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

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
Nice try, but won't work. As much as I like my favourite followers, I never dance more than one tanda with the same lady.
Well, that's you. Do you have some way to know whether the leaders at HER milongas dance multiple tandas with the same people?

There are leaders here who do. And I have frequently danced several tandas in a night with the same leaders (not my partner)
 
I took the lesson, although there weren't many in it. I got one tanda with one of my favorite leaders, and that was IT. I finally asked a man I'm friendly with to dance with me, an he kindly obliged, but that was it for the evening.

Obviously, my dancing is just not good enough, despite what everyone tells me. It's fine for if there isn't much to choose from, but if there are more than five or so really good follows, I'm out. I even thought if I stuck it out 'til midnight, after some of the other single ladies left, maybe the leaders would get tired of dancing with their favorites over and over and over and over again and finally give me some love. nope.

Maybe I'll skip the dances for a while. My ego can only take so much.
Looking back on this thread it seems that you started AT about 5 weeks ago and judging by your description of last night you attended a Milonga and not a practica. Is that roughly correct?

I don't know about other people here and I am a leader and not a follower but did not attend any milongas until I had been dancing six months. Two of them were sort of protected situations. One was where a group of dancers with similar background and experience as me turned up to a handpicked venue once a month organised by the Dave Bailey and the other was a Milonga but really a practilonga on a Sunday evening organised by the Tango school I went to. The third was for a weekend at the tail end of a 10 day festival. After I arrived I knew that I put myself in the deep end and although I was pleased for that on off experience I would not have done it on a regular basis.

I spent most of my first year looking for practicas that were attached to a class and then spending time with people of similar ability or if of greater ability not having any more of an expectation of me.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
Maybe I'll skip the dances for a while. My ego can only take so much.
I'm not sure that's going to help, although I certainly relate to the sentiment. Tango can be very hard on the ego. You're ego will need to be pretty solid to stick with tango over the long haul. I've been doing this for ... ahem. (cough, cough) ... awhile now and I can still end up sitting more than dancing at any given event. And I assure you that I don't suck. (although sometimes I think I do :(.... usually though that's because I'm unhappy with the way I danced, not because I didn't get to dance)

Sometimes leaders just want to go out and have fun with a friend without worrying about "spreading the wealth". Sometimes they just want to relax and enjoy dancing with someone who is familiar. It's easier to lead someone that you've lead many, many times (unless she's just bad). Even if the follower is quite good, if she's unfamiliar, it represents a different challenge for the leader than dancing with a less skilled familiar follower.

I certainly wish that all leaders were motivated to make sure as many followers get to dance as they can manage, but even though that's a nice thought, it's not going to happen. Some leaders try to get to as many people as they can, and some leaders stick to their favorites (and simply don't dance if their favorites aren't there or aren't available) In some cases their favorites might not even be the best dancers... she might just be someone that he's comfortable with, or a friend from outside of tango.

As long as there's an imbalanced ratio of leaders to followers, you're going to sit out some when you don't have a regular partner. In the beginning, you won't get asked for every dance, and after you've become quite good, you won't accept every dance you're asked for because you will have realized that some leaders just aren't worth the potential problems.

And since I brought up "problem" leaders... even with your dance background, you may not have reached a level yet where you can still look good dancing tango with someone who leads you poorly. It's a real catch22 for followers... you want to dance but if you look bad dancing because you accept dances from people who lead badly, you won't get asked by better leaders.

On the other hand, if you DON'T accept dances from anyone but the best leaders, you probably still won't get asked by the good leaders, because they won't see you dancing at all. And those inexperienced leaders you refused today won't have anything to do with you down the road when they get better.

And then there's the question of styles. My guess is that at this point in your tango, you're better at some styles than others. Most leaders have a preference of embrace and style. Even those that like several different ones still have a preference for dancing certain styles to certain music. They also have preferences for certain partners for certain music based on how they plan to dance.

There is no way in such a short time you could have made it to the top of all these ladders. If you want to avoid sitting out, you need to be proficient in a variety of embraces and styles so that no matter what music comes on and what style a particular leader likes, you are one of his partners of choice. This takes quite awhile and until you're there, you almost need the stars to align just right with music, leader, and style choice while you're sitting there (and other followers of choice are not)

If there were more leaders than followers, all this would get reversed in a heartbeat, or else the leaders would all be giving up.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
Thanks, everyone. Maybe you're right in that I should stick to practicas if I go out. And take more lessons, of course. It wouldn't burn me so much if I didn't see women who are awful dancers getting dances while I sit there...but then, these are aggressive women who will snatch any man they can while I try to be polite and wait to be asked.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
Well, that's you. Do you have some way to know whether the leaders at HER milongas dance multiple tandas with the same people?

There are leaders here who do. And I have frequently danced several tandas in a night with the same leaders (not my partner)
Yeah...I know they do, because I watched them do it. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It just would have been nice if I got ONE. And I have also been the lucky follower to have two or three tandas with one of those very leaders.

And, I do tend to get luckier later in the evening, most of the time. I joke that I'm midnight good...not good enough to dance with at 9:00, but good enough to dance with at midnight! (kind of like 2:00 pretty in the bar scene)

In the case of Saturday, it was mostly the very good dancers who were dancing all night long, with a few of the lesser ones getting a dance here and there. There were just so darned many good follows, the men were like kids in a candy store. Someday I'll be able to compete with that, but not right now.
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
...Someday I'll be able to compete with that, but not right now.
That is correct, but no matter when you start attending milongas, you'll still have to make yourself known to the leaders, and that will probably take a few times. If you are a good dancer, it won't take very long for them to notice you.

I like to dance with beginners, if I think that by doing so it will help them to learn, and if I think they show enough devotion to stick out the slow learning curve. I won't dance with beginners the first or second time I see them. If I see that they are not just dabbling with tango, but are sincerely interested in learning, then I'll dance with them. Too many dancers (men and women) only show up a few times and then quit, and I don't want to waste my time with them.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
That is correct, but no matter when you start attending milongas, you'll still have to make yourself known to the leaders, and that will probably take a few times. If you are a good dancer, it won't take very long for them to notice you.

I like to dance with beginners, if I think that by doing so it will help them to learn, and if I think they show enough devotion to stick out the slow learning curve. I won't dance with beginners the first or second time I see them. If I see that they are not just dabbling with tango, but are sincerely interested in learning, then I'll dance with them. Too many dancers (men and women) only show up a few times and then quit, and I don't want to waste my time with them.
We've been out 2-3 times per week since we started, seeing many of the same people from venue to venue. I do sometimes break down and invite leaders to dance so I get out there, so I do get seen dancing, and I am getting to know a lot of the local dancers. I know I need to just stick it out through the slow times and deal with it....there's no other way. It's just a little disheartening. Of course, I really shouldn't whine because I have my very nice husband to dance with, but we both prefer to dance with each other just a few times in the evening and dance with a lot of other people to keep things interesting.
 
Oy vey.
Again: in tango everything takes a lot of time and patience. Two months down the road is way too early to give up and get frustrated.

Some other fun tango trivia to consider:

There are people who will never dance with you, no matter how good you get. There are milongas with a group of people who do not mingle, and only dance among themselves. Therefore, in milongas patronized mostly by those people you will sit a lot. It's OK. If you don't feel like sitting, you do not have to patronize a place where the majority of leaders snub you. There are other milongas. It will take time to see what is going on, and find your niche.

Every milonguera, regardless of her level, from beginners to tango stars, once in a while has a night on which she feels invisible. When it happens to you, do not torture yourself with questions: "Did some environmental disaster happen so every leader in this joint suddenly went blind?" "Does my dancing suck?" "Do I smell?" etc etc. Write it off as a bad night, go home and get some sleep. Next time will be better.

If a leader prefers dancing with awful followers, ask yourself: do you really want to dance with him? ;)
 
A minor note: who is an awful follower and who is not is quite difficult to judge from the outside. What can be judged from the outside is how elegantly can she execute figures, and this of course correlates with how good it feels to dance with her (through the amount of time spent in tango), but the correlation is way below 1. I met almost complete beginners with whom nevertheless we could consistently have truly immersing dances and fabulous embraces, and I also met many quite professional looking followers who dance with elegance but with whom we consistently have quite awful dances, who does not have the slightest idea about connection or can't offer a comfortable embrace. So don't be too quick to judge from the outside why leaders prefer to dance with this or that.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
A minor note: who is an awful follower and who is not is quite difficult to judge from the outside. What can be judged from the outside is how elegantly can she execute figures, and this of course correlates with how good it feels to dance with her (through the amount of time spent in tango), but the correlation is way below 1. I met almost complete beginners with whom nevertheless we could consistently have truly immersing dances and fabulous embraces, and I also met many quite professional looking followers who dance with elegance but with whom we consistently have quite awful dances, who does not have the slightest idea about connection or can't offer a comfortable embrace. So don't be too quick to judge from the outside why leaders prefer to dance with this or that.
I get that, but two followers I know well enough to know they're awful followers. I've known them for years.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Write it off as a bad night, go home and get some sleep.
This is somewhat heretical, but here goes.

I have a backup venue (actually two now) that is/are not Argentine Tango, where I have a much better chance of enjoying myself. I go there, too, as something like an antidote to the sometimes bleak outcomes at AT venues.
 

bastet

Active Member
Pretty much everyone has nights like this. Things will get better. My suggestion is to solicit feedback at practicas, but pick and choose who you ask for feedback from. Also remember that everyone doesn't like the exact same things, so you will get some conflicting advice. Take advice from the best dancers more seriously, and of course, if most people are saying similar things, you should take that advice seriously, as well.

When the wife and I started tango, We had issues from time to time, trying to figure things out. She had a dance background (ballet, albeit many years ago), and despite what I told her, she seemed to think that since she had done ballet in the past, this would be easy. Of course I had plenty of issues too, but for a different reason. I liked a lot of the music and it inspired me to try to do things. However I didn't have the skills needed to express myself (nor have any of the skills needed to lead it for the followers).

Now that we've been doing it for a while, I think her ballet experience probably has helped her, but it certainly did not early on. As for me, somewhere on my journey, I discovered this magical mystical thing sometimes referred to as "connection", which gave me an additional way to view things. Then my dance started to improve. In just a few years I went from sucks, all the way to mediocre. I feel the sky is the limit for me now.

every time I hear you say that dchester- I wish I could get a dance with you! :p
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
I get that, but two followers I know well enough to know they're awful followers. I've known them for years.
This has me curious. What is it about these two that led you to conclude they are poor followers? Is it something you've seen, or is it something you heard?
(I'm going under the assumption that you've never lead them in tango, thus wouldn't really know first hand).

This can be difficult to understand (when new to tango), but sometimes, the person doing the least may actually be the best dancer.
 
This has me curious. What is it about these two that led you to conclude they are poor followers? Is it something you've seen, or is it something you heard?
(I'm going under the assumption that you've never lead them in tango, thus wouldn't really know first hand).

This can be difficult to understand (when new to tango), but sometimes, the person doing the least may actually be the best dancer.
Actually, sometimes even if I lead women, and they do not follow me well, and all I know and observe about them indicates that they are rather poor dancers, I still see how some leaders who dance with them are able to make it work, and I understand why they may find dancing with them enjoyable.
 

Dance Ads