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Saturday, 26 March 2016

A higher order skill for men

What do I mean by higher order skills relevant to the male role in social tango?

Responding appropriately to the music, using the body to effectively communicate your intention and responding sensitively to your partner, are all essential. But these I consider bread and butter skills. In other words, skills which are absolutely fundamental to dancing tango.

So what is a higher order skill? Tricky figures executed in performances may come to mind, but here I'm thinking about tango only in the social context. I'm thinking of the challenge (and the pleasure) in putting those bread and butter skills into action in a busy milonga.

Early in their tango journey, most men probably feel somewhat anxious (and rightly so) at the prospect navigating a dance-floor, let alone a crowded one! A number of skills and factors come together to produce good floor-craft in a male dancer. Not least of these is self-confidence balanced with respect towards the other couples on the floor. Without both of these, even the most musical and skilled male dancer becomes a hazard to others at a milonga.

Master good floor-craft, gentlemen, so your partner can have complete confidence in your ability to protect her and to respect others. It's worth it. Do this and she will surrender to you in the dance. Now that's tango!

Just take a look at a video-clip of Lujos, one of my favourite milongas, to see what I mean.



  1. I am so disappointed with the lack of responses to your blogs over the past few months, considering the fact that you take the time and effort to cultivate interest in, sorry let me correct that a passion for that being Tango.
    As an outsider with a very limited view of your world that being tango it seems no matter where you look the information is stale and quite old, I will not use the words out-dated as the information may still hold true.
    The audience and the participants as numbers seem to be very small but stable but having said that I feel that something is very lacking in the Tango circle maybe it is people’s attitudes but something is very wrong.
    It is a shame, please continue the conversation.

  2. Thanks, Anonymous, for your thoughtful comment on the recent absence of comments.

    The world of tango has many facets, and personal confidence in this sometimes puzzling & challenging world comes with experience. So, perhaps one reason for the lack of comments could be shyness, or lack of confidence. In other words, fear of exposing oneself, of being 'wrong', etc.

    Ironically, knowledge and confidence usually increase with greater engagement. Exchanging personal views and experiences can be effective strategies for personal, as well as tango community development.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts in future. Who knows, others may join you!


  3. I would like explore the notion that tango participants, Lack confidences or that they are Shy, it perplexes me that you would say that, have you ever asked a tango person about their ideas or their thoughts about tango, and they are never short of words in telling you what they are thinking even to the point to explain it in detail which is quite interesting.
    Considering I have been to a few Milonga’s in various states and I can say that the majority of the attendees are people that are very confident and are never afraid to ask others to dance even if it is a new person and as for a lack of confidence because of their experience at least 50% that attend functions\milongas have been doing tango for at least 6-7 years if not longer.
    Which brings me to this next point, it is funny the post regarding poaching partners and how strong people felt and I am going on what I read and that was males felt that they had some sense of tenure to that dance with that person at that time. Which is ironic that they are asking someone else partner and they feel that something was taken away from them and they felt very strongly about that lets get something in perspective no one has any entitlements when it comes to other people.
    When I explore this belief with them you never get a straight answer which leads me to believe things are never what they seem scratch the surface and you will be surprised what you find quite a few attend functions with out there partners for whatever reason the ground rules seem to change or move to suit their needs at that time.
    Let’s talk about the things people may enjoy talking about and one thing could be, Why do we do tango? As it could be different for each individual at various stages in their life for whatever reason and those reasons may have changed over time.

    Just someone interested in keeping the passion going.

  4. Thanks for sharing your passion for tango, Anonymous.

    I proposed shyness as one possible reason for the lack of comments mentioned earlier. Putting one's views in writing on a public blog seems, for a range of reasons, to be more challenging than having a chat with someone (face-to-face). Perhaps this could also explain the more frequent anonymous comments. What do you think? :-)

    Your question "Why do we tango?" is indeed interesting. I suspect you are right. The reasons would be many and varied, would probably change with time, as well as differ depending on your conversation partner. Certainly a topic worthy of more discussion.

  5. That's Lujos on Sunday, I think in is it Plaza Bohemia, with the sloping floor? If so, I could hardly recognise the milonga in the video - it was so busy. I went to the final dance there two or three weeks ago. I liked the venue and though it a real shame it's finished. I didn't like the Thursday "Lujos" in El Beso much but the venue is more central and apparently more popular. I went to milongas in El Beso on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they were nearly all well attended though always a lot more women, except for La Marshall (gay) milonga.

    Nice line Anonymous: "no one has any entitlements when it comes to other people." Including, putting someone in an awkward position by asking directly.

    Another reason people are put off commenting on blogs is censorship.

  6. Thanks for that, Felicity.

    I'd heard that Lujos at Plaza Bohemia had closed, but was hoping that it was temporary. I do like that milonga despite the slightly sloping floor.

    Totally agree with the comment about about entitlement. Hence my views on the cabeceo.

    I hadn't considered that censorship might be an issue affecting blog comments. I'm not quite sure what you mean. Would you like to elaborate a little?

  7. Simply, that when comments are censored it puts people off commenting certainly on a blog where that has happened to them and possibly puts them off commenting on blogs altogether.

  8. Now I see what you mean, Felicity.

    As a general rule we don't censor. However, we assume that people will use common courtesy. So, comments that are offensive in tone or content are deleted. Nor, do we publish comments that are off-topic.

    Some may see that as censorship, but we make no apology for maintaining the integrity and positive tone of the conversation.

  9. There are many views about tango, possibly as many as there are participants. I recognise that you are writing your own views, and are more than entitled to do so, but if you genuinely want comments you surely have to post most comments even if they modify or constructively disagree with the point you may be making.

    So from my experience here, I can agree with Felicity.
    Somehow, I'm thinking the censorship here will stop this being seen!

  10. Thanks for joining the conversation, JohnM.

    I entirely agree with your sentiments: "There are many views about tango, possibly as many as there are participants. I recognise that you are writing your own views, and are more than entitled to do so, but if you genuinely want comments you surely have to post most comments even if they modify or constructively disagree with the point you may be making."
    Differences of opinion on a subject, expressed respectfully and constructively, make for hearty discussion.

    However, as explained above, the comments which we delete are comments which do not fall into this category.

  11. My sense is someone besides me has had comments censored here that they felt were neither offensive nor off-topic.

    The trouble is debate can't really be hearty or even debate at all when people are wondering if what they have to say is going to fit the brand of the site they're on. Genuine offence can be part of debate only if something personal is said. Yet much censorship goes on that is about ideas, I think under the justification "Your ideas are offensive to my ideas, hence you are offending me, so I will execute my right to censor - because I can". It's a very one sided equation.

  12. If I can add my two cents in, John and Felicity are on the money and I do agree with them. What I can say is that Robert Youngson & Patricia Petronio are good with what they post and are true to there word. As to why I am Anonymous, I do not have FB or a google account and I am to lazy to set up a blogger account. If that helps.

    Stay Fresh and Real

  13. Unfortunately, the comments on this post have gone totally off-topic. So we’ll bring this to an end with a reference to tango, which is what our blog is about.

    Etiquette is an important element of the milonga, and just as we set the standards for our milongas, we set them for what is published in association with our blog. Anyone who has read our blog over the years will know that we write often about expectations around the dance and the milonga, and there has been quite robust discussion at times – which we value. We will continue to set the standard regarding what is appropriate to publish; some will call this censorship, we call it maintaining a respectful dialogue between people who have a strong interest in tango.

    PS. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. By the way, you don't need an account of any sort to comment and identify yourself. In any case, please feel free to keep commenting.


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