Cabeceo promotes better dancing

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#21
Gssh,
None of what you desribe happens in reality in BsAs. It is all split second timing. No one knows if she was his first or second choice. If his first choice never looked his way, then I'm glad he turned to look at me.
You are making this sound so complicated. If I don't want to dance a certain tanda because it's milonga, or an orchestra I don't know, I watch the dancing. No one can invite me when I don't want to dance.

Have you used the cabeceo in BsAs?
Yes, i have used the cabeceo in BA (i am actually not sure if that means all that much - you can find any tango related behaviour you can imagine "in reality in BsAs" - you just have to pick the right milonga at the right time of the night, and even the "same" milonga with the same organizers will have a somewhat different crowd and different dancing at different venues/times, e.g. compare the different cachirulos with each other) - and i completely agree - most of this is all happening in split seconds - i did not want to make it sound complicated (i lapse into game theory-speak when trying to explain what i experience as different strategies - sorry) - what i wanted to emphasize is that "asking" is the leader asking one follower, and the follower accepting/rejecting one leader, while the is cabeceo more like leaders and followers sweeping over potential partners and see if eyes stick.

Gssh
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#22
I know I danced with tourists in BA, because some of them were speaking languages other than Spanish. But then, some of them ONLY spoke Spanish, so...
... there are, of course, no Spanish-speaking tourists in large capital cities in places where Spanish is spoken, and there are no Argentinians for whom BsAs is a remote big and rarely-visited city, and there are certainly no native Portenos who don't have tango in their blood... ;)
 
#23
I don't think I do apply cabeceo at BsAs standard but some aspects should be in place. Some followers can have surprising intensity in their communication; When a follower pass me in a milonga and I know she wants to dance with me. Or when another follower became aware of my intention and didn't want to dance with me it is equally clear. It is not only about the direction followers are looking at but also about the will and intensity behind that it.

To me the distance is an important aspect when I need to reject a dance. One of the followers in our community put her arms around my neck when asking for next tanda and it was the easiest thing to hug her and say no thanks. This easiness was such a surprice to me - still thinking of it!

In my world the most painful distance for a NO is at arm length from each other when she is asking: Would you LIKE to dance with me ...
 

LKSO

Active Member
#24
At some venues, cabaceo isn't used; small talk is. Walk up to a woman, start a conversation, blah blah, "would you like to dance?" "Sure." I don't know where the rejection can occur in this case... maybe just starting the conversation is a binding contract that you would like to dance with him/her, as was already mentioned.
 
#25
Of particular annoyance to me is when I actually say hello to someone and they don't say hello or look at me. Walking past without initiating an interaction is one thing. Refusing to respond is especially rude. The only people who do this are the same couple of leaders who don't ever ask me to dance. If I even try to just give them a friendly greeting, they go into avoidance mode! (One of them has actually NEVER danced with me, so it's not as though he knows he dislikes doing so!) I'm not the only one who has complained about these two leaders. They won't even speak to people they don't want to dance with, not even to respond with basic manners and courtesy.
I have similar experience. For a while I thought that I must look terrible in their eyes, but now I think they probably only greet the people they already know.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#27
"Practicing cabeceo allows dancers to avoid the unpleasant emotions of rejection"

It may let you avoid SOME of the emotions.. the ones that come primarily from others seeing you get rejected.

But rejected is rejected no matter how it comes about. For me anyway, being rejected causes the emotions, not the way I get rejected. If someone that I want to dance with isn't interested in dancing with me, then I'm going to feel what I feel even if it is done by cabeceo.

I imagine the quote might apply more to men because cabeceo allows them to avoid the embarrassment of a face-to-face rejection by a woman? Since I don't ask leaders/men to dance, I am only rejected by virtue of not being asked. Because of that, I find the whole cabeceo rather demeaning because it means that not only am I rejected as a dance partner, but rejected socially as well. It is dehumanizing in a social setting to have someone completely ignore you to the point of not even ever making eye contact or engaging in friendly conversation when standing right next to you.

Milongas in my area tend to have a cocktail party atmosphere to some extent. There is chit-chatting and socializing going on far beyond what happens in a traditional milonga in BA. Many have far more people milling around than can be seated at tables. Everyone knows one another. When someone refuses to interact with you AT ALL for fear that it will be considered an invitation to dance (or worse, an obligation) it creates more discomfort and hurt feelings than not using cabeceo does. Just about every follower in my area has complained about leaders who won't even say "Hi" (to the followers they don't dance with) when entering the venue and walking right past them.

Maybe the followers should take some of the responsibility for the leader's discomfort. If they pounce on leaders for a dance or act as though a simple greeting is an automatic invitation, then it's no surprise that leaders avoid them. But there are plenty of instances where people get rudely snubbed by someone just trying to say "hello".

In some ways, the whole cabeceo thing (in my area) has created more problems than it solves. If the expectation was that leaders do the asking, and if someone doesn't ask, then they aren't interested, then it would allow for less awkward socializing. Of course, that wouldn't solve the problem of men getting turned down face to face, but frankly, leaders don't get turned down very much here.... there are so few of them compared to the number of followers.

And I won't even go into the issue of how DARK milongas are here and how hard it is for anyone (well, me anyway) to tell whether someone more than 3 feet away is trying to cabeceo you! I can't even tell sometimes if the person standing right in front of me is looking at me or the follower sitting next to me!
That reminds me of a party game we played when we were kids..was it "murder?"
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#28
The discussion, so far, has been about whether cabeceo is a good way to get dances, whereas the title asserts that it promotes better dancing. Does it: how?
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#29
The discussion, so far, has been about whether cabeceo is a good way to get dances, whereas the title asserts that it promotes better dancing. Does it: how?
Quite frankly i think its a mystifying statement. If I ask has the cabeceo been an incentive or motivational factor in my own dancing?"the answer is an unequivocal. 'No.'
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#30
The English seem to find little or no use for cabeceo. Unless you are part of a group (a small minority, usually) who understand its use, or in a venue where it is the norm (not many, here, as far as I can tell), you just won't dance if you rely on it.

We hate to be stared at, and anyone trying to catch our eye by looking at us for more than a moment or two makes us feel uncomfortable. Outnumbered followers, who want to dance, can be the worst practitioners. They sit together (which at least tells us leaders that they are not keeping company and that they might be available to dance), but they will nearly always be found, at cortina time, deeply in conversation with each other (about shoes, or cake, or both), never looking up, or seemingly paying any attention to those around them. It can be a heck of a risk to actually go up to one of them and ask them if they would like a dance. If they realise that you are there at all, and look up, they may look startled or surprised - as though it was the last thing they expected - and they may very well turn you down out of embarrassment or even because they were mid-sentence (and it can't have been because they have seen me or anyone else dance - they never seem to glance at the dance floor). I generally leave them alone, and can end up dancing very little and leaving early, even though the room is comparatively full of potential partners.

Perhaps organisers could offer segregated seating: dancers and others. At least you'd be in with a chance ...
 

jfm

Active Member
#31
they will nearly always be found, at cortina time, deeply in conversation with each other (about shoes, or cake, or both), never looking up, or seemingly paying any attention to those around them. .
Well at the milongas I go to where we do that it's because we don't want you to ask until you know what the music is because
a. if you ask during the cortina and then they play 1960s D'arienzo I will not want to dance and I will not enjoy the tanda no matter how you think you dance.
b. It shows you don't care what the music is. In that case I do not want to dance with you.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#32
Well at the milongas I go to where we do that it's because we don't want you to ask until you know what the music is because
a. if you ask during the cortina and then they play 1960s D'arienzo I will not want to dance and I will not enjoy the tanda no matter how you think you dance.
b. It shows you don't care what the music is. In that case I do not want to dance with you.
that still does'nt imply better dancing will happen.....only that people chose to dance to their favourite music....which again doesnt need a cabeceo. I often get 'booked' for milongas by one lady and valses by a couple of others..then the cabeceo is just a nod to a prearranged agreement..
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#33
Well at the milongas I go to where we do that it's because we don't want you to ask until you know what the music is because
a. if you ask during the cortina and then they play 1960s D'arienzo I will not want to dance and I will not enjoy the tanda no matter how you think you dance.
b. It shows you don't care what the music is. In that case I do not want to dance with you.
Fair comment, but you have misunderstood my meaning (which is largely my fault, because I wasn't clearer). I don't expect to contract for the next dance without regard for the music being played next*; but I do expect anyone who wants to dance to give the room (ie the other dancers) their full attention once the floor had largely cleared and the next tanda is about to begin. This seems to be the point in the cycle when the attractions of shoes, cake (or whatever) are most pressing on the attention of those followers who are the first to complain that they don't get many dances. Let 'em sit!

*Actually, if it's a night when it's a struggle to get dances I'd rather line up a partner even before I know what the music is, than to sit out all night. My only exception is if the DJ is playing non-tango music (why would they do that?) and I know that I have nothing to offer. But if it's any mainstream orchestra: I'll have a go. Of course, I have favourites, but I look upon a less favoured orchestra as a chance to learn and grow as a dancer, not a chore. The day it's a chore is the day I quit.
 

jfm

Active Member
#34
Not saying it'll lead to better dancing, just pointing out why we don't look receptive to invitations during the cortinas.
 

jfm

Active Member
#36
But if it's any mainstream orchestra: I'll have a go. Of course, I have favourites, but I look upon a less favoured orchestra as a chance to learn and grow as a dancer, not a chore. The day it's a chore is the day I quit.
Yes but followers have a preference too, if you've looked at them dancing you will see that some appear to be happier or 'better' when they are dancing to one orchestra or style of music over another. I like to match my partners to the music. Nothing worse than dancing with someone whose style is a total mismatching with the music. Incredibly frustrating.
 

jfm

Active Member
#37
Jan's title suggests it'll lead to better dancing. What do you say to that?
I was responding to your comment. I don't see how complaining that british women don't look receptive to invitations before they know what the tanda's going to be will make your dancing better either. And I really don't think that Jan would agree that accepting an invitation to dance before the music starts will lead to better dancing.
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#38
I was responding to your comment. I don't see how complaining that british women don't look receptive to invitations before they know what the tanda's going to be will make your dancing better either.
... and I've made it clear that that wasn't what I meant. What's you preferred shoe brand?
 

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