Exasperated

(rant)

At the milonga . . .

The two dancers on the milonga floor are gorgeous. They're glamorous, musical, lightening-fast and precise in the execution of their steps. Dramatic, intense - everything that audiences love to see in tango dancers (on TV).

They're also taking up three to four times more space on the dance floor as any other couple there. Dancers are giving them a wide berth because no one has any idea what they're going to do next. I sit at my table and watch the show - because that's what it certainly seems like to me - a show. I'm dismayed that this couple seems so completely absorbed in their dance, that they haven't noticed the look of panic on the dancers around them.

And then I hear the remarks.

Aren't they beautiful?
God, they're such amazing dancers!
Stunning - I wish I could dance like that.
I have just got to learn how to do (whatever move they just did).
We're so lucky to be able to watch them.
I wish that he/she would dance with me!


I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. They're pushing other dancers to the periphery of the floor. They're cutting through what little lane organization our milongas can manage. No one can relax while dancing anywhere near them. Yet leaders around me are commenting how they've just "got to" work that (whatever move) into their dance. (More acrobatics to look forward to in my next dance with them.) And more followers, unfortunately, are looking at this dance as the be-all end-all tangasm experience that their next leaders should try to aspire to.

::double face palm::

I can't believe I've gotten addicted to something that's going to make me this irritated.

Maybe I'm just overly sensitive since a couple more leaders are moving toward nuevo style/open embrace dancing. I want to understand. I really try. I learn the moves - I can follow most ganchos now. I've learned how to follow volcadas in parallel and offset. I can manage front and back boleos (but my foot won't leave the ground for a back boleo during the milonga, sorry.) These moves are novel and fun in very small quantities.

If you love the moves and the music moves you to lead them (and you can lead them well in the space available) - great! By all means I'll do my very best to follow them. But if you're leading them only because you think I expect them, or that others want to see them - you may be missing what the dance has to offer you in the moment.

(/rant)

11 comments:

PWS said...

The person I am closest to, in dance and in life has said the same things about spectacles on the floor such as you describe your local dancers are saying. I sort of understand my partner’s enjoyment in sitting back and watching , but privately I detest the idea and the act. I want to dance even more simply than now.

I’d prefer not to dance in the same venue at the same time with performers. There’s a bubble of space that redounds to them that I’m not very happy to confer I need to be able to walk a linear, or a curved linear, firulete into the inner lanes when it’s exigent, that is when someone in front of me is in some protracted bit of show and circus . If I shouldn’t pass them, then I should be allowed to curve into the middle for an instant and come right back out when ‘all is clear’ ahead of me. But I can’t, and not because of my inability to navigate (5 years experience.) Why? Because that’s where I’m sure to run into more of these dancers, with their bubbles intact.

I'm exasperated too. It's a wonderful addiction, though.

Mari said...

PWS - you're right, it is a wonderful addiction. I'm letting go of my exasperation and trying to focus on all the wonderful things that happened in that same milonga - and to be grateful. I don't want to be mean-spirited on my blog. We all have such a personal experience of the dance (and our partner, and the music etc etc) it's hard not to get frustrated. I am, lately anyway, finding it easier to wait until dancers like that take their seats, to return to the floor myself. Thank you so much for your comments - I value them so much.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's mean spirited at all to have a rant about something that peeves you (and when you've put up with it for years, then you'll be more peeved). Mean spirited involves malicious intent, which I do not believe you posses. Ranting because you are annoyed is...ranting. It's venting and trying to understand why you feel like you do and put things in perspective.

bastet

Anonymous said...

My other half danced behind them. He refused to give in to their nonverbal demands for space and they backed off and toned it down...understanding floorcraft rules...it CAN help. They apparently knew them too, and maybe wanted to see how much they could get away with before someone got mad. After that the only thing they got up to dance to was Dramatic music. :)

bastet

Anonymous said...

that should have said "EXTRA" space...as they easily took about 2-3 times the space of a normal dancer.

bastet

The Unknown Tango Theologian said...

Mari, you described the Denver Tango Festival very well. This sort of dancing should not be allowed to be called "Argentine Tango." The best thing is to give the dancers complements on their ballroom style tango. "I was amazed! I didn't know that ballroom could look similar to Argentine tango!" Try to be genuine while saying it. So, you don't like Kamikaze pilots? I think you were kind. The consequence for doing this should be to be made to wear only white suits for a month, and a "hazardous load" sign on his back.

The Unknown Tango Theologian said...

Mari, you described the Denver Tango Festival very well. This sort of dancing should not be allowed to be called "Argentine Tango." The best thing is to give the dancers complements on their ballroom style tango. "I was amazed! I didn't know that ballroom could look similar to Argentine tango!" Try to be genuine while saying it. So, you don't like Kamikaze pilots? I think you were kind. The consequence for doing this should be to be made to wear only white suits for a month, and a "hazardous load" sign on his back.

Anonymous said...

In some communities selfish dancers get 'squeezed' ie they are crowded by other couples so that they can't perform their tricks. They can't usually dance small so the effect is that they get frustrated and don't dance much.

Not much of a solution because it meets the needs of the people who are alarmed by them, but the loss of a couple from the dance scene isn't usually a good thing.

If they seem nice enough then maybe someone should take them aside for a coffee and a chat about manners?

Then again, we all dance our personalities and I wouldn't be dancing today if I was dancing someone else's interpretation of what tango should be.

tangogeoff

londontango said...

It happens in London a lot. It is usually the teachers that do it! I have written about this a few times. Unfortunately, people that think all those flashy moves are so wonderful usually have no idea about the feeling of the music and the two do not usually go hand in hand.
That is why I always watch the dance floor now and choose who I want to dance with. No surprises!

Mari said...

Bastet - thank you for your perspective on that event. I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who was peeved at their behaviour.

Mark - "I was amazed! I didn't know that ballroom could look similar to Argentine tango!" - that cracks me up. White suits and hazardous load sounds good - of course does a sign like, "This vehicle makes wide turns." ;)

tangogeoff - You're right that in the long term speaking to the "offending party" might really be the way to go to build relationships rather than alienating people. Otherwise you can risk seeming rude on the milonga floor yourself. In this case, these were visitors that almost no one knew. They seemed particularly uninterested in feedback regarding their dancing. *shrug*

londontango - another vote for watching the other dancers on the milonga floor. Definitely a habit I've enthusiastically developed. :)

happyseaurchin said...

it is interesting as i catch up with this blog
that my comments from an earlier post
relate to the next one
:)

tricky one

two negative sides:
i think most people who are dancing small
are just going through the motions
and those who are dancing large
have their eyes on those watching them

whereas
the positive sides can be:
those doing small don't care what is going on
if they are really in tango
and those who are doing large
because the music is large

that is
the music ought to dictate the type of dance
just like waltz introduces a higher melody
and so the dance is more fluid and wider
so it is with the music generally

that is
it should never be about what i want
or you want
but what the music pulls out of us...
and how we combine to be whatever is between us
or the sum of us...

i wonder if the next post is going to relate to this...?