Tango Argentino > Why some women are not asked to dance

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Ampster, May 1, 2007.

  1. Me

    Me New Member

    I didn't say that. I said that I don't believe it is rude for a man to let a woman go after one dance if she hangs on him like a bag of potatos and his arms/back/whatever are killing him. It falls under the category of the right to stop dancing with a person if they make you uncomfortable.
  2. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    Hmm, I've been thank you'd after one dance at a milonga recently... by a guy who decided I couldn't do giros and started to try to teach me on the very crowded dance floor. Maybe I can't do giros, perhaps I am supposed to keep going once I've started regardless of where his chest is. (i will go and ask my teacher if he can check out my giro cos now i'm paranoid)Whatever, I went along with it, neutral facial expression not arguing or trying to correct him, cos for all i know I've been doing it completely wrong for two years. I dance on my own axis with my weight forward on the balls of my feet, I never lean and my arm rests lightly - I don't hold on or pull.
    After my one dance, I went back to my seat, and it was a while before I was invited again. My partner asked me later if he was really awful, and I said "no he thank you'd me" I suppose it was nice that my regular partner automatically assumed that I was the one who had had enough of his bad dancing, but to others they will have thought I was so bad he couldn't take anymore.

    That is why unless someone is actually hurting me, I always stay for 3. It looks really bad if someone has to junk you after one dance.
  3. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Maybe - I've not yet encountered that situation in At, so I don't know.

    In dance forms where I have a large degree of experience, however, I've never met a follower who I couldn't "manage" to - at least - avoid pain or discomfort. If they yank, bounce, or jump, I simply adjust my move set or my dancing to accomodate for this. That's the great thing about being a leader, the vast amount of control tools you get.

    Having said that, it's more difficult for a follower to do this, and I agree that pain is always a good reason to refuse.
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Sounds like a lucky escape :)

    Is it me, or are full giros a bit suspect on a crowded dancefloor anyway? I'm thinking because of the "going backwards" aspect of it mainly...
  5. jfm

    jfm Active Member

  6. Me

    Me New Member


    This happened to me very recently. I knew I was in trouble when the man said after our first few steps, "Well, I see the women of New Orleans have learned something about tango while I was away in Argentina." (Oh boy.)

    A milonga starts. This man is pulling me forward. When I step forward, I step square on his foot. We dance somemore. He does it again. Again, I step on his foot. We dance somemore... and he does it again. Fail. And again. Fail. And again. Fail. Again...

    At the end of our dance he says, "Well, maybe the milonga could use some work." I asked him, "Hey I just wanted to know, what was the move I kept missing? I felt you guiding me forward, but I'd step on your foot." He said, "Well to be honest, I was having to chase you around for most of the dance." (!!!) I ignored it and said, "Oh no that's not what I'm getting at. I just want to know what move it was I kept missing." He said, "Well you really just need to slow down. You were always stepping too fast." I iced up and said, "Okay, thank you." He said, "Oh well, I mean..." and I said, "No, thank you" and walked away. That's the first time anybody has ever made me really lose my cool at a milonga.

    Later I learned some friends were watching us dance and were laughing! Geez, I need better friends!
  7. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    I just love dances like that... I always wonder if they think that everyone they dance with is just way below their level, if everyone new I danced with was always *really bad* or couldn't lead me, I would start to think, hey, maybe it's not these leaders who I'm not used to second guessing... maybe it's me?
    I am often amazed by some people's total lack of self awareness.

    Like a motorist who complains that all cyclists are foul mouthed louts without realising that he drives with half the car in the cycle lane...
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    ROFL - Ah yes, the classic "When I was in BsAs" ploy, huh?

    I did a thread about that a while back...
  9. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    it's an interesting thing... when i'm surrounded by dancers i don't know, i'll watch the floor to try to see which followers are able to stay square to their leader and match his steps (although there are always those few leaders who can make even the greenest beginner look good, which throws off my attempts to see who i'll enjoy dancing with and also makes me envious of their ability!). but i also default to the prettiest dancers if i haven't figured anything out about their ability to dance. lately i've tried to temper that with looking for the ones who havent' been dancing for a while and are sitting alone, but it's hard to go against the base instincts. :(

    but then again, you could always have the threads about why men are turned down. ;) i'm still not at the point where most of the teachers at a festivals will give me a chance at dancing with them. which is fine, i'll just hate them silently for now :) but then again, as a dance snob, i can't really complain about others' snobbery when i'm the victim of it.

    the worst thing is when i finally do get to dance with a snob and it's not very good! it makes me wonder whether they just aren't as good as they appear, whether there is some sort of stylistic clash, or whether they are purposely making the dance bad so i don't ask them again.

    sometimes i think the hardest thing about social dancing is the other people :)
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    jfm writes -
    "Maybe I can't do giros, perhaps I am supposed to keep going once I've started regardless of where his chest is. (i will go and ask my teacher if he can check out my giro cos now i'm paranoid)"

    Hopefully your teacher will tell you that every step in the giro can be led. You are correct that you should stay in front of your partner's chest. But, there is a phenomenon I call "patternitis" in which all the leader or follower knows is, this is how I start this. Now she will do this, and I will do that.

    Whether I try to vary the lead in a giro depends on the level of connection I feel. The more the woman is dancing what she thinks she is supposed to be doing, the more skill/force is required to break that pattern.
    And yes, I will often just let her go and do her pattern.
    But, if I don't continue to rotate along with her, I would like her to respond to that by stopping and collecting.
    I also much prefer a follower who responds to an increase or decrease in pressure on either side of the "frame", rather than using a visual cue.
    Dancng aplidao has, I think, helped me immensely to learn to use my toro to move my arms, rather than move them independently.

    Please let me/us know if your teacher tells you that you should continue your giro regardless of the man's rotation.

    When I have these kinds of discussions with people, I can now decide if there is any validity to what they are telling me. Sometimes, it's best to just drop it because they are so entrenched in their opinion.

    As a follower, I think one way of dealing with it is to learn which guys expect you to do what, assuming you will be dancing with them again, while at the same time learning what all the possibilites are.

    I have often been unable to understand how some of the men in the same classes I was in have ended up with such different habits.
  11. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    An interesting list. :cool:

    I've never really consiouslly created such a list, and yet I suspect when I'm at a dance or milonga these types of things are going on in side my head without a full awareness of it happening. Perhaps I will try slowing down and feeling this out further then I have in the past.

    Picking a person for a dance seems like a highly social choice that is being made. I recall this past weekend making choices about who to dance with and who not to dance with, and I seem to recall it different from person to person.

    I picked one person to dance with because her husband asked the SO and we were just sitting there, so why not? I asked two other ladies because I was familiar with them and hadn't asked them in a while. I recall not asking one woman because the last time I danced with her she was saying negative things about the music, the dance, and even other dancers. Two ladies I had seen previously at other functions didn't get asked because both seemed a bit standoffish to me, and weren't really conveyng a sense of interest. I didn't ask anyone new to dance because I was feeling a it off for the first half of the night and frankly didn't want to embrass myself.

    And danced with the SO because she is who she is and I enjoy dancing with her. :D
  12. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Hmmm ... I can't say I have ever chosen based on age. :nope:

    And I've danced with many ladies who haven't been "good" dancers, and I will sometimes dance with them again anyway because of their positive attitude, yet if they have a negative attitude it is much harder for me to decide to ask them again soon.
  13. noobster

    noobster Member

    If I may intrude... :mrgreen:

    As a follower (though mostly salsa, I am just starting AT), I totally notice leaders who dance with older women and with beginners. There are several excellent leaders here (actually four that I can think of offhand) whom I've frequently seen dancing - and dancing pleasantly, smiling and using moves that are appropriate to the partner - with less-skilled dancers and with older dancers, and I can't tell you how highly I think of them for it. Believe me these things get noticed.
  14. ArtsySalsera

    ArtsySalsera New Member

    Can I add my remarks if I may?

    Men will not ask you to dance if:

    -You're good and have been told you are good.
    -You spin well and have good footwork abilities.
    -You have 10lbs of extra meat on you but still look darn good. They prefer tiny weeny women.
    -You are tall 5'6" (but 5'7" 1/2 with heels) again, they prefer tiny weeny women
    -You dressy attractively.
    -You have an attractive face.
    -You are older (45) but look much younger for your age.
    -Even if you DO stand alone at the edge of the dance floor and are visible.
    -Even if you DO have a pleasant or neutral look on your face. (I can't freeze a smile on my face all evening. It starts to look unnatural)

    I hold off from asking at first to see if I will get asked but then I can't stand it anymore. I'm usually the one who does the asking 90% of the time or I'm met in the middle of the dance floor with a nod of the head as the invite. (So yes the article does apply in that case but 10% of the time)
    Doing most of the asking does not make me feel very womanly or attractive.

    Of course the performers don't ask.
    I usually have to ask them, if I want them to throw me a bone.
    Geeze. ...and I'd really like to dance with them more. It kinda hurts
    'cause they know me.
    How am I suppose to grow?
    I don't have the time to join a group now.
    Do they want me to spend money on privates to dance with them socially?

    I guess what I'm going to say next is the other side of the same coin:
    I've been told by one guy, "You shouldn't look so intimidating".
    Lololol. Please, If that were true then why do the tiny weeny men (beginners) that I tower over ask me to dance. Another friend told me, "They ask you because you have a pleasant face like you won't reject them". Even though I do give back, I can't spend all night with them or I myself will not get to grow.

    And here's the ReAlLy weird thing:
    If I don't go out dancing for a couple of weeks and then go back
    some men that I know will just grab/take me to the dance floor saying, "Where have you been???" Lolol!! It's just hilarious.

    I could write a book on the psychology behind this whole thing.

    Anyway that's my take on it.
  15. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Saturday evening at "my" country western place, one of my (now) regular partners told me again how much she appreciates me helping her to be a better dancer by telling her things while we are dancing. Another woman also thanked me for taking the time to dance with her and helping her learn.

    Sunday at the tango practica I attend regularly, one young woman was very pleased after I had gotten her to put more tautness into her right arm (we danced open), to be able to dance more to the music.
    Later, one of the women who has been dancing tango about as long as I have advised me to not talk to my partners about how they could improve their tango.

    I don't quite get why so many tango people are reluctant to learn from each other. Maybe it's all the money that's spent learning from the people that teach lessons.
    Most of what I know in country western (with the exception of West Coast Swing) I learned exclusively from lessons given at truck stops and country western dance places.
    No lessons from traveling dance masters from Texas, for instance.

    So, why are so many women so reluctant when it comes to talking about how various parts of tango are supposed to work? And why do most tango communities frown on it?

    ps If there are some replies to these questions, I may be able to resist further speculation.
  16. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Are they basing their choice of dancer on age?

    I dance with these types of dancers, yet my choice wasn't based on how old a dancer was. The moves I would use with a beginner would be tailored to their level, but this doesn't mean that only the youngest or oldest dancers are the newest either. In fact this past evening I danced with an older woman who is a far better AT dancer then me, but I didn't base such a selection on age. ;)
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    i am utterly puzzled by this list. our experience differs greatly, arty!
  18. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    As a follower you learn a lot just from watching and dancing. When I dance with a good leader any tips are gratefully recieved-especially if it's from a visiting teacher!

    I think the problem is that there are so many "dance floor teachers" who are to put it bluntly crap dancers. When you've been told by your last partner (argentine visitor) to do one thing to your technique and it has worked wonderfully and some "improver" flatly contradicts it and insists on re "teaching" you, you have to take it in good part (it is part of life eh?) but try not to let them over ride things.

    The problem is that some people get so fed up with this that it spreads to practicas, it ends up that useful feedback gets lumped in with "dance floor teachers" wisdom. It can be very hard for us to pick apart who is right and who is talking crap. The result? if there's anything that needs correcting they only trust their teacher to tell them.

    ps SP! I'm not saying you don't know what you are talking about! You seem to be very knowledgable and have put a great deal of thought into everything, you may be one of the good, helpful people at practicas who make a big difference but are sadly occaisionally not taken up on all advice.
  19. noobster

    noobster Member

    Dunno. One of them is someone I know well; he says he goes out of his way to ask beginners. He thinks of it as a challenge to himself to lead them well.

    I don't know what your scene is like, but it seems as if the older followers get less floor time in salsa. Honestly my observation is that most of the older ones I have seen are not among the better dancers. I don't know why that is. It could be that they are simply less flexible and pick up the moves less quickly than younger women. It could be that they are discriminated against by leaders and so don't get to practice as much. It could be that they become discouraged by not being asked and drop out of the scene before they get good. Or it could be something else altogether.

    AT I haven't gone out social dancing at all yet (took a couple of classes, practiced with a friend, do forward/backward walks/ochos in my spare time - that's it so far) so I haven't any sociological observations to share. My newcomer's sense about this is that AT is a deeper, somehow more mature dance and age might be an advantage to expression here, more so than in salsa (which requires lots of fast moves and flexibility, and is a more superficially happy sort of dance).
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Well, at a practica is one thing. But at a milonga, people are there to dance, not to be taught on the floor. It's generally considered rude to teach without being asked for input.

    And as regrds all the money spent learning from the people that teach lessons, I'm much more apt to follow what they tell me to do than someone else on the floor who isn't a teacher. It has nothing to do with the "money I've spent"--it has to do with taking the advice of a trained and experienced professional over the advice of some random guy.

    Maybe because when a guy tells us how something is "supposed to" work, we can readily tick off a few things that guy is doing that makes it impossible to execute whatever it is that he's asking. Or because we haven't asked. Or because we have teachers that we prefer to listen to. Or because we're trying to enjoy ourselves, and probably know damn well what our weaknesses are and don't need to be told. Or because the guy has his own faults which diminishes his standing as who who is "entitled" to give advice. Maybe because we've been holding our tongue about a half dozen annoying thing the guy does, from politeness, and don't like dealing with someone who doesn't share that same respect.

    Just a few thoughts. Practicas could be an entirely different matter--I don't know, as I've never been to one. And, prior arrangements with friends is a different situation. But a random guy at a milonga--yeah, I'll blow him off.

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