Your Pet Peeves

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by AnnaN, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. AnnaN

    AnnaN Member

    I was looking through the threads and I could see several which referred to people's pet peeves with partners and in general re dancing, but I wanted to get a more consistent sense of what people find as a pet peeve or downright annoyances.

    In particular I am interested in leaders' pet peeves with respect to the followers.

    However, it would be fair to talk also about followers' pet peeves with leaders.


    I begin first: my follower pet peeves re leaders
    1. Bad breath
    I recently danced with a great leader who had terrible bad breath. I mean it was really awful. I thought that this will be survivable because he dances pretty darn well. And I had a plan how to deal with it--keep my distance from him while we chat during the cortinas. Unfortunately, he decided that he will also sing or talk during the dance. Since he was an out-of-towner, I asked him how he likes the tango scene where we were, and he said that it was strange: sometimes it's great, and sometimes women drop him halfway through the song. And I said, "I wonder why that happens." Then he began to sing and I told him that my feet are tired, and can do only one more song, and unfortunately we won't be able to finish the tanda...

    2. Talking during dancing if he has bad breath

    3. Beginner leader trying to do complicated moves with me thinking he's mastered them when it's obvious to everyone else but him that we look more like a charade when we do them. I've learned to keep my balance so that I am not thrown off if my leader loses his balance, but still, it's not fun to have to deal with this, nor am I a pro.

    4. I am tall, esp. with heels. So a particular pet peeve of mine is a short leader who insists on a close embrace. Esp. those whose face stares in my chest!! Yuck! I feel so dirty after a tanda with such leaders, I am thinking of establishing a policy for myself--to check the leaders' height before I dance with them. I won't refuse to dance with short leaders if they are respectful, and I have had pleasant dances with them too.

    5. A shorter than me follower, trying to do really low volcadas. Ok, I am not as light as a feather: I am 5'6" without heels @136 lb. Not exactly light for short even if portly types. So please do not torture people like me. I try to laugh it off, but if I get a dozen of such leaders per night, I am losing my patience and good will. Unfortunately, people who need to read this, won't....

    6. A huge pet peeve is the teacher types. I have seen three subtypes:
    a. during the cortina, he thinks he is polite to give me tips on how to dance and how to fix my posture or what not, when clearly he is not a better dancer than me. "May I suggest something....?" I politely listen, but he's on my blacklist from then on.
    b. during the dance, he pulls my shoulders or my pelvis to fix my posture. I am pretty sure he thinks that this was a super subtle way to teach me proper dancing.
    c. and the worst case: stopping during the dance! to explain how I need to pivot for an ocho!!!! Gee, I even liked this guy and invited him to dance, but I could manage to dance only twice with him because it felt like I was lectured. I got mostly lectured and led!
    I've also noticed that this syndrome is seen in leaders who have 5 months to 5 years of tango experience. Most experienced dancers, even if asked, will refuse to give answers, and will simply say, "Let's just enjoy this." And that's when I've had a great time dancing, even if not necessarily a nirvana type of experience.

    7. A leader who does not listen to the rhythm of the music.

    I think I am done with my list. As I said, I'd really like to know what are leaders' pet peeves re followers. Thanks!
    Kelena likes this.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Some pet peeves fellow leaders have shared with me:
    -ladies that are not respectful of a man's personal space, following him, "babysitting" him, trying to chat him up, pressuring into dancing with them, asking questions such as "so, you are just gonna sit here?" "why do we never dance?" "when are you gonna dance with me?" "what does it takes to get invited by you" etc.
    -ladies who during dancing constantly apologize for their "mistakes", say things such as "oh, I know I am a bad dancer", "I did that move wrong", ask for feedback or instructions
    -ladies who look around during dancing, checking who just entered/exited the room, who is watching them, who noticed the nice embellishment they just did, how their skirt/shoes look from aside, etc, instead of focusing on their partner and the dancing
    -who offer unsolicited suggestions or criticize the man's dancing
    -who ignore the music completely
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "May I suggest something....?"

    I thought about starting a thread on this one. It's funny. I've only gone to a Portland tango event twice since being in Buenos Aires last year (It'll be a year in a couple of months!), and no one has offered to "suggest something" to me in a year's worth of dancing twice a week at a country western place.
    There's something about AT...

    At a milonga it is definately out of place coming from anyone.
    At a practica... well, 'I politely listen, but he/she is on my blacklist from then on.'
    But I'm thinking about, "Am I hurting you?" followed by "Am I making you uncomfortable?" and finally (probably) "Would you like to take a break?"

    I've tried to talk to some of these women, and, far as I can tell, their knowledge is very limited. Which is why, I guess, they think they are being helpful.

    I can honestly say that this is, for me, one of the biggest turn offs in the tango scene.
  4. AnnaN

    AnnaN Member

    Yes, i have to admit I was at a practica and a very experienced dancer who never gives advice asked me not to lean too much on him because it gets him off of his axis, and he is not really short, but still a bit shorter than me when I wear heels, so I was conscious of it.

    One beginner though (in this case 2 years of experience) told me at a milonga not to look at our feet while we dance. Now, I do not normally do this, but for some reason I did look at our feet. What other options do I have? He was much shorter than me, and I tried dancing with closed eyes, but it was kind of weird. Then I turned my head so that we looked in the same direction and that ended up being the floor.... Anyway, he blamed the lack of synch and of good lead on my looking at the floor which to me is BS. He is not entirely a bad leader, but I think that to me the height difference was really a problem. Then again I am not a teacher, so I can't say that I am diagnosing the problem very well. I think that we were not in synch rhythmically as well...

    p.s. I do not look at the feet because I do not know the steps. If I do look at the feet, it's more to admire the figures we do. In any case, he told me that he leads better if I do not look down....
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    He may indeed be very experienced, but not in the apilado style; which means he has more to learn. This assumes that "leaning on" means "leaning into", not "hanging on." If he does know how to dance apilado, but prefers a less intense connection, there is a way to say that without telling someone that "it gets him off of his axis." Ummm, he's not very experienced in my book.

    Just for the record, tilting your head forward usually changes your posture with the chest moving from a convex (or out) position, to a concave position.


    Side bar:
    On a recent trekking trip there was a tall, young (19) year old woman who was very fit and was in fact on a college athletic team. It saddened me that her posture was quite bad. She knew how to stand up straight because she had taken ballet, and one time stood at her full height.
    I can see, though, how being a tall woman can be even more challenging than being a tall man.
    I should post pix of me with Skippy Blair to see how bad my posture can be at times (although not usually, I hope, because I've been working on it for years.)
  6. AnnaN

    AnnaN Member


    re the first dancer, makes sense. I do not see him dancing apilado style, so :)
    re the second dancer: I am attaching a picture of our position, but of course one has to imagine the difference in height. The top of his head was touching my chin.

    I tend to try to accommodate for the difference in height by almost squatting which could be done well, but I do not think that this is my forte.

    Attached Files:

  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    Is 5'6" is 168 which is not tall at all. It average height.
    I am 6'2" and women's height I find most appropriate without heels is 5'8" - 5'9"
  8. AnnaN

    AnnaN Member

    Yes, it is. And if you are 6'2", then 5'6" is average, but for guys that are 5'4" and even 5'7", that's skyskraper height. For the leaders around me, 5'6" + 2.5" (for heels) is super tall!!!! I do not have many 6'2" leaders around me! I wish there were more that height.
  9. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I don't know, I am 5'3", and sometimes I lead. I have no problem leading taller ladies, and they have no trouble following me. The only inconvenience is when a lady is tall and big, it makes difficult to see in front of me at times, so I have to be extra careful about navigation.
    I have followed people who are shorter than me. Cannot report any problems, either.
  10. AnnaN

    AnnaN Member

    You are right, and it can be a lot of fun too. It's not a problem if there are no extreme acrobatics.
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    In my scene there is a very experienced, skilled and admired follower I actually used to ignore. Her style was with lean, her steps with resistance, and her left hand always weighted heavily on my right shoulder.

    Once she asked: "Why do you treat my like part of the furniture?"
    Me: "One dance with you and I´ve got to leave the party."
    Her: "Why didn´t you tell me?"
    Me "I did not mean to be unpolite".
    Her: "If you just had said a single word, so I was always wondering why."
    Me: "Ok, so let´s try on-axis."

    Now she is one of my favorite dance partners, light as a feather even in the deepest volcadas.
    Kelena and AnnaN like this.
  12. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Re: dog breath - bad breath can be a sign of periodontal disease (DW is an RDH and she can tell me after one dance which leaders badly need to see their dentist) or a more systemic problem like GI ulcers, or even cancer.

    I'm not saying you should tolerate it, just be aware that the leader might have (aside from poor dental hygiene) physical problems he might not even be aware of.
  13. pascal

    pascal Member

    - Followers who are stalking me with their cabeceo, staring at me all night long, making it impossible for me to look even vaguely in their direction to cabeceo someone else, or to approach the area of the room where their table is.
    Two women like this, seated in opposite places, and the only safe place that remains is the bar.

    - More generally, followers who invite me. If I did not invite them then I don't want to dance with them.

    - Follower who can't dance. Not a lack of talent or greatness, just not knowing the basics. No cross, no axis, no pivots.

    - Followers who smell. Breath, sweat, or worse.

    - Followers who do their routine whatever I may lead. I lead a sandwich and they will
    always add a front boleo, I lead an ocho and they will always touch my foot with their toes,
    I lead a pause and they will always wrap my waist with their left leg.

    - Followers who can't adjust to my mood on the given music. I go for an intense Pugliese, she sees a friend walking in and waves her hand, she misses a step and laughs at her mistake.

    - Followers who put their left arm diagonally up down in my back, Geraldine style, except they're not Geraldine.

    - Followers who talk to you the american way, making you guilty whatever you may answer. "Can you understand that I was confused?"
  14. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Those followers don't bother me, because I don't dance with them. I can't dance if my R shoulder or upper arm is having to press up on my partner's L arm. It tips me over.
  15. AnnaN

    AnnaN Member


    I am very much aware that perodontal disease could be the problem for such leaders, and I know that it is really a burden to have this condition especially once one is aware of how it affects others and one's social life. But these people do not seem to realize the consequences, and it is a pity that they do not have family members to help them notice this as a problem.

    During one of my tango classes there was one guy with this condition (I am not sure if it was perodontitis or something else), but no follower could dance with him, everyone was looking for an excuse to skip dancing with him, and all followers became super mad with the teachers when they won't let us change partners more frequently. In the end the follower teacher danced with him the most; she was such a good soul!

    I also wanted to add that the people in whom I have met this condition generally tend to be asocial types and have decided to use tango as a way to meet more people.
  16. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    Pet peeve? Assuming that if a follower is under 40 she will want to do stage tango moves or dance in open embrace.
    Doing big moves on a crowded dance floor.
    Lane hopping or over taking. I will tank you after one dance if you do it as I don't feel safe.
    Also, if you are not a mate, coming and asking me to dance. Cabaceo me please, I don't want to have to embarrass you.
  17. Nathan

    Nathan Member

    1) Women who lose focus during the dance, especially if they start fidgeting. I put everything I have into each dance, and I expect my partners to do the same.

    2) Women who talk while dancing.

    3) Women without standards, who will dance with anyone, no matter how terrible they are. This behavior discourages leaders from making efforts to improve, and over time the entire community deteriorates as a result.

    4) Women who have nearly impossible standards, and won't dance with anyone who isn't (in their opinion) one of the top three dancers in the room.
    Kelena likes this.
  18. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    You may come to understand this some time.
  19. Nathan

    Nathan Member

    I understand the (many) reasons and feelings behind it, and at least some of them are quite valid in my opinion, but I think there's a point when it becomes antisocial to be so exclusive. Personally, I'm very selective with my dances, but I try to set aside at least a few tandas per night for newer dancers or out-of-towners. I realize that the game is different for women — all I'm saying is that both extremes are bad for the community.
    opendoor likes this.
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Why is that antisocial? Many women always complain about getting too few dances, say that there are not enough men. So, perhaps, if a few ladies are so picky they rather sit than dance with the majority of leaders present (and those ladies are usually not the ones complaining about the quantity of the tandas they get), the rest of the girls, as a result, would get more dances and feel happier? :)

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