Monthly Archives: December 2008

Comical Compliments x 2

We have been struggling a great deal with a big faux-pas here in Buenos Aires.  We do not enjoy dancing in the milongas.  Yes, everyone take a moment to gasp and shake their head in disgust.  We definitely didn’t see that one coming ourselves.*

Here is a brief overview of our reasons.

Both of us:

1) don’t enjoy having to sit apart in order to dance with other people – we miss out on enjoying each others’ company

2) we don’t like the lack of space to dance – dancing Tango in busy downtown milongas is akin to shuffling forward in a grocery line (there is a contradiction in the fact that the walk is one of the most important elements of Tango given that there is NO space to take one normal sized step in a milonga)

K:

1) has not been impressed with the level of dancing (we were both convinced this would not be an issue here, but it is)

2) although she may enjoy some wonderful dances with some wonderful dancers, she does not care if she dances with any of them again (were there some exceptions? yes, but few and far between)

3) she grows tired of the same old steps and patterns found on the crowded milonga floor

Jorge:

1) hates how his dancing is dictated by space and the couples around him rather than by the music and his creative energy

2) finds it difficult to dance with the Porteñas of the milonga that are used to dancing the same old steps and patterns found on the crowded milonga floor because they assume the steps rather than follow

This last point leads to the title of this post.  K received the most comical compliment from two different men on the same night.  In Castellano, she was told by surprised men, “You follow everything!” This compliment really shines light on the difficulties Jorge has with the dancing of the Porteñas.  Meanwhile K was flattered but couldn’t help laugh to herself.  Isn’t she supposed follow everything!?

*As a post-script: We learned to love dancing in the milongas once our Tango movement became appropriate for crowded milongas AND once we unlearned/released the muscle-leading/following we were accustomed to.


Never Stop Learning

While in Buenos Aires, we witnessed many Tango teachers from abroad taking lessons.  We even saw a professional stage dancer and teacher, who is the son of a prominent figure in the history of Tango in Buenos Aires, take lessons from another professional dancer (in the company of us “normal” dancers).  And this is the way it should be!  Too many Tango dancers stop taking lessons too early in their Tango education.  More importantly, there are Tango teachers who have even decided they don’t need or want to learn anymore.

In most careers you’ll hear about the importance of learning new skills and/or keeping your existing ones up-to-date.  Why would this be any different in Tango?

“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live.”

– Mortimer Adler