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I didn't dance at all - not a dressing down from Javier

Tangodancer76 posted this under Dressing Down from Javier but I am copying it here because it is lost in that section - with my response below

"At last Friday's milonga, I didn’t dance at all. Cue the violins, please.

This was not due to a lack of trying or being new on the scene, in fact, I think I pulled out all the stops I had used, quite successfully, in the past. Perhaps you can suggest something to help me next time.

Some of my tactics included:

• greeting other dancers on entry;
• dressing appropriately, yes, I wore some perfume, a skirt and a smile.
• frequenting the water station and chatting to people I know.
• sitting at different tables and circulating around the room.

In the past, I have never had this trouble. And as a follower, I've always throught of asking men to dance a little forward and out of character, however, given my lack of enjoyment at last week's milonga, should I ask the men to dance or am I right to think that this is against traditional milonga etiquette?"


No one has answered this posting because there is no satisfactory answer. Yes Tangodancer76 you did pull out all the stops and I, and many other women in tango, know just how you feel. I have a partner and I could selfishly hog him all night, but he likes to dance with other women.

It is probably little comfort to know that this has happened to many women at milongas and there is no explanation – it is just the luck of the draw. Sometimes it may be that there are too many women or that women who have no qualms about asking men to dance take over. Sometimes it is because men are sitting out and not asking women to dance. On Saturday I was sitting with a number of women who hardly danced at all – their regular partners did not ask them, and nor did strangers.

I know, from talking to my partner and other men friends, that if they don’t like the music they don’t want to dance; and if they don’t like the way the floor is ‘behaving’ they won’t ask women to dance. On Friday night, my partner danced much more than he did on Saturday – why? For a number of reasons - most importantly because on Saturday he did not like the way the floor was bunching up (see Javier’s remarks on this!)  - it did this too on Friday, but not as badly.
He prefers 3 pieces to a tanda – and so do I – it gives everyone more dances with more partners, but especially gives the extra ladies a greater opportunity to be asked to dance. Both nights the DJs followed the 4 tangos, 4 tangos, 3 milongas/waltzes, 4 tangos, 4 tangos pattern. If the man doesn't like the music in a tanda, it is a longer wait until the next one.

Though I go to a milonga primarily to dance, I also go for the company. I have many good friends in tango and I really enjoy chatting with them when I am not dancing. Of course if a night goes by (as it did on Saturday) with very few or no dances I don’t leave on a high, but I still enjoy the company - and on Saturday there was the bonus of world-class performances by the Masters. One last thing -  I have learnt is to be sure to ask friends to join me (and I often book a table) – if you have a table of 6 or 8, even men/women, you have a very good chance of being asked to dance by others in your group.
.





Re: I didn't dance at all - not a dressing down from Javier
Here is my comment on this.
 
Friday was the first night when many of the festival participating dancers gathered at one large venue.
I guess every one had high expectations...
And the venue was large and there were many dancers...   and man of them were good dancers...
 
But this - I believe - made the occasion very difficult for every one.
 
What happens on the night like that is that no one's fault but a situation where too many choices = too little choices.
 
As a leader, one has to make decision to dance with ladies you know well or someone new.
Even though the night was 5 hours 8pm-1am...   as the dancers number really started building up towards 9:30 onward... it was more like 3 and half hours.
It is not possible to watch new people who are dancing on the floor then pick ones you want to dance with and THEN search where they are sitting AND do a bit of gentle Cabeceo...
That was not easy.
Plus... as I commented on the main thread, the low lighting did not help at all... I could not spot the ladies in dark room and - then
I saw someone I knew and walked around to the other end of the hall to dance with that person but by the time I reached the table she had gone!
So, I walked all way back to my seat and watched people dancing... and got depressed again.
 
But other than the sound level issue and lighting issue, I am not sure what the festival could do better.
Another hour may had helped?  But as many of the dancers were to attend workshops following morning, consecutive 2AM finish was not a good idea.
 
Then there was another element I guess.
After all, it was a Festival milonga and it was for the festival...
The dancers who were taking part in workshops met each other during day time etc...
So, they probably chose to dance with the people they knew from that occasion.
If a dancer turns up one night only, it is hard to get a dance because others have made connection even before the dancing started.
 
As for the 4 songs Tanda issue...
I can not see a point doing 3 sets on these occasion.
In my experience, 3 song Tandas is only good when Milonga time is short and number of dancers are small and know each other well.
When dancers do not know each other and if there is time... 4 or even 5 per Tanda is better simply because it gives more chance for cabeceo (or use that time to walk to a distant table to ask a lady for a dance.) With many dancers separated by a distance, as a leader I need more time to reach a lady.
4 songs per Tanda means that No need to score dance by the end of Tanda break.
If 3 songs per Tanda, I likely reach a leady mid first song at best and it is not nice to start dancing mid song and even if I do that then only two more songs to dance.
I may then even stay over to another Tanda with same lady and it is sort of against the spirit of this kind of Milonga where we should dance with many new people as possible at the beginning of the festival etc.
 
As for the selection of Music, I thought Anthony did an excellent job.
And I defend his decision to go 4 per Tanda as I explained above.
 
Problem was else where,
But I do not really feel like blaming anyone. 
It was one of rare occasions.
 
If there is another point...  
When people are excited and have high expectations... contrary to their desire, they also become somewhat 'choosy'.
I got about half a dozen rejections over 3-4 nights at the festival milonga.
I did not mind though.
Dancers have own interests which are unique to the occasion...
and indeed they should.  No point dancing with same people in same ways at such a special occasion.
 
So...
as for myself,
I got depress as I watched a mess on that night and decided to watch dancers I did not know well.
This helped me score some dances with following nights.
 
After all, Milonga is a community socialising place and when various groups of congregate for the first time, it does not work immediately.
And good thing was... I felt it got better progressively better from there.




 
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