Types of Tangueros: The Good, the Bad, and a myriad of Jerks

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

  1. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Agreed- everyone's got quirks and no one is perfect, and you don't have to be a pro to notice it. I'd be sitting forever if I waited to only dance with people that dance like Alex Krebs (becasue the likelihood of that happening is infinitesimal). So it annoys me (having also been the recipient of attitudes like this) that it appears I have to be more perfect than my dance partner and seemingly accomodate all of their faults just fine while having none of my own, just so they will ask me to dance. Very disheartening.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yup. Sad, but true. I avoid certain milongas for just that reason. There are some places where if you don't show up with a partner, or are not part of the Clique, you just don't dance. End of story.

    I have no illusions that I'm great, and I'm perfectly willing to chalk up a portion of an evening spent sitting to not being great (yet! :) ), but I'm not that bad.
  3. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Gotta disagree. I enjoy it as much now as I ever have. (Yes, I have improved.) I look back and realize how much of a beginner I was, and cringe a bit, and feel that much more grateful to the men who asked me to dance then. I look at my dancing now and see where I've improved, know where I need to improve, and wonder what I need to work on that I don't even know about yet. But I love where I am now--it's just part of the journey. I connect differently now with my leaders, and for different reasons. And, I'm really looking forward to when I get better, to see what I'll enjoy the most then.

    But, then again, I can love dancing with people for reasons other than them just being a great dancer, so maybe that has more to do with it. I enjoy dancing with the not-as-good-as-I-used-to-think leaders, because they were kind and patient and generous when I was starting. I enjoy dancing with friends, because I like that bond I have with them. I love dancing with beginners who are self-conscious and unsure and seeing them smile when I compliment them (because, truly, there is almost ALWAYS something to compliment).

    To me, the whole AT/milonga experience is so much more than just the dancing. I'm there to have a good time, and because I'm looking to, I think, I find things to make me happy just about everywhere.
  4. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    You are obviously not a pessimist :p
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oddly enough, no.

    I used to be. But then I kind of got tired of it, and decided to be an optimist instead. So I changed my outlook on things. Worked out pretty nicely...I highly recommend it.
  6. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

  7. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

  8. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    I've not been dancing very long and I notice that already. There is one young lady at my studio who is an absolute joy to dance with and we've started gravitating to each other at socials. (Calm down, my daughter is older than this person.) She's a relative newbie but we just click on the floor.

    OTOH, a friend of mine (who's danced for years) and I just can't seem to get coordinated. It's a real effort to do anything but the simplest steps with her. Frustrating because I really want to dance with my friend but it just isn't much fun.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

  10. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    So I was back in my usual milonga haunts this weekend in Seattle...

    Lo, and behold, once again, I see a few (new) leads doing one of my pet peeves with newbie follows: "Teaching newbies everything they (as leaders) CAN'T themselves do..." Oy! [See I.3 The Aspiring Teacher]
    :shock: :headwall: :mad:

    I'm sorry. But this just bugs me when I see it happen...

    Reminds me of my original post when I started this thread: http://tangoloveandotherdevils.blogspot.com/2007/03/tango-types-i-tangueros_19.html
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Ha! As much as it bugs you when you see it happen, it bugs us even more when it happens to us. Or, at least, it bugs the crap outta me.

    One interesting thing I've started noticing lately, though, is that I get asked to dance by these guys very rarely. If they don't know me, they'll ask. It usually isn't pleasant. But then, they don't generally ask me again. Normally, I'd take it as an indication that I'm not a good enough follower. But lately I'm starting to think (partly b/c I'm becoming more confident in what my abilities are and what they aren't, partly b/c I spent some time watching things) that maybe they don't ask me b/c I can see through their b.s. It's interesting. I started watching them and started to realize they really only ever asked the girls who were real "green" beginners, who didn't know any better.

    Good for me, I guess, that I don't have to deal with it as much any more. Although, on the other hand, I find myself in something of an odd "middle zone," where those guys don't ask me, real green beginning leaders don't ask me (I've been told I intimidate them...???) which is a shame because I like dancing with most beginners...and, yet, I'm not good enough yet to be asked to dance by the upper tiers of leaders. *shrug* Meh. I'll keep working on my stuff, I guess. I know some of them have started noticing me. Now, it's just a question of getting good enough to be noticed in a favorable enough light to get that invitation...
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member



    I've had guys ask me something along these lines and I would swear they were just making conversation. Like any other activity where you might use the activity itself as a way to get a conversation going... "So, how often do you hike? Have you climbed this peak before?". "Do you belong to a league at this alley or do you usually bowl somewhere else?". "Are you in the figure skating club here?"

    How long or to what extent you've been participating in an activity is usually considered a "safe" topic of conversation at that particular activity (certainly better than saying "Can you believe they elected that MORON?")

    Its just the tango equivalent of "Hey, Babe... Come here often?"

    Its just in the dance world that people feel it slights them to be asked this question, it seems.

    I would prefer that people not ask me this or any other question as we start to dance. I can't talk and dance at the same time. But you can usually tell when its an attempt to make conversation because

    A) the person keeps trying to use the tanda as a way to get to know you through conversation even though it prevents both of you from dancing well, and

    B) really good dancers don't do this because they know you can't talk and dance at the same time and that you "get to know" the person ONLY as a dancer, by dancing. If you are there to "hook up" you don't do it by talking except BETWEEN dances.

    Its usually inexperienced guys who ask me this and they are learning the dance just to find a girlfriend (or 3) not because they care about dancing.

    Or it is followers who are hoping that my answer will be that either:

    I've only been dancing 6 months and they'll look like me very soon (if they are new) or,

    that I've been dancing for 2 decades and that the fact that they still don't look like me is because they've only been doing it for 6 years (and they're crushed when I tell them I've been doing it for 5)

    In other words, the guys don't really care about my answer and the women are hoping for a specific one before they even ask.

    I've had the same thing in skating.. when others ask me how long I've been skating, its almost always a COMPLIMENT because they are impressed by my skating, not a criticism. At least that's how I take it.

    Or maybe I'm kidding myself and they ask because they've heard how long I've been dancing/ skating/ whatever and they don't believe it because they think I stink...;)

    After all, sometimes, I think I stink, and I ask MYSELF "HOW long have you been doing this???!!!"
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    As a further note... I've decided the safest answer to this kind of question is either

    "Long enough to get to this level" (and let them make of that what they will)

    or

    "Long enough that I should be better by now than I am" (if I'm feeling frustrated or don't want to reveal to someone the actual time frame for various reasons)
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Raising hand....
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I've never had anyone use those words.. its always phrased more like "How long have you been dancing tango?"

    "How many lessons" you've had sounds like they expect you to be such a complete beginner that you would still be counting individual lessons rather than months or years (I would think after a few months or about 12 lessons tops, anyone would lose track of the actual number of lessons) So I can see how that would be insulting if you're beyond about 6 lessons.
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I once danced a tanda of tango (not milonga) with Omar Vega and he kept it very simple. But I also "felt tango" more in that dance than I have with almost anyone else at a social dance. It was only after it was over that I connected mentally to the fact that it was repetitive in its steps.

    I also noticed at one point a small group of the best dancers at the milonga were watching us, pointing and chattering excitedly amongst themselves. I didn't know them (out of towners who came with Omar) so I've no idea whether that was good or bad, but they didn't seem to be pointing in a "mocking" way. (at leat I hope not, because it could only have been ME that they would have been laughing at!)
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Gawd, yes! Bleh... clique monsters!

    Tango as a way to relive the worst part of HIGH SCHOOL!
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Sorta like dating....
  20. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Astute observations. I watch a number of guys in my community who continually inflict their questionable wisdom on the newbies. I would bet a week's earnings on whom in a new group will be seen being thrown into difficult steps by particular men by the end of the night. What troubles me is whether these unwitting victims will have their perception of tango sent down a dark culdesac, missing the point.

    You intimidate newbie leaders because you are better than them, not because of who you are. I remember very clearly the feeling of gross inadequacy when dancing with the better ladies, and I still experience it with truly divine dancers. A significantly better follower than myself feels ready to do more. A better follower feels so different to the people in our peer group that we can't help but realise we're a long way behind.

    As for the upper tier, all good things in time. Half of them may never step down from their treehouse at the best of times. You may not be missing that much. There will probably be a sudden shift when one of them decides to give you a go, it turns out well and then all the rest will try you out too. After all, a better leader can help show a follower's true qualities more clearly than she can manage on her own.

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