Heartbroken II... Update

I'm still sorting through the emails from my "Heartbroken and musings" post and it may be a little while before I get to everyone. I didn't realize how many ways my post could be taken - though I should have. So I'm writing this follow-up to hopefully clear up some misunderstandings.

1. I do not dislike Nuevo Tango. Period. It's a beautiful, expressive style of dance that I do, granted on rare occasions, feebly attempt to dance. My "problem", as one reader put it, with Nuevo is logistics at the milonga - especially crowded milongas. And it's the same problem I would have with estilo milonguero dancers that would hold up the line of dance to lead endless ochos or something. Bad manners are bad manners - no matter who is doing it. The biggest difference is that dancing bigger, or more open, makes it that much easier for others to see mistakes and navigation issues.

2. I do believe that there are challenges for Nuevo dancers in managing space and accurately gauging how much space their movements require. Some dancers are great at this. Others are not so great. I don't think teachers address these challenges enough. (Similarly, I also think there are challenges that close embrace dancers face in performing off-axis moves like volcadas and the like, that they have not been prepared for adequately in classes.) Learning good technique is the challenge for tango dancers no matter what style they dance. Again, nuevo dancers have the burden of being far more visible when something goes wrong.

3. Estilo milonguero and apilado are styles of dance that I strongly prefer - I'm not making any claims to it being "authentic tango" - not because I don't have beliefs on the matter, I very much do. I just don't believe I have the expertise/perspective/background/experience to make that kind of determination. I'll let other writers/dancers duke that out. I have opinions, and that's all they are.

4. My post was in response to things that were said to me, and written in other blogs, over about a week. It wasn't something I came up with while pondering "the great meaning of tango" or anything. It was in response to feeling hurt, hence the title. And I know that some of the comments I was responding to were in response to others feeling hurt - or feeling the need to defend their position. Which leads me to my next point . . .

5. There is far too much stereotyping in these discussions - and all they do is set people to defending their positions. I've been guilty of it, and I've seen it on all sides of the argument. It's divisive and in the end only hurts communities. Address the action - colliding with people, kicking people, etc. and resist making comments that such-and-such dancer is (or group of dancers are) rude, insensitive so-and-so's.

6. The primary/most important/personally impacting reason I don't like certain moves that are frequently associated with open embrace/nuevo styles, like deep or frequent volcadas, colgadas etc. is that they're uncomfortable for me physically. When I try to tell partners that at practicas, the response is usually a lecture on how much I would love such-and-such a move if I just learned better technique. Might be true, might not be. There are things that no matter how many classes and privates I take, I will probably not be able to do comfortably. I'm actually not all that comfortable going into that with people I don't know well because, like I mentioned above, it begins to feel like I have to defend my position on not wanting to do something. If I say that something is uncomfortable for me, I'd really like that to be enough.

7. I don't dislike or want to devalue performance tango. (I do dislike stage tango at the milongas - that's a different matter.) The biggest reason I have no interest in learning stage tango, as this is now being offered in our community the topic has come up, is that it would take time and resources away from the things I could use more often and more easily at milongas, and it would be so uncomfortable, even risky, for me physically. That's it. Again, it's not a philosophical argument - it's personal.

8. This blog is only a collection of my opinions. I'm not, and have never claimed to be, an expert on anything, including tango. Not only do I believe that my readers should take everything I say with "a grain of salt", I don't think dancers should take anything anyone says to be the gospel truth of tango.

One final caveat - my opinions, like everyone else's, are subject to change at any time, without notice. I feel one way today, and I write about it in my blog. I may feel a different way tomorrow as a result of a particularly enlightening conversation, eureka moment, life-altering experience, full moon, extra chocolate, whatever - likely I will blog about that too. That's why I have a blog. I frequently spout off about things I may, or may not, know nearly enough about to have such opinions. That's just what writers do. Sometimes we write just to sort things out and get feedback. I will always publish comments, negative or positive, unless they are personally abusive. And frankly, they have to be pretty bad. I'm not censoring comments or cherry-picking the responses I like. So fire away.


Stephen Shortnacy said...

Hi Mari, I really love reading your blog and posts and that is coming from someone who usually does not enjoying reading! I do enjoy the thought provoking topics but hope no one (especially in the local community) are making personal attacks. Keep it up!

Mari said...

Thanks Stephen, for your comment. I'm happy that you like what I write - I'm still nervous every time I hit publish lol. The posts are like kids leaving the nest - you're just not sure how they're going to be taken once they're out in the world.

The only feedback I've gotten that was truly inappropriate wasn't because they were critical of me (I publish that stuff) but lumped in criticism of other people that had nothing to do with what I had written. That sort of thing just isn't necessary. So I answered them (both from Europe) with basically a 'thank you for your input, feel free to address this further on your own blog/site if you want, but it has nothing to do with what I wrote. kthxbai.'

I've never gotten anything inappropriate from local folks - though I've accidentally fueled some misunderstandings more than once and been taken to task for it. I actually welcome that. I'd rather someone call me on something I've said/written, rather than wondering if that's what I meant, or just being irritated with me. Thankfully there are several people who are more than willing to call BS on something of mine if they see it lol.

Tango Therapist said...

Just think about it like this: Jesus didn't even have a blog. Thank God! He had some blogging disciples and evidently Jesus essentially he spoke of forgiveness and love. And how many wars have ensued around Christianity? Interestingly enough, talking about being kind to your milonga neighbor by limiting one's dangerous moves may cause at least a few wars. You know love/kindness talk gets people in the mood for war! Can't you please keep these ideas to yourself? :-)

Anonymous said...

Honey, the fact that you are a woman means that you can change your mind anytime you want. That is one of the unwritten rules! You don't need to apologise or explain. We can't be all things to all people and in the big grand scheme of things our opinions mean nothing to any but ourselves. Sometimes they are just our thoughts either spoken out loud or put in print. I wouldn't worry too much about what others say and think about what you say and think. I personally think it is great that you share this part of you with us. xx

Mari said...

@TangoTherapist: :P

@londontango - thanks, as always, for your support and comments! :)