Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by milongadicto, Aug 20, 2010.
Oh for god's sake.
Dear Mr. Milongadicto,**
Thank you for sharing your experiences in the salon, as it were. I am certain that part of the enjoyment I found in reading your post and blog entries is due to similarities to my own experience. As you have asked for peoples perspectives, I shall give you my perspective on your piece of writing.
I see several themes developing here. In brief, I see discernment - learning what it is that you like, and of course, what you don't like. I see expressiveness - "I make it as clear as possible without actually explicitly telling..." (I am quoting you to yourself here, leading up to a question I intend to pose to you later...) I see judgment - "I grimace in contempt of others..." (Quoting you again.) I see self-observation - a rare quality for sure in the tango world; it is too easy for most of us to spend all of our time looking at the reflection of ourselves in the mirror that is other peoples’ reaction to us. And perhaps I am reading something in between the lines that may or may not be there, but I suspect that perhaps you may feel some discontentment, some inkling that there might be something more to find. I should like to elaborate on each theme in turn, and I shall save the most interesting for last.
Discernment. This is a very important development. Our likes and dislikes are central to who we are as individuals. Robert Glover says "when a child begins to develop discernment we call it the terrible twos." ( I am paraphrasing from memory here,) He also notes that "differentiation is the basis of all maturity and adulthood and productive living."
Expressiveness. Having the courage to express your likes and dislikes is absolutely necessary to being the kind of person that other people can trust. If you conceal your true responses for any reason, even in an attempt to "be nice," then no one can really trust what you say. You are not really all that nice. Discernment, knowing what you want, and expressiveness combined over time produces what we call integrity. Note that what you want,or like may be very ephemeral, it may change and develop from moment to moment, it is allowing the honesty and expressiveness to flow in more and more settings with more and more people that is the growth of integrity.
Judgment. Temple Grandin insists that pigs have a NEED for some material to root around in. Mud, straw, whatever. It is part of what they do. Without it they get depressed. And she says that dogs need people or other dogs to pal around with. They need society. I say, from looking at people, they appear to have a need for hierarchy and comparisons. Without it they become lost and unsure of where they stand. Dance scenes of any sort always provide this sort of hierarchy, with a teacher or pro or contest winner gloriously at the top, and newbies at the bottom. Pretty much everyone takes part in this as soon as they have a go at something difficult and a voice pops up in their head saying "I suck at this." If you listen to that voice at all, then you are on the grid, perhaps better than some, but not as worthy of glory as another. But hey, as one of my favorite philosophers Hobbes said, "The nice thing about living the good life is, you get to be smug about it." I am quoting the tiger Hobbes who hangs around with Calvin, not the other guy. At any rate, you have worked hard and achieved some level of mastery of an art. Why not enjoy it?
Self Observation is indeed a rare quality in dancers. The second of the two best things I like about dance is the incredible sense of validation and completeness that rises up within me when I partner with a very skilled and collaborative partner and together we create something that neither could create alone. It really is like a high. I feel energized, joyful, and grateful to my partner. And I feel good about myself and what I have done. What a relief! (If only I could just see that about myself directly....)
The only caveat I would offer here is that If you go along chasing that crack hit of joy because it is the only time you really feel good then you may develop a problem. The problem being that like Narcissus, you will never get enough. Remember that Narcissus was not in love with himself; he was in love with his reflection. For we dancers, the connection and ease and musical expression we feel with our partners is a reflection of our skill and worthiness as dancers. This can be a wonderful thing to enjoy. But if we try to use it to fill in a portion of ourselves that we think we are missing, then we will be forever stuck longing for that lovely moment, our beautiful reflection.
So if I am correct in hearing a note, perhaps a chord of discontentment in you writing, then I have a question for you: What do you want to get from tango?
That question is enough. But for the rest of the audience of this forum I will ask: Do you want to separate yourself from the herd and become a king with a tiny circle of courtesans that you associate with, the rest passing by you like cattle? For many of us this is more than enough, even if we are always hungry for more. Or do you want to find connection, not just to others, but to yourself?
Another great piece of writing that I am reminded of is Chico Frumboli's Mea Culpa interview in el tanguata, which is linked to somewhere on this site...
ahem, both actually.
You know it!
I have been reading and not posting, but had to come in and do some mod editing. IMHO, the best posts in the thread are
... because, regardless of how *******ing one's insights might be, it doesn't make them any less wrong. I think the OP is paving a unfortunate and disastrous road for himself as a social dancer, and is certainly not doing AT any good. And,...
Moreso than the community, it is an greater investment in the "two" dancers; the lesser, by having the opportunity to learn from the better, and the better, by improving his/her skills by being able to dance with a lesser polished dancer.
Remember: "Everyone can dance well with a good dancer, but only a good dancer can dance well with a beginner."
On "correct" behavior
I completely agree that snobbishness is unpleasant or foolish and that the best dancers can dance well with many partners. I must disagree with the "unfortunate and disastrous road" bit. Anyone who behaves politely because they are told to do so by an authority may become a sort of very pleasant type person to be around. They may be quite sociable and sort of well liked by all to a point. But they will never become a leader. As a dancer they will always be mediocre if that, never doing anything that might make anyone uncomfortable or taking any risks... and thus never learning much new.
On the other hand, if they find in their own heart a true desire to be a gentleman and a great dancer, then they may find a path to grow beyond snobbery, and into something great. I would rather endure some childish behavior with a forecast for possible growing up than enforced leveling of noses.
(I try to remind myself of this every time I go to a milonga and witness the playground behavior of most of the males in the room....
What can I say, I'm an optimist I guess.)
i agree with that.
can one courtesan make a circle?
one would do
I believe they call that a molinete'
so Kings and Courtesans for 2.mins40 seconds
there's a fancy dress idea
Originally Posted by SD
I . Anyone who behaves politely because they are told to do so by an authority may become a sort of very pleasant type person to be around. They may be quite sociable and sort of well liked by all to a point. But they will never become a leader. As a dancer they will always be mediocre if that, never doing anything that might make anyone uncomfortable or taking any risks... and thus never learning much new.
I have no idea what that means. Is the poster saying that if one is not an *** then one can never be a leader? Ridiculous.
I understand it to mean akin to the ideas conveyed in "Being Genuine: Stop Being Nice, Start Being Real" by Thomas D'ansembourg (Author) : "In this English translation of the French bestseller, readers will learn simple, practical skills to step outside of their emotional masks to live a genuine, authentic life. Teaching everyday communication skills to respectfully express true feelings and the power of requesting wants without demands or force, readers learn how to tackle life's difficult situations and conversations with ease and even excitement. Topics include ideas and advice on how to identify feelings and needs without blaming others, honest and respectful self-expression, facing conflict with ease, and finding balance by staying connected to basic needs."
"nice" just dont cut it on the dance floor
I'm with you on this one Angel.
i dont think *** equates to be the opposite of polite....
I know a couple of ***** who can dance well but they're unspeakable as people....
its more about being one's own man and not a puppet of rules, other people's opinions;
i think the post is pretty self explanatory, but your interpretation is off the mark.
FWIW, I know some very nice people who respect authority, and are great dancers as well. I think the statement by SD is flat wrong, but that's just my opinion.
YES but the fact that you have an opinion suggests you have the potential that the poster referred to.. Respect is recognising another's values....
but in the uk requires teaching confidence and maybe assertiveness as much as any particular aspects of dance;
its having chutzpah, a bit of character and being a 'nodder' just doesnt work, until you as as a leader say this is what I hear and this is how I am going to dance......
The French need lessons in being rude?
The French need lessons in being direct? I thought it was cultural tradition!
First let me say that the standard "how to act in public" rules always apply for me when it comes to being on the dance floor. (Too many ATers are not taught, or don't get the lesson of "apologize when you run into, step on, kick, etc, someone else)
Regarding "being your own man", "not being a nodder", etc... when you step out from the crowd you will find that not everyone likes you, or what you are doing.
If my partners don't like what I am doing, and I continue to dance how I feel, I will most certainly end up with only those partners who like what I do. In this respect I think I will be going through phases. Or dancing only milonga or vals, or those Piazolla pieces, if I can find someone whom I think understands the changing dynamic of the music and can put it in their body.
[Clearly I'm saying all of this to myself, in response to the current discussion - hence the lecturing tone: I hope that someone else might get something useful out of it too....]
I'm struggling with this one myself - but the problem here seems to be the usual one of either/or (in all situations) eroding meaning.
Different problems/contexts require different tools (personae/approaches/mindsets etc); so there's three problems/contexts here:-
1 Mastering the learning of the artform (TA);
2 Carrying out the art (the social dance itself);
3 The ancillary 'stuff' surrounding the dance itself.
The tools being discussed are pretty much archetypes:-
i The 'Superman' (striving for excellence, following your own compass, living dangerously, mastering yourself etc);
ii The 'Ultimate Man' ('ultimate' meaning only 'final' in classical German - not 'best' as in English: mediocre, safe, docile, obedient, non-self-examining etc);
To which I would add:-
iii The Taoist 'Immortal' (totally in tune/harmony with the 'self'/surrounding context, non-attached to specific outcomes, going with the flow etc).
'Ultimate Man' can never achieve excellence (unless phenomenally naturally-gifted): so he has no place on the dancefloor (if excellence, rather than light-hearted fun, is desired)... but he's useful when not dancing, since he will be a non-alarming 'one of us' amongst the majority of other 'Ultimate Men' chatting small-talk and whatnot in the milonga.
"The strong have always needed to be protected from the weak", but no-one ever does this (except where high status is involved), so they must protect themselves - this persona ('Ultimate Man') does this. This isn't snobbishness: it is proactive self-defence - most 'decent, ordinary people' are relentlessly savage and dangerous the moment they are in a pack and sense an otherness (such as decency or a desire for excellence) that they can exploit/attack from complete safety ('Banality of Evil [doers]' and all that...)... put your sheep's clothing on and you'll be safer - just make sure that you don't seem too 'nice' (this is like putting your face in the scorpions' nest).
Of course, what you're really being is an 'Immortal' pretending to be an 'Ultimate Man' - just be dilligent, and make sure you don't slip up: allow no chink of excellence, nobility or enlightenment to shine through the appearance of mediocrity. Also keep in mind that mediocrity is never static: the standard must keep on ever-lowering, so you have to keep on going with that flow (until the pendulum has to swing back up... eventually...).
Amongst the milonga-'elites' (or if you are sure that you are considered to have high status: ie the 'Ultimate Men' will want to naturally defer to you), either of the other two personae will be more useful, according to their personae ('Superman' for snobs, 'Immortal' for the both talented and good-as-people ones): but be mindful that many apparent-not-'Ultimate-Men' really are! They're the very dangerous ones (especially the ones who pretend to be good-as-people... and actually believe that they are)!
'Superman' is best for mastering the art, since you'll need to step beyond the safe and familiar, challenge and break rules etc. If you also have a 'Superman' DP then lucky you - if not, then this is what you do on your own, being careful about what you apply and when and with whom on the floor. It is an approach of Power: some partners will be scared, some (most?) will want to bring the 'high and mighty' crashing down broken (unless 'he' has high status), some will find this exciting etc. Only use on the dancefloor where you're 'sure' of your partner's reaction.
'Immortal' is best for the dance itself (barring a masochistic partner), since it involves empathy/being non-judgemental, and supreme-adaptability with no attachment to preferences (so you can have a not-second-best dance, regardless of partner's choice of embrace, 'style', music-type etc). Flow like water, bend like saplings, be an empty vessel etc etc. Pure TA! Glide over the floor as 'one not stained by earthly dust'.
Honour is also very intrinsic to this path/persona, and there is (or should be) an unspoken but sacred contract between the partners (and fellow couples), which has to be honourably abided by completely. Since it is a useful honour it will be respected in that tiny 'otherworld' that is the dance - though honour will be furiously attacked/punished/exploited by the 'Ultimate Men' back in the 'macroworld' if you try to show that quality there (even when it's completely against their interests to do so: the programming is too deep...).
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