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Friday, 4 April 2014

Dance like a man!

Watching dancers at a milonga my internal voice sometimes yells out “Dance like a man!  So what is it that bothers me?

I simply believe that leaders in tango need to display masculinity, and some behaviours, in my eye, exhibit a lack of it.  For example, his left hand pulled in towards him, an open ‘embrace’ with his right hand just above his partner’s hip, walking with tentativeness, flexing his body sideways in order to walk outside his partner.  My advice regarding these: keep the left arm to at least 90 degrees, adopt a genuine, close embrace, walk decisively, and use body dissociation/rotation.

The man needs to transfer his male energy to his partner.  The mentality isn't about leading & following, it’s about clear, effective communication.  It’s about confidence, which is not arrogance; strength but not forcefulness; intensity not anxiety; feeling that you belong there, not fearfulness about being judged.  
Guys! Don’t dance as if you’re apologising for being out there.

The man needs to engender a sense of trust in his partner so that she can relax and be receptive.  He therefore needs to be confident and decisive in every, single move.  Uncertainty can be detected by his partner in a millisecond, trust will diminish and tension will rise …. the dance will  go downhill from there. 

In brief:  Stand like a man, embrace like a man & walk like a man!



Chris said...

"Stand like a man, embrace like a man & walk like a man!"

Well said, Bob.

Here in the UK much of the lack comes from the fact many guys are trying to learn to dance by copying girls. That's because most learn in classes, and increasingly classes are taught by just girls.

The fact is, to dance in the milonga as a guy, one best learns from guys who do it rather than girls who talk about it.

JohnM said...

"Stand like a man, embrace like a man & walk like a man!"
Agreed, but not to this display as you rightly label it:
"keep the left arm to at least 90 degrees"

Manliness in tango is what you are, not necessarily what you have to show. An outstretched arm can seem agressive, dangerous even, in a milonga and anti-sociable on a crowded floor. Better to dance in the space of the partnership and, by using your energy from within, dance from your core without any strong-arm tactics.

Tango Salon Adelaide said...

I certainly endorse what you have said, John. Perhaps I simply need to clarify my original post a little. I find encountering an outstretched arm in milongas quite annoying – I think it’s more a case of inappropriate technique than aggression in most cases. My 90 degrees was more of a guide to avoid the hand being brought into towards his shoulder, which I find gives an unmanly look, quite apart from it limiting the effectiveness of the embrace as an extension of the body. No strong-arm tactics allowed - in fact I often tell men, “the arms do nothing!”, but they move with the torso as the man engages in those subtle body leads.

In the traditional milongas of BsAs, where my space is sometimes less than the imaginary "baldosa" http://tangosalonadelaide.blogspot.com.ar/2012/12/bailar-en-una-baldosa.html, my left arm remains as I have described (except where there’s been a need to bring it in unexpectedly to avoid someone), and have rarely made contact with other dancers, which is as it should be. My manliness is, as you described so well, something within, but it needs to exude its male energy to my partners, who want to feel that they’re dancing with a man. Maybe it’s one of those primal needs that we have.

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