Sydneytango milongas
Welcome, Guest User  Click to Login 
tango + family should = good floor craft if not get some therapy please!

tango + family should = good floor craft if not get some therapy please!
Tango Synergy graciously invited jenny to dj at concord last week, full of lovely people we had the pleasure of being there for the entire night.
Our table was full of friendly faces of our students and friends, we chatted about each other’s lives shared wine, moved chairs so people could get through, we gave the ladies the corner seats for a better chance of catching leaders eyes for the cabaceo. I got to catch up with people I hadn't seen for ages. We shared a common space with caring and mutual extended tango family.
Then I started to dance, the sense of unity and family I felt off the floor disappeared in a explosive flash. Defensive dancing had to come into play. The floor craft was chaotic!
I was disappointed by the level of floor craft , and not due to beginners but to the intermediate dancers. It lacked the harmony and unity that good tango families should contain, and that isn't that hard to develop.
If there are questions out there in regards to what is floor craft I offer the following as a concept.
The tango floor is a family for every song.  Good families need active communication, consideration and mutual respect to thrive. Let’s bring those to the floor.
In tango there are guides that prevent the tango equivalent of screaming matches or misunderstandings we can experience in dysfunctional families. Guides such as...
Move in the line of dance,
don't dance backwards,
stay in your lane and
don’t overtake.
when coming onto the floor look for a space to enter into.
 There is loads out there on correct tango etiquette which is freely available, if you’re not sure ask your teacher or experienced dancers they will be happy to share.
The synergy of the floor ideally is the following
The couple forms a connection together which they share with the music.
Then as you dance you form a relationship with the coupe in front and behind and to the side. That relationship is one of mutual respect. This connection spreads so the whole floor is moving in unity. In BA you can pick up a woman from her table and at the end of the tanda you can place her straight back to her seat again. That’s skill!
To achieve this keep the distance a 2 foot buffer and be consistent with this space. Do not run up the backsides or step back into their space. Be considerate.
Also be dynamic with your movement, be circular and train yourself to dance not only big or small but the entire range.
IF NO ONE ELSE DOES IT WHAT DO I DO!!!!! Is a typical question I have heard asked. We need to encourage change as dancers if we want to get a good healthy tango family on the floor.....get into tango therapy as follows
Look for a good dancer to get behind and trail, if you look closely on a floor you will see the better dancers dance close together because they know they will protect and respect each other’s space. Respect their space and work at flowing with them, look at how they navigate the floor and imitate them.
Protect each other from dancers whom have bad floor craft. Do not allow them to get in between you, don't allow them to cut in or take your space. Keep your embrace up confidently in a caring manner and communicate in clear ways which space you are occupying.
Keep to the outer track as you don't have to worry about your blind side. Do not change tracks!!!! Also dance the edge of the floor. Every time you gravitate closer to the centre you will give an opportunity for dancers to overtake and create chaos.
I consider the tango floor to be similar to a family, a family that at the moment in Sydney needs encouragement to become clearer communicators, and more considerate leaders.

Re: tango + family should = good floor craft if not get some therapy please!
Well said, Chris. Like you I am less inclined to dance when the floor is "crazy". Do we need a system to remind dancers about floor etiquette? Not sure how to change a mindset.

Re: tango + family should = good floor craft if not get some therapy please!

hear hear!!!

What is even worse there is a so called "tango instructor" doing all this and worse!

He always bumps into people and leads ridiculous show moves all over the dancefloor making the floor dangerous to the other dancers.

"If you are NOT dancing WITHIN the embrace then its not tango"

Re: tango + family should = good floor craft if not get some therapy please!
Well, I do not know how 'therapy' can help...?
I am 'truly' tired of reading same message again and again and again and again on this forum over the last 6 years since I started dancing.
And of course, almost every time the RULE is noted...
Yet, it doesn't improve? Why?
Basic point is that Sydney is (in one way of looking at) a Tango colony and our Tango community is not 'quite' authentic as BA.
Bottom line is that Sydney Tango business has heavily focused on expansion.  In 2004, Sydney only had 3 milongas 1 Practica 10 classes each week. (Check this web
site's calender), Now we have 11 milongas, 5 practicas and 62 classes...  A lots of new classes and milongas have sprung up... 
Having always beginner dancers encouraged to dance at a milonga at earliest possible timing, Sydney dance floor has high percentage of relatively inexperienced dancers.  
Therefore I must say - Tango teaching / Milonga business is directly responsible of what happens on the milonga floor in Sydney.
This is also made much worse, in my view, by Sydney Tango scene has been somewhat factionalised by the Tango business.
As each school expanded their teaching and milongas business, a set of students stick to each school.
But, Sydney used to mix more...  simply because there were less number of milongas. 
If one dancer goes to one class and one milonga at one set of teachers, those students ended up visiting other school's milonga as second one in each week.
This balance has long gone since each school has started running business more than two nights each week.
Now, typically, each set of teachers run One milonga, one Practica, 2-3 nights classes and plus. 
If teachers insisting of keeping their students to hang around only own business... one of their student would not have time or probably money to go any where else.
This means that when occasionally (such as SydneyTango - Synergy Concord milonga) various groups of dancers congregate at one place, the dancers are not used to each other. 
I do not call a group people who get together only once every two months as a dancing 'community'.
One can not expect a fractured group of people to suddenly form a unity by just following a set of rule especially having large number of inexperienced dancers among them.
And the point is still - even if they can confirm to a same rule together suddenly - that is not a real 'community'...?
Anyway, enough negative talk...  so, I have a couple of constructive suggestions to offer...
1) Tango business people should encourage own student dancers to visit and socialise more with other groups and try to hold back from small group mentality. 
Try creating a larger social community as whole.
2) Once a year, I want to see Sydney teachers to have an internal discussion meeting and come up with a couple of shared teaching agenda together for that year. A campaign of a sort -
For example, may be 2011 to be the year of Cabeceo and Good floor manner... 2012 may be the year of Good Giro...  Just an extra agenda to promote awareness - together - .
A) One thing I have noticed about Sydney Social dancing problem is the lack of our ability to form SECOND lane of dance inside the outer lane.
Some milonga floor is too small to do this of course.
But there are other milongas which has enough space inside outer lane. 
At the moment in Sydney, Anywhere inside the outer lane is treated like a jungle zone.  It is a sort of space that is open for who dare to dance random directions. 
Problem is that there are several types of dancers end up dancing in this centre zone.
One group is experienced dancers who want to dance more elaborate ways and try not to intimidating less experienced dancers on the outer lane thus chose this centre zone.
Second groups is those who has specific musical sense which drives their ways that does not fit with slow moving outside lane.
But the major problem is that together with these two groups who dance somewhat more erratically than others... often beginners also end up in this centre zone.
These beginners just have not learnt enough steps/technique to navigate, so they can not handle steady outside lane... thus get pushed inside... then they have to deal with far more erratic and intimidating group of dancers who consciously chose this zone.   So, when it is busy and the dancers who know less of each other meet in this centre zone, a chaos emerge.
Then -
Once the centre zone lose basic harmony (with another lane formed or otherwise...), the dancers who are in the centre zone push each other to spill back to outer lane.
Just before he headed back BA, I had a chat with Raul and he advised me that in BA, the outside lane is considered as advanced or 'show off' lane.  So, he prefers to dance more modest 2nd lane he said.
(Then it made sense to me...  When I visited BA, I danced outside lane and felt a lot of pressure from dancers who are in front of me and behind me.  In one way, this was great pressure as I really had to learnt to dance well to be part of this lane.  I am not sure if it is easier to be on the second lane, at the time, I felt intimidated to be inside but I was probably wrong.)
I do not 100% believe Sydney has to dance 'exactly' the same way BA milonga does...
this is simply because as I pointed out above, Sydney teachers want to bring in inexperienced dancers to a milonga floor at earliest chance...  this means we have to have a system that ACCOMMODATE this unique reality.  It is just not realistic to have milongas in Sydney to be as sophisticated as BA milongas then at the same time pumping inexperienced dancers onto the floor continuously...
So... practically, I would like to see Sydney teachers to get together and have a bit of discussion...
I can see two possible options to promote...
First option is to try encourage forming of 2nd inner lane where the floor has enough space.  By doing so, try conform the wilder dancers to regain a bit more sense of direction and thus make it possible some beginners to join in this zone.  OR
Second option is to have agreement among the teachers to teach their beginners to have enough skill to navigate outer lane AND discourage them to dance at a milonga till they have the competency to do so.  If this can be done then new dancers should be able to 'fit' in the Sydney's standard outer lane from very beginning and hopefully they will learn to dance with others by sticking to this lane.
B) Again, Concord milonga - in my view - was too dark.  Low lighting (Darkness) offers a free license for the dancers to ignore each other.  Bit like cars driving on 4 lane street without head lights!
If Synergy wants to avoid one of its flagship milonga gaining bad reputation of messy floor, I would like encourage it to improve the lighting.
Since I raised this lighting issue, I have found many milongas made some effort on this and I felt clear improvement. 
I hope Synergy will look at this issue soon.
C) Sydney - in my view - has lost Sacada giro all together...   And I feel this is one of the detail reason contributing to the floor craft problem.
Sacada giro is not easy - it really takes both leader and follower to be at certain skill level to make it happening in confident manner.
Typically, a floor space a pair of dancers occupy by executing Sacada giro is the primary Unit of dancing space that belong to a couple.
As new dancers progress to intermediate level and start managing Sacada giro, that is when I normally expect the couple really start getting hang of the floor craft.
Yet, for more than a year, I have noticed, less and less dancers do Sacada giro in Sydney. 
To be honest, Sacada giro is not my favorite move.
BUT I always try to do it at least once each song ( as long as the follower can follow)...  it's a bit like a TAX to pay...
When I started dancing 6 years ago, it was Yoshi at Rose Bay milonga at the back side of the club demonstrated Sacada giro for me.
Since that time, for me, executing Sacada giro neatly has been an important bench mark of dancing skill improvement.
And I think I have managed keep trying to learn as the dancers who were well ahead of me in experience were dancing Sacada giro more often on the floor thus I was stimulated to challenge it.
But - I DO NOT KNOW WHY - Sacada giro has faded out of Sydney dance floor..  I can even call it as ENDANGERED MOVES (not species).
So, addition to above suggestions, I would like to suggest Sydney dancers to regain Sacada giros.  I am well aware, there are different style of Sacada giro depending on the teachers' dance style etc.
But that does not matter.  I just want to see the dancers who have been dancing more than - lets say 3 years - to have proper skill to do Sacada giro... and do it so that new dancers get the idea...
Hopefully, this will contribute to improving Sydney's floor craft problem... 

Facebook logo on sidebar
Viva Magazine sidebar
Opinion poll
Should milongas allow table reservations?

Register to the site for free, and subscribe to the weekly newsletter