More Festival Observations from Fandango de Tango

Etiquette

At the milongas, I was very disappointed to see several "Master" teachers cut off and ignore other dancers behind them as they entered the line of dance.

The cabeceo was more consistently used by local dancers, than by visiting dancers (though there were a few much appreciated exceptions).

Floorcraft

Over-use of the 8-count basic at the milonga was greatly reduced this year and floor craft was generally a bit better than last year. However it was a lot less crowded this year, too - making things much easier. That said, there was still far too much "teaching" on the milonga floor. As Alex wrote:

"Do not ever teach or work through 'moves' on the dance floor at a social milonga. You are embarrassing yourself, and you are embarrassing the woman you are dancing with. We are embarrassed for you, and feel sorry for her." (http://alextangofuego.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-couldnt-bear-to-watch-check-your.html)

Lack of food

No surprise here. Hotels, because they'd prefer you patronize their restaurants and bar, often do not serve snacks or beverages (other than water) at the milongas. If for that reason alone, hotel milongas are never quite as welcoming-feeling as those held in other venues where food and drink are more readily available - even for sale.

Two hours of Master Teachers' performances
(during the Saturday milonga.)

I know a lot of people really like the shows, but two hours is a very long time to be sitting. I think it's a difference of perspective that will probably never be resolved. Many people look at the $45 cover charge for the milonga to be worth it because there's a show. Others look at that $45 and think, why am I paying more to dance less? The big show brings the big(ger) crowd, and so theoretically more dancing. Still, I'd rather have an hour less of performances, and another hour to dance.

No Practicas

That's really a lose/lose situation. If dancers don't get a chance to practice what they've just learned in (rather expensive) classes, they'll start to lose the information pretty rapidly. I know I do. The other option is to break with the accepted etiquette and practice their moves at the milonga which will likely frustrate them - and annoy the other dancers (particularly their partners who were not in the same classes with them.) See Alex's comment above, and his post regarding ideas like a dedicated practice room.

Conclusion

I did, despite what I wrote above, have very good time at Fandango and had loads of wonderful dances. I enjoyed seeing people from out of town and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. Spending time with friends, at the milongas and during the day, was the highlight of the festival. But mostly, just like last year, Fandango made me miss the atmosphere of my local venues and look forward even more to Austin's Spring Tango Festival. (Registration is open now, by the way. :-) Just in case you're interested.)

2 comments:

Tango Therapist said...

Mari, the práctic issue I brought up directly to Ricardo, but he dismissed it. He said that people had lots of space to practice after each class. A few problems here: No music. If dance is a number of compiled steps, then the music is an after thought. I disagree with this assumption, but I see this as a common theme among teachers. Second assumption is that a man or woman could find a partner to dance with after the class. I said, "I say this as a customer." Each of your points are well taken.

Mari Johnson said...

Thank you Mark, I know several people brought up a few of the above issues to Ricardo (and have in the past as well). For whatever reason, he sticks with the formula he's always used and it works for him for now. Attendance was light this time around though so moving forward he may have to find ways to "up his game". We'll see.