonga. Much of what is occurring in a milonga is handbag mirror of what is happening in the outside world. People have their likes and dislikes and we cannot, nay should not, force them to be otherwise. Matters not that we are anti their outlook. That's life. That's tango. I learned to lead because I was fed up with the countless guys with whom I danced that hadn't a clue about rhythm, leading me on the beat. So when I hear a piece of good music to which I want to enjoy dancing to, I grab a gal rather than wait for a guy. If some choose not to learn to lead, that's their choice, prerogative etc. As for the man lacking the incentive to improve due to there being so many women desperate to dance, I disagree. Man has an Ego and Man will always strive to improve their game in no matter what field of activity. That said, what I may view as a bad dancer may be viewed by another as good. The bad dancer thinks he's the dog's bollocks. I think he's crap. There are many followers who I see and think "ooo - bad posture", "no grace", "zero-sensuality" but hey, they're on their feet dancing all night and so doesn't matter what I think. Horses for courses. It's what makes AT different. The variety. The differing standards. The pretty mini-dresses. The pretty faces. The plain faces. The hurdles. The flats. The pigging hard challenge of it all. That's what makes AT so hard, yet so exciting. Let's not force it to change. The longer you're in it, the easier it gets. Believe me.
  9. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Tandas and cortinas won't do squat if they're trying solve the good men + pretty women issue. The good men will dance the tanda with one pretty woman, then swap to another one.
  10. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Hmmm ... plenty of topics here, some have likely been covered somewhere on this forum, yet regarding these as being issues in a small community of AT dancers, not easy.

    :arrow: Perhaps the real issue is that the community is small? ;)

    There likely needs to be an effort made to grow the number and skill of dancers. Offering complimentary lessons at the beginning of milongas could help. Working co-operatively with a dance studio that has AT lessons being taught, and setting up a milonga on location to encourage newer folks. Also, having at least some experienced dancers understand there is a need to grow the number of dancers, and that this takes an investment of time and effort, could help. These kinds of things set the foundation for resolving some of this.
  11. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure this will really improve the situation that much. I'm not sure ladies need to be required to lead anymore than men need to be required to follow. Having a knowledge of both could be helpful from a skill perspective and maybe even improve one's understanding of dance, yet I find it hard to believe that ladies leading is the cure for such an environment as the original poster describes.
  12. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    I find that at milongas in small communities of AT dancers, an experienced dancer will only find quality tango that meets their version of joy with those who show up to provide it. Sometimes this will cause certain pairings to happen more than others, which seems natural. Yet if one is hoping to have more joy that measures up to their standard of such, in a small community this could require a long term commitment of helping to grow the skills and size of the community.

    True, instead education could help, although not entirely improve the situation. There will always be somebody who is greedy in the short run, and ignores the longer term health of the community.

    Ok, yet if this is a responsibility of women, then perhaps the guys have a responsibility to learn to follow?

    My view is those that would like to do either is ok with me, yet forcing folks to learn doesn't seem correct nor the best way to attempt to improve the situation the original poster provides.

    Excellent point! :notworth:

    This could be a good point.

    Exactly, these kinds of ideas can work! :banana:
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I think the number of men attending these milongas would rapidly decline.

  14. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    Men would learn to follow if there was a huge shortage of followers. It seems to be the other way around though...

    I really enjoy following and I've done so in practicas where there were no women. No big deal.
  15. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Great suggestions -

    And there's just plain old common courtesy to think about. When you refuse to circulate, or only dance with people who look a certain way or are a certain age, it's just plain rude. At the very least, it sends a bad message even if not meant that way.

    The one thing I disagree with is the tandas. Yes, I know it's the traditional tango way. But it discourages circulation. Typically, there is a surplus of women so if a woman does not have a partner for a tanda, that means she has to sit out for a pretty long period of time (several songs) until the tanda is finished. That's frustrating. I like the way they do it at one of my local milongas. They don't play tandas, but a couple can informally choose for themselves to dance several songs, if they want. Or if they want to change partners after one song, that's okay too.
  16. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Heather, I think I'm falling in love with you. ;)
  17. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    :together: - aaaaahhh
  18. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering if tandas were really created for mixing up the couples :?:

    I suppose tandas could encourage it, and yet those that are greedy will continue to be such at the expense of growing a small community of AT dancers.

    It is my understanding that tandas are also used as a way for a couple to learn how to connect with one another over a series of songs so as to have the best dance towards the end of the tanda. Although I'm not sure if this is why the tanda concept developed :?:

    I can see why a sitting out for three songs would be frustrating. At the milongas organized locally, although the songs are typically played in sets of three, everyone realizes that dancing one or two songs in a row is ok as well. Also, the sets of three songs seem to serve as a way of organizing the music which communicates to the dancers what is possible next and next. Sometimes the sets of three can also provide a measurement for to sit out and socialize for a bit while resting.
  19. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I assume that also - that they were created to allow couples to develop a connection without rushing into things - which takes time.

    But, obviously, the more time you spend with one partner, the less time you spend flitting around, mixing, mingling and helping to create a good social atmosphere. Life's a compromise.
  20. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    You disagreed, yet acquiesced at the same time. The bad dancers do not perceive of themselves as bad, and when many...not all...women tell them how good they are, no, they do not improve. Would for a dime for every time a woman has come to me complaining about a guy's dancing. my response is always the same, "Tell them...not me". Their reply is also always the same, "Oh no, he'll never ask me to dance again, and men are at a premium as it is".

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