Tango Argentino > "Taxi Dancing" in the United States

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Desert Diva, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    And, I recall that when I lived in Berkeley for about 6 months in 1973, one of my room mates was a taxi dancer. I never pressed for details on that one.

    Clay dropped out of one of the 2 yearly Portland Tango Festivals. Can't remember which one it was, or if it was both of them. He has a few? other festivals going on: Mexico, Ashland?, and near Shasta. Not sure on the details.
  2. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    the one who operates locally is paid by the ladies dancing with him.
  3. Desert Diva

    Desert Diva Member

    $15.00/tanda or $60.00/hour...
  4. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    HMMM. A musical selection is about 3 minutes and a tanda is 4 selections or about 12 minutes. That $15/4 dances = $3.75 per dance. That's roughly $15/12minutes = $1.25 minute. So if you engage the host for a hour, you're getting a quantity discount. Instead of paying 60 mins * 1.25= $75, you're paying $60, a $15 discount.
  5. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    And here I was going to go to Albuquerque and dance with women for free. Silly me!

    In all seriousness, I too find it disturbing that 1) this is becoming more common in the US and 2) the festival organizer is encouraging this. I think it's completely antithetical to the spirit of social tango. Instead of a giving attitude, where two people come together to share a beautiful dance, it becomes about taking and personal enrichment (at $15 a tanda...). Given the organizer's enthusiastic endorsement, I have to wonder if the festival is getting a fee or a % for allowing them to set up shop.

    That said, I realize there is an issue with dancers (perhaps usually women) sitting more than they'd like and not getting dances, but this is hardly a good solution.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I doubt it threatens social dancing in any way. At least no more than any kind of dancing for lateral motives. For example, an instructor asks new people to dances in order to get business or for networking etc.
    Most people would not pay for dances, because for them there is something there that money cannot buy. Still, you have to give. Some people cannot give, either because they don't have what it takes or they believe they don't have it, or they are not willing to give. So, for them to pay a taxi dancer is more or less the only way to participate in an event. I do believe it is sad, though.
  7. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    The saddest part of the taxi dancer business in Buenos Aires milongas is seeing men who don't know how to dance tango after years of working as taxi dancers being paid by women for their services. Women don't know what they're missing in tango as a social dance when they settle for hired escorts. Some are satisfied being pushed around the floor which isn't tango. I've seen it too many times and feel sorry for these women.
  8. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Good point. That seldom happens in the NYC ballroom scene, since it is so easy to see and find the better dancers. And seeing the value of dancing at a very high level, even for one hour in the evening, makes good dancers very much in demand. The usual response to social dancers who come over to these ladies is 'no' and they would rather sit on the sidelines than be pummeled by a social santa...

    I often wonder why women who have the opportunity to spend a few $s for a dance opportunity will disparage the price saying something that reflects their need for acceptance as an equal in the situation ("I'll never pay for dance and I want them to approach ME") but will gladly pay $s for a nice dinner or clothes. Somehow dance is not considered as a luxury item that can be purchased...
  9. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    That is so true. I would not dance with some of those guys even if they paid me.
    jantango likes this.
  10. anntennis

    anntennis Active Member

    Sometimes my teachers dance argentine tango with me - with a flavor of ballroom, I guess, sort of tango – waltz, or “drama” tango, etc.

    I enjoy dancing with skillful pros and teachers at ballroom studios, and no social dancers can be compared to dancing with high level pro/teacher. I do not like dancing just with regular leads (not professionals) at all. If no teachers are around I can dance all night socially, since leads like skillful followers, but I prefer to dance with my teachers.

    I think it is ok to pay a teacher/ professional to dance with you for a few hours.
    How is it different from pro/am concept or private lessons?
    You dance with a pro, but without judges , organizers fees, and scores
    It is expensive, but cheaper than any competition.

    No bad” stigma of “private dancer for money “- Tina Turner song - style mentioned earlier should be attached to that concept – no more than any regular private lesson IMV.
  11. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    About two years ago I was at a studio party and a Chinese man asked me to dance. I think he half-understood the concept of pro-am dancing and had been told that I take lessons and compete pro-am. When the music stopped and we were leaving the floor, he informed me that because I pay men to dance, he held out his hand and demanded $5 for the dance. I was completely flabbergasted, but for once, I was quick with a response that sent him on his way: I looked him straight in the eye and told him that he was entirely mistaken about the rate and that actually it was the other way around and he owed me $10 for the dance. He left me alone after that. I have no idea if he tried to demand money from any other woman.
    samina likes this.
  12. anntennis

    anntennis Active Member

    OMG!!! That is outrages! What a wired imagination and ill self confidence that man had!! Great response, Cal!
  13. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Let me clarify: I might be willing to pay a really fantastic dancer to social dance with me for an hour or attend a lesson with me. I would not be willing to pay the typical taxi dancer for a tanda just so I don't have to sit out. To me, that would be like paying for sex. Sorry to be crass, but that's how I equate it. I want someone to dance with me because they want to, not because I paid them to.
  14. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    Concerning the darker depravation of human nature ask an expert:

    “I don’t pay hookers for sex…I pay them to leave.” – Charlie Sheen
    twnkltoz likes this.
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Taxi dancing was ( maybe still is ) very common in the 50s at Roseland B/room in NY $ 5 per dance, which was good money at that time. I visited once ( was teaching in NY at the time ) in 1963. Didnt participate, merely curiosity; and, there is a facility in NY even now that , only works on that premise, and it appears to be very successful ( All B/room style ).
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    The "Pro Am" model has had very little traction in Argentine Tango. I can't honestly write that it doesn't exist, but based on what is presented on shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You think You Can Dance, I would have to conclude that it would not be what most AT afficianados would identify as the style done at many/most milongas, as distinct from studio parties, etc.
    The old saying was that while ballroom competes, AT connects.

    JanTango, Lily_of the Valley, and JohnEm might remember the one pretty obvious example of likely taxi dancing at Lo de Celia, where one couple stood out like sore thumbs in a room full of people dancing a traditional style of AT on the one night I was there.
  17. jantango

    jantango Active Member

  18. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Sure, I remember, especially since I know these people. For the life of me I cannot understand why they decided to go to Lo de Celia that night. They could go, for example, to Canning instead, where they'd attract no attention whatsoever. Or perhaps, it was precisely the point, to draw attention to themselves? :rolleyes:
    And that was also a glaring example of something I would not touch with a pole stick, let alone pay for anything tango wise. If that lady wanted a taxi dancer and a guide for the milongas, she could have made a much better choice.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Here is Norma Miller writing about the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem during what can be called the Swing Era.

    "The professional hostesses were there for the guys who came without partners and were paid twenty-five cents for each dance."

    She notes that one woman had been a dance hall hostess since 1931. She also wrote that the Roseland Ballroom had hostesses, as has already been noted by TangoTime.
  20. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    We have a couple of Taxi Dancers, that I know of, in our community (a pair actually) who distribute flyers & cards. They are both Argentine, one was an instructor associated with a studio that has a popular A.T. course. They seem to be in pretty high demand.

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