Tango Argentino > What are the 5 top reasons that make a man ask a woman to dance? Beauty comes first?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Paula M, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. Paula M

    Paula M New Member

    ... After 8 years of salsa dancing, I’ve started tango lessons in the last January. Of course I also go to the milongas and I've been observing it. In my opinion, it is not the mastery in dancing that comes as the first reason when a man invites a woman to dance. Rather than that, beauty/or a very short mini-skirt is the key point. I'm I wrong? I'm I being too innocent, because this is no big news since it's like that from the beginning of the world? Well, in tango you get so involved with your classes and perfecting/practicing your dance moves that you tend to think that if you dance better people will invite you more. But it seems that it is not always the case, no?
    If I'm right, this can be very cruel to ageing women ... By the way, I'm 40 years old.

    P.S. - In salsa it's a bit true, but people tend to mingle more with each other, despite of the age/beauty issue.
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: 5 reasons

    Hi Paula, welcome to the DF, which country do you come from?

    I find it difficult to lump all tango dancers together: In my town there are several sub-communities: the only-want-to-dance group, the dance-talk-n-chill group, the one-eye-in-the-mirror group, the cliquy-chicy group, the 30-40th-music-only group, the ... They all have their own clubs or venues.

    By the way, I find the tango people a bit more complicated than the salsa people.

    Here a link to another interesting thread
    Would you prefer a partner better or worser than you?

  3. I don't think this is necessarily true. From my experience in Paris, attractive women tend to attract "good" dancers who want to show off, and old farts who want to taste young blood. But they're usually not invited by the average dancer (ie the majority of people attending milongas) probably because they "don't dare". This being said, it is obvious that the invitation rate for a woman is proportional to the looks and not the skill, and I've heard many women in their 40s complain that they're not invited in milongas, no matter how well they dance.

    I usually dance with the people I know, but when I occasionally don't know anyone, I look at shoes first. I assume that paying attention to your shoes shows some kind of dedication to the dance. Of course, this is completely untrue, and this technique shows disastrous results.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    You're definitely on to something. I have noticed similar things.

    IME, the top followers will be asked, regardless. Beyond that, a hot girl/girl in a short skirt or dress/girl with a low-cut top will be asked constantly. She might not get second tandas with leaders, but she won't sit out unless she wants to.

    It blows, but it's life.
  5. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Socials value appearance highly and since you can't tell quality of dance simply by looking at someone, you tend to go for someone who looks the 'part'.

    That said, good is a relative term and the quality of a social dance is not dependent on the quality of dance but the interaction of the participants - it's social, meaning that you dance together and see how it feels, you're not judging whether you are good at a movement. Smiling, approachability, etc become important in the askee.
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i am totally egalitarian,

    ( except when those flying pigs are around!)
  7. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Every time a thread like this comes up i am surprised at how much followers assume that there is one specific reason why people get asked to dance. Usually i have only a few seconds to figure out who i would like to dance with between tandas, and i am basically looking around and hope to see somebody who looks like it would be nice to dance with them.

    So, what makes somebody look like it would be nice to dance with them?
    -"Good Vibes" - i really can not describe feel good on the dancefloor and seem to want to dance, and to enjoy dancing.
    -People of a skill level i am at the moment interested in - sometimes i want to work on my clarity and intent and musicality, and then i like dancing with beginners, sometimes i want to work on crazyness, and then i am looking for somebody who has strong technique.
    -People who dance a style i am feeling like at the moment - depending on the dancefloor/music/how tired i am i dance different things, and the people i like dancing these different things with change.

    "Beauty" and "Short Skirts" and "Shoes" are not really on this list.

    But, and this is a big "but" - i don't actually know everybody very well, and often the person i want to dance with dances with somebody else right now, and then i have to quickly change my plans, and then i have to quickly decide who to ask from a whole crowd of people that i have no real idea how they dance.

    And then i look at shoes - i know that we went over this before, and that spending money on cif's is not a sign of skills, but most of the good followers seem to have an amazing collection of them, while non-dancers don't. As a heuristic it is not the worst thing.
    And then i look at "attractive" - i don't actually think it has as much to do with if somebody is attractive to me, but if they look self-confident, and happy to be there, and eager to dance. When i dance as a follower with a man as leader, or if i lead a man i also prefer the well dressed, well groomed, smiling ones. If they don't look like they enjoy themselves it is usually difficult to enjoy them when dancing with them.

    These heuristics go sometimes wrong - i spent a long time not dancing with a very good follower because she kept dancing with people whose style i don't like which made me assume that she didn't like other styles. These things sometimes change - there are followers that i dance less with as they get better technically because they are developing in a different direction. There are followers that dress up more and more, and all it does is that they appear less and less comfortable and happy, and that doesn't make me want to dance with them.

    What gets followers dances is if they look like they want to dance, and they know how. And i think that looking like they want and enjoy dancing is almost more important. A enthusiastic beginner can be a fun dance, a scowling professional going through the moves never is.

  8. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I'm sure there is some truth to what you have noticed, but it goes both directions. A woman may be more inclined to dance with a good looking guy than an old codger.

    There are many reasons to go dancing: socializing, exercise, etcetera, and dancing. Speaking for myself, but I know there are some other guys who would agree, no matter how beautiful a woman appears, I would not ask her to dance unless I thought I would have a good dance with her.
  9. DL

    DL Well-Known Member


    It's worth reading the whole section, though. The quote I selected is a small part of it, and not the most useful part at that.
  10. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member

    Has had a couple to drink at the bar (like me)
    Sits in the corner (so I can utilise my Dirty Dancing pulling line :cool: )
    Preferably living
    Doesn't carry her handbag when dancing
    Smiles :D

    Those would make me ask a lady to dance...
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    In my case, it is how well the woman dances, first and foremost. Looks contribute by only as a secondary factor.

    In my early years of tango, I used to be attracted to looks. They ended up as horrible tadas with beautiful women who couldn't dance. I have since changed my preferences.
  12. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    People come to tango for different reasons, and may have different priorities. To hold a young pretty thing clad in a sexy outfit in one's arms might be a priority for some. Another priority could be to find a mate, so those people tend to invite within their age group, etc. However, if you are a good dancer and a nice person, you will be always asked by those who want to have a good time dancing.

    Also, you may notice that better dancers dance less, because as you get better you become more picky about who you dance with, when, to what kind of music, etc. At first people might ask you more, but since they get a "no", they will subsequently ask less. Some men feel intimidated by a woman who is good, so those won't ask, either.

    In brief, if it is the quantity of partners that matters, an older woman might be indeed at disadvantage. But if it is the quality of dancing, a woman of any age can learn to be a great tango dancer, and have a wonderful time at milongas.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Ok, how does someone not getting asked much learn to be a great tango dancer?

    Or more specifically, how does she identify the classes and lessons that will build the specific capabilities milonga partners would appreciate, from amongst offerings that likely include options for developing in other directions?
  14. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Try ballroom. IME, the beauty factor plays less of a role there than what I've heard about the salsa and tango communities. And it's generally an older crowd, so a 40-yr. old woman might be "the cute young thing"!
  15. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I think this board already had several threads on how to choose classes and instructors, and what helps people to improve their tango. Dancing in milongas is only one aspect, albeit a very important one.
  16. v22TTC

    v22TTC New Member

    Well, I certainly can't claim to be like most men (and equally certainly wouldn't want to be...) but there's little riles me up more than a woman assuming that I'm only asking her to dance because I fancy her (with attendant ego and misunderstanding); so I tend to invert what you mentioned in your observation: young, pretty, skimpily-dressed etc women I tend to ignore as completely as I can (which is pretty completely!..), whilst 40+ years old women often have a more realistic attitude (so there's less room for misunderstanding) - I'm there to dance, not flirt or 'pull'!:headwall: (They're usually better dancers too, and more appreciative of consideration and less critical of error.)

    As far as clothes (in an all else being equal situation), I'm very into the gravitas and mystique of TA, so would choose someone elegantly dressed (showing respect for this art-form), over someone more overtly-'sexily' dressed.

    Maybe I'm just getting old....:p
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  17. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    In tango, make friends. Interact. Socialize. Smile, and be friendly. Have your friends dance with you, so people can see your tango has potential, and that you are approachable. By dancing more, you get better. Especially, if (as a follow) you learn how to listen and follow.
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  18. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Not (quite) true, depending on which city you go to. For example: Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, there are a very large number of tango people who are in the 20-30 age group. So much so that they have their own tango communities. The 40-ish age group are just more visible because they dance a lot more. They also have their own tango communities, and they visit everywhere else. The 50-80-ish age groups are also in respectable, albeit lesser numbers.
  19. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    For me, there are two separate categories:
    1) What makes you ask someone you've never danced with before.
    2) What makes you ask someone you have danced with before.

    For the first category, looks might play a factor, but other factors are more important like: does she seem friendly, does her dance style seem compatible with mine, and other very subjective factors.

    For the second category, looks aren't important. It really comes down to people I am friendly with, having a nice embrace, and people who follow well (not necessarily the 'best" dancers). By following well, I'm talking about followers who are good at staying with me (and not changing the rhythm or some other annoying thing). It really has nothing to do with who does the most or "best" steps, nor who looks the best.

    I'm only one person though, and different guys have different motivations.

    BTW, welcome to the forum, Paula.

  20. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I've read some interesting comments regarding your original question. I would suggest that you decide how you would like to be appreciated as a dancer, and devote your energy to improving yourself in that arena.

Share This Page