Real couples dancing Tango...Can it hurt them?

#21
In my inexpert opinion, Contra is different. A 75 year old man dancing close embrace at a Milonga with an 8 year old girl, who is a stranger to him, would be unusual and possibly even creepy. A couple dancing close embrace Tango with a baby in a backpack would be unusual at a Tango Milonga. These are common occurrences at the Contra dances I have attended. There is much more of a family friendly vibe at Contra, whereas Tango seems to have more of an "adults only" vibe.

Anyway, I could see the case of someone being OK with Contra (contacts are short, with both genders, arms' length, and you dance with everyone) but having more issues with close embrace Tango.
... Tango is a dance. It is not different than all other dances. If there would be a problem with your dancing tango, then there should/would be a problem with your dancing swing, foxtrot, salsa, or hip hop. All of the crap about the tango being more intimate, or sexy, or sensuous, or meaningful, or difficult, or feeling, or whatever than other dances, is exactly that...crap. ...
 
#22
Anyway, this was a long way to say I think your SO's request was reasonable and can avoid some awkwardness if you switch partners.
You let your girl sit for 2 hours straight? Maybe that wasn't the best relationship thing? You could have asked her every other tanda and still made your point.
Of course - cool down.
She - which was a few weeks before so uncertain that I had to block an hour exclusively for blocking her - had explained me in detail how couple switching works at a milonga. :meh:
And may be it was only one hour. But because I asked why she didn't got invited it had the explosive force of two hours.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#23
There is much more of a family friendly vibe at Contra, whereas Tango seems to have more of an "adults only" vibe.
Though I believe to understand your post, AT is not an adult's only vibe. We must remember that there are 2 facets to AT (as with most dance); the intricacy and the art. Of course a child will not be able to display the emotions and psychologies of the meanings of many tango songs, the eras, etc, but they may certainly become aficionados and superb artists regardless of style (open/close embrace, etc).
Anyway, I could see the case of someone being OK with Contra (contacts are short, with both genders, arms' length, and you dance with everyone) but having more issues with close embrace Tango.
Why? It's a dance... nothing more. That's the point.
 
#24
Though I believe to understand your post, AT is not an adult's only vibe. We must remember that there are 2 facets to AT (as with most dance); the intricacy and the art. Of course a child will not be able to display the emotions and psychologies of the meanings of many tango songs, the eras, etc, but they may certainly become aficionados and superb artists regardless of style (open/close embrace, etc). ...
I think we can both agree you are far more likely to see parents bringing their kids to dance with other adults at Contra, and this is far more rare in Tango. There is a different vibe between the two.
Tango Distance said:
... I could see the case of someone being OK with Contra (contacts are short, with both genders, arms' length, and you dance with everyone) but having more issues with close embrace Tango.
Why? It's a dance... nothing more. That's the point.
That is an ideal way to think of dance, one I'm trying to fully adopt myself, but it is simply not true for everyone. I have seen multiple ladies complain to the instructor about men pulling them into close embrace... Women that refuse to do close embrace at a workshop class... Let's not get started with me, you'd be reading all night! The close embrace of Tango makes it different, for some people, than other dances.

Here is an interesting survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=jgRE23jZaqJkQXe_2fRgco1GgAZSrPouqVp_2b1F2ZxnZVk_3d

Note that 27 of 492 respondents (6%) say they quit Tango for the reason "Close embrace too intimate/uncomfortable."

Anyway, for the couple of this thread, you might be right that they would have the exact same issues with any dance. My "contra" mode of thought (ha ha) was that Contra might be a smaller step of sorts, as they might be more comfortable as it is a less intimate dance.
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#25
I followed your link and saw this "Why I Quite Tango"

And reading the question I decided that the answers would be quite randiom because the question makes no sense whatsoever.
Now, is tango more couple-breaking than say, salsa? On one hand it's possibly more intimate, on the other hand you keep it all more secret, your whole body and attire is not shouting "Flirt with me, stupid".

Cf the famous Tango vs Salsa
 
#26
At our area some single parents bring her/his child to a milonga but the child has some computer game, toys, sketch block or knitting set to get through the hours.
I have seen a grandfather lead the girl and a tall teenage son lead his mother but these occasions are very rare; not the rule.

When we were discussing the weight I became aware of that the performances are actually a more tolerant context than the social one.

One real problem is the length of child dancers because they will be below the usual navigation radar. That was a problem for me in the early days untill they realisezed: if there is an empty space on the pista moving forward - it CAN be LadyLeader with a short follower! :)
 
#27
My partner and I are in a committed relationship for 2 years now. Years ago he used to take up tango and really enjoyed it. The other day when his friends mentioned if he and I should take up tango together, my boyfriend firmly disagreed and said that it is a very bad idea for real couples to dance tango together, because it hurts and breaks the relationship due to the fact that each person can end up criticizing one another. He said he has witnessed this with many couples.

I have never danced tango so I cannot say I am an expert in this area. But I thought that it would be healthy and romantic for 2 people who love each other to try dancing together. But can learning the dance hurt the relationship?

IF we were to tango together, I can say that I have not danced tango at all and would be a complete beginner, whereas he wouldnt be.

What is your view and opinion about real couples dancing together? Is it healthy or can it be damaging?
Hi Goldie Abaee!
It is indeed very romantic for two people who are life partners to get to dance together! So it is expected that this all might be sounding a bit unreasonable to you..!
But the romantic part might actually cause the problem...Let me explain...Sometimes--not always--the two partners try to bring a huge amount of feeling into this, expecting the other person to respond in a specific way...when that doesn't happen they get frustrated, they get discouraged, or upset, because they feel that the other person doesn't understand them..! And you can see how this can cause never ending trouble..!
There is also the case where just like in life, one of the two partners is the decision maker and the other is more passive...So when you bring that into a dance--not only Tango, any partner dance--things get a bit complicated. For Tango to work, the two partners need to work together. None of the two should be feeling that he is just there to make- up steps for the other--there is no enjoyment into that. When that happens, usually the person who is more passive in the relationship, reacts either by complaining that they are not allowed some space and some creativity or they just feel that Tango is not for them because they feel bored and they quit. At the same time the decision maker can't understand what is really the problem, they don't see how that attitude might be suffocating their partner, so they react as well, either by saying that they know better, or that their partner's level is not good enough, or that Tango is not fit for their partner etc.
But now on the bright side, there are couples who respond rather easily to both of the problems above by saying: "It is just a dance". It is a healthy and positive attitude to start a new activity, a new hobby together. I know many couples in the categories above BUT I also know many couples in this category. Where they make Tango their thing, their night out, a fun activity they get to do together. No high expectations of great passion! No great expectations of perfection! BUT coming together to create something together, that will SUCK in the beginning...hahaha...BUT it will surely become better if they stick to it and have fun with it!!!

I hope this helps!
:)
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#28
Though I believe to understand your post, AT is not an adult's only vibe. We must remember that there are 2 facets to AT (as with most dance); the intricacy and the art. Of course a child will not be able to display the emotions and psychologies of the meanings of many tango songs, the eras, etc, but they may certainly become aficionados and superb artists regardless of style (open/close embrace, etc). Why? It's a dance... nothing more. That's the point.
I think it's possible that the "vibe" can be quite different in different communities, (and even at different milongas in the same community). I believe I've experienced what TD was talking about at some places.

I have no argument with what you said about the intrinsic properties of the dance itself, but I think TD might have been referring more about the milongas than the actual dance.

That being said, I have seen couples dance with a baby in a backpack at tango events, (but it's not a common occurrence).
 
#29
Next comes the dance. ... All of the crap about the tango being more intimate, or sexy, or sensuous, or meaningful, or difficult, or feeling, or whatever than other dances, is exactly that...crap. It is a dance....
YESSSSS! It is just a dance! I'm glad someone said it, and especially glad that it was you, Angel. Adds a bit more weight than if I, merely an old tango guy, had said it.

And by the way, my SO and I met through dance and, 12 years later, are still happily together and still dance almost daily, but at least once a week.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#30
Why? It's a dance... nothing more. That's the point.
I feel it is a bit more complicated than that - yes, it is nothing more than a dance, but like most (all?) things what people project into and get out of it can be very different, and because we don't usually talk about these aspects is can be very jarring when we suddenly realize that other people who seem to be doing the same thing as us are actually doing something completely different.

A milonga is different things for different people:

-a social space, where you meet friends and make new aquaintances, not so different than going out to a bar or doing karaoke, just with dancing instead of singing
-a sport venue, where you try to dance to the highest level one is capable of, not so different from what we do when we rent a practive space, but with a larger variety of partners
-a opportunity for "golden age cosplay", where we get to wear suits and dresses, and feel civilized
-a performance, where we get to show the world what we have worked on
-a romantic space, where couples spend quality, intimate time with each other
-a space where the flow of the dancefloor and the skill of the dj allows tango as a social dance to exist on a qualitatively different level than when "practicing the moves"

and so on, and so on - and it is probably most often a mixture of several of those things and so. And if we go to a milonga with a partner and there is a mismatch in what we expect to do there it can cause problems - especially if one of them expected it to be a romantic evening for two, and the other views it as an opportunity to dance with different people that they didn't practice with the whole week.

This has in the end nothing to do with tango itself, but with communication (or lack thereof). Similar things happen when couples do things like "go camping", and they suddenly realize that they don't quite agree on the question if a campground is supposed to have showers and bathrooms, or when a bunch of friends go to a sportsbar to "watch a game", and some want do chat, others want to drink, and others want to discuss play-by-play what is happening.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#31
This has in the end nothing to do with tango itself, but with communication (or lack thereof). Similar things happen when couples do things like "go camping", and they suddenly realize that they don't quite agree .....
THIS...this part... is exactly the point that I was making.
 
#32
I disagree: learning curves and the prospects are quite different for women and men.
I see talented followers dance proficient at a milonga after a few months - talented leaders after a year.
But as soon as I show up at a milonga I can get female partners which are much more experienced than me.
This is a potential burden for every couple that starts with tango together.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#33
This is a potential burden for every couple that starts with tango together.
I guess that i see this more as a communication problem - i don't think these are issues that a single person dancing doesn't have (and we have plenty of threads dealing with both the leaders "beginner hell", and the followers "intermediate purgatory", where intermediate leaders strongly prefer to dance either with more advanced followers or less advanced followers, as both options lead to more satisfying/flattering dances). This is only a problem if a couple has a very specific expectation of what tango will provide them (that they are going to be the most perfect partners for each other). And sure, tango will not offer that automatically - the perfect dances will happen once in a while with no rhyme or reason why and when (and with whom), but after a lot of work and introspection a couple will be at least good partners for each other. But i don't think there is anything that offers that - i can't even agree with my partner on a straightforward question like what temperature the room should be at, so how could we expect all our preferences in something as complex as a dance to perfectly line up.

And tango is very susceptible to this - there is an enormous range of things that get projected onto it. I think one of the most important things to enjoy this dance long term is to make peace with this. I am still working on it, but it has helped my enjoyment of milongas and the dance in general a lot to try to cherish and appreciate that it is a big tent with people doing all kinds of things. I think we are often doing tango a disservice by not acknowledging and talking about this more.
(thought otoh there are still enough things that absolutely, objectively wrong/not tango *laugh* - some of them might move into the "well, if they enjoy this" territory once i get over my visceral reaction to other people being not me and not liking what i like, other probably won't)
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#34
But as soon as I show up at a milonga I can get female partners which are much more experienced than me. This is a potential burden for every couple that starts with tango together.
I guess that i see this more as a communication problem - i don't think these are issues that a single person dancing doesn't have..... I think one of the most important things to enjoy this dance long term is to make peace with this.
And, again, I have returned from teaching workshops in Dallas, where I had the grateful opportunity to attend the Milonga de la Luna at PJ's Dancetique. And, again, I was awed, humbled, and excited by the enormous numbers of dancers who came from everywhere, including neighboring cities, to, not just dance, but to dance with others from other places. For 5 hours, I watched high level female dancers accept tanda after tanda with lesser skilled leads, and do so with smiles, enthusiasms, intimacies, and all of the enjoyment that one can expect from tango.

It can be done. It is done. And, when one finds it, tango brings a joy that many (those whom are being referred to/discussed here) might never find.
 
#35
Of course, it can be done and it gets done.
But often by working around a technical imbalance with social skills.

After a nice milonga-tanda with a nice lady:
She: "WOW - how long do you dance tango?"
I: "Six months."
She: "OH - don't reveal that to my husband - we try to get that flow since two years." ;-)
I: "Six months - but in dedicated milonga class, too."
She: "I'll try to get him into that class!"
And after a while they attended that...

I think effects of general gender imbalance on milongas are a different matter...
 
#37
And, again, I have returned from teaching workshops in Dallas, where I had the grateful opportunity to attend the Milonga de la Luna at PJ's Dancetique. And, again, I was awed, humbled, and excited by the enormous numbers of dancers who came from everywhere, including neighboring cities, to, not just dance, but to dance with others from other places. For 5 hours, I watched high level female dancers accept tanda after tanda with lesser skilled leads, and do so with smiles, enthusiasms, intimacies, and all of the enjoyment that one can expect from tango.

It can be done. It is done. And, when one finds it, tango brings a joy that many (those whom are being referred to/discussed here) might never find.
I agree Angel..! And I agree because it happened to me...Tango used to be very partner-focused for me, and it took a lot of work on my part to get free from that...The funny thing is that as I was putting in the work I didn't realize I was working towards my independence..hahaha..! It was only after some time that I started to realize how much more fun I was having during my dances, how much more I could give back to my partners no matter what their level was, and most importantly I started realizing that I would dance more and enjoy every dance I got and this way I got to meet new people and make new friends in my community. At the same my relationship with my partner got better on all levels because I understood and managed my mistakes better, so Tango is now an opportunity for us to grow and not a reason for us "fight".
 

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