Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Boiling down, boiling over.

Okay, people.

I've witnessed two fundamental approaches to tango, beyond differences in style and ability and geography and family legacy and dietary requirements and tectonic plates and whatever else:

A) Dancing with you is a pleasure for me.

B) Dancing with me is a pleasure for you.

The rise of tango blogging has brought these two mindsets into sharp relief, and there could be college papers written on how these mindsets are split almost exactly along gender lines, with women in category A and men in category B. (In fact, I think I am the only female blogger bastardy enough to be lumped with the males. Go me?)

However, I'm putting aside all the gender implications etc etc. because I graduated college a looong time ago and have no wish to go back. We'll do this in general terms.

People in category A understand that when you ask someone to dance and they accept, or when someone asks you to dance and you accept, some accomodation might need to be made. Tango is not (supposed to be) stage dance. You get four songs for a reason - tango's a conversation. You can spend the first song introducing yourselves, the second song finding a mutually agreeable topic, and the last two songs listening to the music.

Most good leaders and followers are in this category. We like these people. They're nice. They say hi. They like puppies!

People in category B think that they're so good that people are lucky to get to dance with them.

People who would be in category B for a good reason: Julio, Corina, Gustavo, Geraldine, Javier, Graciela, Firpo, Dany, Natacha, Tete, Silvia, Samantha, Pablo, Silvina, Sergio, Alejandra, Fabian, Carolina, and company.

People from that list who are actually in category B: probably Pablo. He seems like kind of a poop. Everybody else is very gracious in declining, or very gracious in dancing, which puts them back up in Category A.

People who are in category B and shouldn't be: almost everyone besides those people.

When someone agrees to dance with you, you're enjoying the dance together. It's not a one-man show, it's not an embellishment class, and it's not a practica redux. It's a conversation set to music. If you want to be a stand-up comedian, a debate-club member, or a lounge singer, go for it, but tango is not a solo act, and the person dancing with you is not a prop. If she's trying to feel Fresedo and you're hitting the traspie, you're not listening to her.

Huh. This was supposed to be gender-neutral, but come to think of it, I've danced with women way out of my league and they never made me feel like they were doing me a favor (even though they obviously were), so it's back on the dudes. Get the hell out of category B, man!


n a n c y ;-) said...

An interesting flip of this topic is at our favorite blogger's site. I will be curious to see if he prints my covmment.

Off to Denver!

La Tanguera said...

This is so true, Planch!

Maybe there is category C-i'm so self-absorbed and so self-aggrandized that I think everyone enjoys to dance with me (and that I'm doing them a favor) even though it's sooooo not true...

NYC Tango Junkie said...

Good points

eclay said...

First time poster, I've been dancing tango 9 months. Still a poor leader but I love the blog.

Just had to say something however. The "favorite blogger's site" just posted what has to be the creepiest video ever. He actually steps into the bushes and videotapes through a window. And then he follows one couple from room to room and even zooms in a little. I used to laugh at his ego but this is NOT funny anymore.