LEADERS: stop asking permission to get on the dance floor, it is annoying, unnecessary, and makes you look weak

In good practice, Leaders DO give a kind of acknowledgment between each other OR insure that there’s enough space / time that a leader will see you enter OR nudge their way into the ronda when the milonga is super crowded and everyone expects it.

HOWEVER, leaders in the US have have started asking permission and needing a giant visual confirmation, like a big head nod or a hand gesturing before entering the dance floor. I’ve been encountering this more and more and I wish it would stop and go away.

Here’s why:

//1. It interrupts the dance.

By looking at me and needing giant confirmation that I have seen you, through a large nod, a hand sign, or a smile requires that I take attention away from the dance and give it to you. If you are entering and see that the leader has looked generally in your direction, get on the floor. PLEASE don’t wait for permission.

2. It assumes both parties are unskilled.

Competent dancers have floor craft skills. They have acquired the skill of seeing what’s in front of them and in their peripheral vision. If there’s enough space for you to enter, trust that they will not crash into you because they’re looking where they’re going.

3. It is unnecessary.

At big festivals with big dance floors there’s usually plenty of space. I’ve seen leaders ask for permission to enter when 5 to 6 couples could fit in the gap. If there’s room, get on. See point #2 and #1. If its really really tight, see #4.

4. It is not the custom in Buenos Aires.

Doesn’t happen. In super crowded milongas like De la Rosa or La Viruta during Mundial season you get on the floor or you’re not getting on. At normal milongas you’ll never get permission to get on the floor. If you need help entering the floor at the right time and are dancing in Buenos Aires, you should hire a taxi dancer or practice with a teacher.

5. It is untango

This is a sticky one so I’ll try to be clear. In tango we are performing fairly clear gender roles that aren’t restricted to sex.* Asking permission of another leader to enter the floor is un-masculine as defined in tango. Keep in mind you don’t force your way onto the floor or surprise a leader with your entry. You give the opportunity for respectful acknowledgement and graciously enter the floor. //

 

The leaders acknowledgement does exist. It is a good thing, but isn’t always used or is necessary. Use good judgment or ask a more experienced dancer. Asking permission and requiring a physical gesture from the dancing leader for you to enter the floor NEEDS TO STOP PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

I was first saw Murat and Michelle teaching the acknowledgment on YouTube.

How to do the ideal acknowledgment is at minute 6:40.

 

 

Did you see what he and Jay did? It’s barely anything!

To give an analogy, imagine you’re entering a freeway in Los Angeles. You check your mirrors for crazies, give a signal that you’re coming over, and move into an open space. You don’t swerve or make sudden aggressive moves. You don’t wait for a 5 car gap or another driver to flash their lights at you to give you permission. You’ll never get it. The freeway belongs to all of us. Get on it.

 

What’s your opinion?

 

Happy dancing!

 

*Gender experimentation and expansion of those ideas in tango is an expansion of the art of tango, how it reflects and relates to society, and I’m 100% for it. To be clear, I am pro LGBTQIA+ social dancing, competing, and performing. Performing a gender role poorly while you’re intention is to perform that role, is what I’m saying is not very tango. Performing / creating a different role or creating a new concept of it, golden.

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Introductory Tango Resources

This is a jumping off point for newer dancers who want to wade a little further into the tango waters. If any experts out there think something else really really needs to be added, I’m open to your well thought out and detailed arguments. 😉

Songs

La Bordona
https://youtu.be/Rwkitlwv-s4

Poema
https://youtu.be/pyyw6FN4dtk

La Cumparcita
https://youtu.be/C0yzvOO8GZE

Orquestas
Francisco Canaro
Aníbal Troilo
Juan D’Arienzo
Osvaldo Pugliese
Orquesta Romántica Milonguera

Books
The Meaning of Tango
https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Meaning_Of_Tango.html?id=9ci_CAAAQBAJ

Long After Midnight at the Niño Bien
https://books.google.com/books/about/Long_After_Midnight_at_the_Nino_Bien.html?id=StUAkcmsYmMC

Tango Stories: Musical Secrets
https://g.co/kgs/4tqbEy

Movies
Si Sos Brujo: A Story of Tango https://g.co/kgs/42S1pj

Our Last Tango
https://g.co/kgs/Xm8gsb

Astor Piazzolla in Portrait
https://www.amazon.com/Astor-Piazzolla-Portrait-Mike-Dibb/dp/B0007ACVPU

Pichuco
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/pichucofilm

UCSB’s incredible tango collection

Jay Abling told me a story about this incredibly huge and old tango collection that ended up going to my alma mater, UCSB. Some of these recordings were even on wax cylinders!

So tracked down this collection.

10,000 78 rpm discs in the tango genre. The complete works of Carlos Gardel. And yes, even wax cylinders.

The old wax recordings are incredibly interesting to hear. Many of them coincide with the rise of tango mania post 1912 and many of the recordings were made by bands outside of Argentina.

Here’s one from 1914, by the New York Military Band performing, Una Noche de Garufa
http://www.library.ucsb.edu/OBJID/Cylinder0129
(sorry, can’t it and play it directly from our site)

It really blows my mind to compare it to this recording of the same song by Tanturi from 1941.

 

I hope to make a visit to this library collection in person soon!

The library’s special Edouard Pecourt Collection:
https://www.library.ucsb.edu/special-collections/performing-arts/edouard-pecourt-collection-pa-mss-78

From the website:

The Edouard Pecourt Collection is an extraordinarily rich collection documenting many areas of 20th-century music history, including Astor Piazzolla and the Argentine tango, Latin American music, and the early French sound recording industry.

Born in Montmartre, Paris, France, Edouard Pecourt (1925-2008) lived in France until 1986, when he married American Jocelyn Howells and moved to Portland, Oregon. From 1954 until the move, Pecourt ran La Boîte à Disques at 58 bis Rue du Louvre in Paris, where he sold antique phonographs, records, and postcards. In Paris, Pecourt imported many tango recordings from South America and worked as a record consultant for the Odeon record company. Pecourt was a friend of Astor Piazzolla, Eduardo Falú, and other well known tango artists and composers. He was a world-renowned historian, archivist, discographer, and collector of all things related to tango music and dance. Like many dealer/collectors, he both bought and sold, keeping the best for himself. In this case, the best ended up in his tango collection, numbering over 9,000 78rpm discs. His goal was comprehensiveness, and in some areas—such as the recordings of Carlos Gardel—he achieved it.

Did you know the UCSB mascot is a Gaucho?

Olé olé olé olé gachos, gachooooooos!

UC_Santa_Barbara_Gauchos_logo.svg

Upcoming TANGO Events at the Arizona Opera

Hello Phoenix!

Steph and I are working with the Arizona Opera for the upcoming show, Maria de Buenos Aires. We are putting on tango lectures, lessons, book club discussions, and performing at the Red party.

Stephanie is also PART OF THE SHOW. Very exciting!

Check out the calendar here for the events and to purchase tickets: https://www.azopera.org/upcoming-events

 

Our Tango Journey, as interviewed by Joe’s Tango Podcast

While we were in Buenos Aires, we did an episode of Joe’s Tango Podcast. Joe has done a lot of episodes! He’s interviewed tango people from all over the world.

We talk about how we met, what we believe in, and our thoughts on teaching tango.

You can listen to it here:
http://bit.ly/2Q0ukK7

Sorry for the audio quality, we were on shaky internet in Argentina.

Visit Joe’s site here: https://www.wisconsin-tango.com/podcast/