Tango Argentino > young tango dancers at your milongas?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by larrynla, May 8, 2009.

  1. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    tango dying - no new blood?

    Boy, how this thread has wandered. Can we get off the topic of Felix?

    I was curious about the numbers and proportions of young tango dancers around the world, because I wonder if tango is dying because too few young people are getting involved.

    What do you think?

  2. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    well - this is a more direct question and totally not what interpreted from your primary post. The original seemed to be about who is more interested in what style...

    I don't know that it is dying out, probably not, but I do tend to think that the attraction for tango tends to come a little later for people here for a good number of people.

    I see lots of kids doing Lindy here (and Carolina shag- that exhausts me just to look at), but when they get tooexhausted from all that later on they tend to move on to other dances....maybe tango ;)....

    Someone will keep it going, and maybe even some people will be smart enough to keep compact dancing going and Argentine tango in America won't become just large space eating movements because small space dancing is "boring" or "geriatric".

    I honestly don't understand why people have such a problem with it in my own area. Even snazzy teachers who have come to the area to teach for a local teacher who was going to be away for several weeks noticed how bad things were here and told all her students they needed to learn to how to dance for smaller floors (since that's mostly what we have here). Blues dancing has both concepts as well and everyone I've seen accepts that and no one argues about it or calls it boring...there's micro blues for small or packed floors and then the large and fancy stuff for when there's space.
  3. jantango

    jantango Active Member


    There are cycles in what is popular. Ballroom dancing was popular around the world in the 1940s, the golden age of tango in Buenos Aires. Then rock 'n' roll came into being, and things changed. Lindy Hop began in the 1920s in NY's Harlem. Young people are responsible for its renaissance.

    Tango is music with a long history. It's not going to disappear. Tango as a dance is more popular around the world today than ever before. The internet and television have a lot to do with that.

    You've been away from Buenos Aires for eight years. You will see a difference when you return. La Viruta tango school operates five nights a week with classes and practicas for the 20-35 age group with hundreds learning tango. The city tango championship has two divisions with couples as young as 18 entering. Tango has a new audience in Buenos Aires now that the city is actually promoting it. Many view tango as a potential career in a city where finding a job isn't easy.
  4. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    From reading some of your posts,....I got the impression that stage tango was more of a fad in Argentina. Visiting the site of the school listed above,...stage tango seems to be quite alive and well in Argentina.
    2 of their guest dancers.

    I have also concluded that for a young dancer learning tango,....dancing at Milongas, though helpful for learning to lead/follow improv., (just like salsa, w.c. swing, b/l, and hustle social dancing) is not critical in learning A.T. A.T. is really not a unique partnered dance form as some on this board has suggested.

    Also, Felix is a wonderful instructor and when Missy does her first performance, I will film it and put it on youtube. The proof will be in the pudding.
  5. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Not in Seattle. There is a large proportionate number of young and old tango dancers here... And growing.
  6. 'round Midnight

    'round Midnight New Member

    I cannot recall a statement on this forum that I have more strongly disagreed with.
  7. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    Can you tell me why you disagree?
  8. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    The soul of dancing

    We're getting off the subject of young people again. But what the Hell.

    I'll give my answer. All dances begin with music that almost makes us move to it. Different music suggests different movements. If it's bouncy we tend to bounce. If the music has more of a sliding, gliding sound we tend to slide on the floor or glide over it.

    After a while we find others who respond to music in similar ways, and we get together in social groups. Later some people develop movements they enjoy so much that they show them to others. This is the beginning of performances for an audience.

    But the personal expression of the music, by ourselves for ourselves, is the beginning of every dance. Show dancers only put on flashier versions of it. To skip the personal, intimate aspect of any dance leads to performances that are all flash and no soul. That may impress people who do not themselves dance. But it does not impress those of us who have the souls of poets and, however clumsily, express that by dancing.

    Laer Carroll
  9. 'round Midnight

    'round Midnight New Member

    Barrefly, basically what Laer said, but I'll spin it a little differently. In an earlier post, I said that stage/show tango and social tango are two different things. They are, but are closely connected, in that show/stage tango is an (exaggerated, as Laer has said) outgrowth of the social dance. And the way the performers maintain that connection is that they attend milongas and dance socially. Many times, both in Argentina and the U.S., I have gone to shows, and then afterward seen some of the performers at a milonga. Miguel Sotto says that he goes to the milongas and observes and dances, in order to maintain the connection between his shows and the social dance, and I have seen him at milongas many times.

    Can you see the difference between the dancing in your first two links in post #24 and the ones of Felix in Gssh's post #8? The dancing in the first two is firmly rooted in the milonga. The dance in the second two is firmly rooted in the ballroom, just like the so-called Argentine tango on Dancing With The Stars.

    Also, you said your daughter wants to dance like Miriam. Why not talk to Miriam and get her advice? I have not been to her Friday milonga in Downey for a long time, but in the past, she was always there if she was in town, and always very friendly and approachable. Maybe call ahead to see if she will be there, and go talk to her.
  10. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Returning to the subject...

    I see very few people in their teens dancing tango in the UK. Most are over 25, and I would guess the majority are 35-50.

    The biggest "young people" partner dance in the UK is salsa. I'd say you see a lot of people there who are college age. Younger though is unusual. I remember one or two who were the children of teachers - they were much better than me and I used to refer to them ruefully as "demon children". Heh.
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    barrefly, you also told me the same thing, except you wanted missy to get to "Gold" level first. Sounds like you've got her in a ballroom program (There are no bronze, silver, gold levels in AT).

    Anyway, I echo what 'round Midnight says. You want her to dance like Miriam, then ask Miriam. She's a very nice in person and I will attest to it. She'll tell you her honest opinion if you ask her.

    Re: her milonga in Downey, I'm not sure if "El adoquin" is still running since she started here Int'l festival two years ago. She's already in the process of planning the next International Tango Festival and Fiesta (in LA). Here's her website (CLICK HERE). Her contact info is there.
  12. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    'round midnight, Ampster, (yes, gold in chacha, samba, rumba).

    I understand what you are saying, completly. I just don't completly agree.
    Keep in mind what the topic is...."young social dancers at milongas".

    Once my daughter gets her tango feet (technical skills), she hopefully will begin to learn routines. The routines will not all be the same. As in her other partnered dance routines, she will be developing her musicality and expression via the different routines. Some will be more flashy and explosive, some will be more lyrical, sensual (not sexual,...but rather, with more feeling).

    My daughter has danced in the salsa social scene, at clubs, for many years. Her connection with her social partner, was not taught to her by social dancing. It was taught from her technical training. What I mean by her connection, is the kind of connection expected of a 15 yr. old. However, and this is were Laer and you are correct, milongas are a wonderful opportunity to improv. with one's emotions/mature musicality.....or, just improv'ing in general.

    Unfortunatly, at the milongra that we attended, no one was doing this (to any great degree). Even the girl that I thought was Naomi was not doing this, because there where no leads good enough for her that could inspire her to do so. To me, it looked like what I have seen at an intermediate class and the instructor has the class take a break for 15 min., throws on some music, and the class social dances, to practice what they have learned.

    If you don't have the technical skills....how can you improv. upon such skills. When my daughter reaches such skill level, improv'ing with those skills will be a piece of cake for her. However, she needs to dance with dancers of equal or better skills, otherwise, she would just be a practice toy for the lead. A lot of pro. dancers stop social dancing, because there isn't much in it for them...(unless they social dance with other pros). Some may do it for P.R. reasons.

    Therefore, I concluded (for my daughter and other young dancers like her), that social dancing is not "critical" for her/them for learning A.T. Occasionaly, yes. And accompanied by their instructor and co-students. However, there's nothing a milonga could teach them that they couldn't learn in a group class.

    I don't want to get into the ballroomish tango vs what is thought to be authentic tango. Missy dances int. latin tango...apples and oranges.
    However, I will share my reasoning for having Melissa start with Felix as opposed to going straight to Miriam's studio.
    First, no one knows my daughter like I do. She is learning the A.T. syllabus at a whirlwind pace with Felix. Second, I love to show my daughter off, and get depressed/disappointed when she doesn't do well with her dance. (this is something very personal that I am sharing with you all, so please don't criticise me for this). Thirdly, I have a huge admiration for Miriam, (and Leonardo).
    My strategy is to have Felix teach Melissa, what I call, the A.T. syllabus. (and I am 100% confident that Felix is capable of doing so). I believe with all my heart, that when I do take Melissa to train with M/L, their job will be so much more easier and they can focus on the fine points with Melissa. (...if she does pick up a few bad habits...she will break them in no time). In other words, she should be ready to learn what Miriam only, can teach her. Many A.T. instructors (incl. Felix) can teach Melissa syllabus....only Miriam can teach Missy to dance like Miriam.
  13. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    Hi Barrefly,

    I strongly disagree with a lot of stuff that you believe is true. I feel people have hinted you at some things but, alas, it's "your" daughter (not for long though) and I don't feel it's productive (for now) to go into them.

    You're making the beginner's mistake of only exposing your beloved daughter to one teaching couple and believing that whatever they teach her will be able to be repaired in the future in one second, etc, etc. The most important thing in learning is finding a teacher that you (as in, your daughter) respect and that challenges you at multiple levels. That implies trying out different teachers, etc.

    If your daughter is not moved by tango music from the golden age, she could probably spend her time doing something else for now instead of trying to learn social argentine tango. It's all about the music. Lots of people dance everything else before they get to tango. Nothing wrong with that.

    Tango gets sensual just like salsa does, or, any other dance for that matter.

    ps: it's normal not to dance a lot the first time you go to a milonga. Your daughter is not known and chances are she can't really dance very well if it was her first milonga. You don't learn how to dance socially in private lessons.
  14. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    I am sorry bafonso, any great teacher/dance school would recommend otherwise.
    (If I am interpreting correctly?) It would be counterproductive for a student to be studying with teacher#1 and simultaniously, the same dance course with teacher#2. Ask a teacher what they would think. My daughter has been kicked out of studios for seeking outside instruction.

    My daughter is 15, (remember, the topic)...and is not "moved" by any music. However, she does enjoy dancing to music. I don't care if the whole world disagree's with me.....I have coached,mangaged my daughter's dance program for over 10 yrs.
    I have spent endless hours researching, analyzing and experiencing, regarding my daughter's dance training. Whether anyone chooses to call me an authority or not,...doesn't change what I know.

    To generalize that a young dancer wouldn't have the ability to social dance if he/she has only had privates, is a very narrow view of young dancers (..or any dancer for that matter). Young (or old), student dancers come in all shapes and sizes. (figuretively speaking).

    My 9 yr. old, ....if she were to come to my 15 yr. old's tango privates all the time, watch tango shows, attend milongas....even having never taken an A.T. class, if a professional tango dancer such as Leonardo, where to grab her and start dancing tango,....she would really put on a show. (I have seen her do this with salsa). Kids are amazing at mimicking.
    Of course, the technicality of her dancing would be very limited,...but her ability to follow would be quite remarkable. Of course, both my kids have spent their entire lives dancing. Some dancers (especially follows) don't need to "learn" to dance socially. Their little minds are like sponges, and it comes naturally to them. What would hang up my daughter, would be the technical skills attempted by the lead, that she has not learned yet. Skills, one learns in class (or, perhaps even by observing,as could be the case of my 9 yr. old).
    Does this make sense?
  15. Tango Bellingham

    Tango Bellingham New Member


    Oh dear...where to begin? No offense, but I'm not sure you want to hear this, or even can hear this, but here goes:
    No, no, no!. This is wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. She doesn't need to learn routines! They are useless on the social dance floor! She needs to learn to walk in an embrace.

    No! She will develop her musicality and expression by understanding the music and the lyrics, and by "walking her miles" in the milonga like every other Argentine tango dancer. She has to get the dance in her body and she will not get it by just taking class and "learning routines." [shudder]

    OMG. How about navigation skills, phrasing, dancing with different people?! A group class/lesson is a controlled circumstance - she needs to take what she learns and see if it works out in the real world. And if she only dances with people who "know the same routines" she does, she'll never learn to dance this dance!

    1)Judging from those videos you posted, Felix wouldn't know Argentine tango from Pottsylvanian clog dancing; and 2) there...is...no..A.T....syllabus (regardless of what Christy Cote or anybody else says).

    No, most likely, if they're honest with you and with her, they'll have to start over from ground zero. To quote Clay Nelson:

    When I started, I had 20 years of ballet, jazz, lindy hop, swing, aikido, filipino arnis, movement training of all sorts under my belt. I thought, "how hard can this be?" :rolleyes: The only thing that really helped me when I got started (and got me dances at the milongas) was the fact that I could hear and step on the beat (40 years of playing the guitar) and that I could move in unison with someone else's center (aikido). I sucked at all the rest of it for years, until Jaimes Friedgen, Rob Hauk, and Alex Krebs collectively gave me a clue.
  16. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Tango Bellingham, You have to understand, barrefly's daughters are prodigies. And if you don't understand that, see every single one of his posts here and on Salsa Forums telling us that they are. Along with accompanying videos proving so.
    Here's a video example of this sort of thing:
  17. bafonso

    bafonso New Member


    You don't dance AT and you clearly do not know what dancing a social dance implies and its significance. Yet, you know everything. I am puzzled as to why you even bother to ask for input as you dismiss everything that does not fit into your beliefs.

    I have nothing more to share with you. Godspeed and good luck to your daughters that I hope are dancing for themselves and not for your pleasure.

    ps: if a teacher is afraid someone is also learning elsewhere from a respected teacher, it's time to change school or teacher. That's my last tip to you.
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    OK....Let's hold on a sec.......

    Barrefly, you have been around a while, and we all have enjoyed watching your daughter grow, (I've even commentedf personally on it). However, when you write.....
    ...then I must ask...

    Are you here to gain advice that might help you and your daughter acheive your goals, or are you here to boastfully display your accomplishments, or a bit of both? There is no harm in either, but I believe that the unsuspecting public should know. If you do not care what others believe might help b/c you believe that your 10 yrs is sufficient, then you do not wish advice, and we will stop offering it.

    Having said that, being a well respected tango professional, I believe much of your 2 recent posts to be flawed.

    Unless your only goal is performing, which really doesn't require one to be truly good, there are no routines in AT as are unfortunately taught in BR.
    As persons have tries to tell you, she will develop her musicality, expression, and technical skills through social dancing (at milongas, etc.), and she will develop flash and performance skills through choreo'ed routines.
    Again, this is simply incorrect. Connection is not a technical skill; it is a developed internal sense of being. Like driving a car, one can learn the techs of braking, turing the wheel, etc., but the feeling of each car, and how to handle it is different and will never be learned simply b/c you know how to press pedal.
    Though your first sentence is correct, the next slips just a bit. You are correct here, as well, to a point. My partner has always said that one is not a good dancer until they can dance w/ a beginner. It is easier to dance w/ persons above your level b/c, often, the more advanced person can carry and cover for the lesser. However, if a dancer can follow and cover for a lesser lead, then there is a dancer whom I want to dance with.

    Then, this pro doesn't have a clue what real dancing is.
    Hopefully, you are beginning to at least reconsider, if not chang, your beliefs/attitude.
    There is no "real" AT syllabus. It simply doesn't exist.
    I will not criticize you for it; I will applaud you for it. However, we must remain rational when dealing w/ our beloveds (I have mine...one in showbiz, and has done quite well).
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    As others have tried to point out......
    As much as yo would disagree, if this is the case, you were not at a good school. I have an extensive broadway. theatre, and television background, and we studied much with many...simultaneously to achieve what needed to be accomplished. Certainly, teachers have varying opinions, but that's life. Your daughters listen to you and your wife, as well as to their teachers in school, as well as their teachers in dance classes. We all have many teachers at the same time who might, on occassion, give us varying opinions. at that time, we take the one that is best "for the moment" and continue to study.

    And, in this you are correct...totally. Yet, isn't this what we are talkign about...bettering ourselves correctly, and not just faking it?

    Hopefully, you will adhere to this. I am only here to share my 25+ years in AT, and, yes, even learn a few things along the way. As I mentioned earlier, if you are not here for the guidance that we all share, l, as Bafonso apparently, apologize for wasting our time, withdraw, wish you well, and will never try to assist again.
  20. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    wooh, first....that is extremely uncalled for.

    my posts on this thread has been commentary on the thread topic. You are mistaking these, with my posts on other threads where I was seeking advice.
    Please, do not shoot the messenger. It doesn't matter how long, with whom, or what you are dancing, or how many/who, agrees with you. This applies to myself as well. One may use personal experiences to support your argument,...but don't think that your personal experiences are any more significant than mine, or anyone elses. Truth is independent of reasoning (whether logical or illogical). Reason, only assists the mind at understanding the truth. Truth is something that one nears, but never fully arrives at. I try my best to use logical reasoning, along with my experiences when posting. This thread is about "young tango dancers at milongas". If you all don't think I have anything valid to contribute on this topic....you are mistaken.
    But to imply that I am "bragging" about my kids or that "I" am a know it all....shows to me that some of you needs to resort to personal attacts in order to win your argument.

    Replies have turned to flaming. Time for me to skidaddle from this thread.

    ...I just saw Angel Hi's post...I may reply to it, since he is being civil.

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