A few years ago I created a survey called, Why I Quit Tango. Since then over 500 people have responded and nearly half have written their own personal comments. (See below for an unedited list of these.) For all of us who love tango and would like to see it grow, I think it’s worth perusing this list, contemplate the criticisms and perhaps change some of our behavior. (Yes, even your’s truly is criticized for my attitude and behavior regarding this topic.) To make your own contribution, click on link above, or write a reply at the bottom of this blog.
-4. The people are generally not friendly.
-3. I ended a relationship with a beloved tanguero and felt unsupported by my community of female “friends”. One woman told me outright that she didn’t want to sit next to me at a milonga because HE might not ask her to dance. It was then I learned how shallow some of the “connections” in tango actually are.
-2. Milongas start too late. People pick apart others’ dance, so it gets old. My teachers, once I found good ones, are fantastic.
-1. Boring… did not find it difficult, just boring . A step above line dancing.
1. The problem with tango in my city is that, the followers can’t walk properly let alone dancing. How can I learn by trying to lead them? I think it is absolute waste of time to dance with people 20/30 years older than you. I like girls who are young and energetic to dance with not some one who is much slower than me. I won’t learn like that. Plus, teachers teach tango like it is math. Tango must be taught like a sport, and you need to be fit to dance Tango. But usually beginners and older people are not fit, I really love Tango and the music but I can’t find followers. Or, I will need to get private classes which is really expensive.
2. Tango attracts fantasists. I’m a realist.
3. I’ve never met so many narcissistic, dangerous men in such a short time period.
4. I’ve danced/competed ballroom and Salsa for years with excellent success. After 10 months of Tango, I was going nowhere, with no moves, and not even my time to participate in a Milonga.
5. bullies and bad attitudes
6. Didn’t love it enough to put in the time and money to advance beyond intermediate. Was very young and had difficulty making friends / most dancers were 50+.Also wanted to spend my weekends with friends my age who didn’t dance.
7. The highs are very high but I no longer think they compensate for the terrible lows of rejection.
8. Workshops are always geared to intermediate to advanced, difficult to get started when everyone is telling you different things about posture, stance, steps. Watching people have fun at milongas, while I just get corrected and not really enjoy any of it.
9. It takes away too much of my time, and I’m addicted to this point where I realize I need to pull myself OUT and have some balance in life.
10. learned and became good at salsa and bachata; found these dances more fun, more close to my age group and energy level, people less snobish; then I return to a milonga and am striken by the differences
11. I found that it does not matter where I go (perhaps except in BA), tango communities have turned social tango into something weird that its not suppose to be. So I gave up in disgust. To be fair, there are a small number of people who truly understand and respect the social tango tradition but they represent a very small minority.
12. In 1993 at the Verdi, there were many south/central america dancers. The milongueros were gracious, protected me from dance injuries, walked me off the floor. Men asked beginners and all ages to dance and not just the dancer that would make them look best or were the best looking. It was about the connection and feel of the moment and not about how great they looked on the dance floor. How many times I had a beginner leader stop dancing in a milonga to tell me how to do a move that they were not properly leading. A real milonguero would simply do the moves that would make the woman feel safe and capable. It really is all about the connection.
13. It appears the members of the tango club I jointed, the Wasatch Tango Club in Salt lake City, as soon as they put on their dance shoes they loose their ability to communicate off the dance floor. I come from a senior military officer and aerospace executive background where social reparte was important. My goal in attending milogas was to dance tango but also to make new friends; have been in the club 10 years and still no friends. Maybe its the Utah culture thing, but whatever it is, its terribly disappointing.
14. A year of private lessons with Savanna Morgan was the exception to all of the above.
15. I was bored with my level of dancing and didn’t feel like I could afford private lessons, which seemed to be the only way to get better fast enough to keep me interested.
16. fell in love with someone who couldn’t get past the unfriendlly elitism to move beyond beginner level–he didn’t want to change partners and was uncomfortable with rude partners
17. Mostly quit because of being forced to dance more than one dance in a row with someone. It should be freedom of choice like it is with all other social dances in the US. It’s so unfair to the ladies sitting out 3 dances in a row, if they don’t get asked again then it’s 6 dances and so on. The evening is short with dance partners if you have to dance 3 in a row. At other social dances (ballroom, swing, country), I never sit and can dance with many dance partners – the evening isn’t long enough for me to dance with all my friends and if I had to dance 3 in a row it would not be fun and I would miss out dancing with so many great partners of all levels.
18. Moved to new community that is very small and divided by politics. It only takes a few individuals to screw it up for everyone.
19. Too divisive in the community, different circles don’t talk or dance with each other, forcing you to choose.
20. Fell in love with a man who was incredibly jealous and put tango on the shelf for 4-5 years 🙁
21. first: I don’t have a partner to dance with or practice with, then..I don’t like to pay for classes or the millangas and just sit there and watch and hope someone will ask me to dance, then..the teachers are not nice enough and considerate and are very “irragant” to dance with any woman other than very pretty girls or very beautiful dancer, then….even though I forced myself to go to a millanga alone, I sat there almost the entire time. I’m a professional it hurts my pride to just sit there and fell not worthy of the great dancers to ask me to dance. especially when some men and even the teachers come to where I am sitting with another woman and asks the younger, the prettier, and better dancer to dance with. that is very humiliating. so I went home and never came back
22. I started trying other dances like Blues and Swing and Waltzing and found people to be much more open and friendly and sexier and more enjoyable to talk to and be around.
23. I still dance now and then, but basically I am so bored with the local community. They are clique-ish, arrogant and generally immature.
25. too much tango drama with some of the women
26. The two instructors I liked moved away leaving a technically good couple , but who had no patience with stragglers. I found tango to be draining and needing obsession I was advised to drop salsa and adopt a ‘ Tango lifestyle’ a la Paz and Hart. I felt I was putting in more than I was getting out. I looked at the drawn faces of tangueros vs. energised salseros and made a choice. I kept up the salsa, LA and Cuban, visiting Cuba wow! plus Bachata and Cha- cha, also learning Lindy and Brazilian Zouk Lambada. The latter uses similar music to Kizomba an Afro-portuguese tango derivative which is too bump and grind for my taste. I read Kapka Kassabova’s book about Tango toxicity , 12 Minutes of Love, which confrmed my feelings. Also Long past Midnight at the Nino Bien. Oh and I found the tanda system had me praying for the end as I had used up all my moves after two tracks and was getting tired and bored. Thankfully the idea of Mirada y Cabeceo never took off.
27. Moved away from Minneapolis to Chicago. Dancers in Chicago are all old and grumpy.
28. I found that it was all or nothing in the tango community. Since tango wasn’t my life, I was looked down upon by the good dancers, so I only got asked to dance by mediocre or creepy dancers.
29. Too few good leaders around to dance or practice with. Men prefer babes who could barely dance and it doesn’t seem to matter that some of us worked hard to be good followers get passed over.
30. Eventually, it got to the point where the hassle of the cliquiness and the constant potential for rejection outweighed the pleasure of it. There weren’t enough leaders I enjoyed dancing with.
31. Different economic demographic
32. I took lessons in 6 Tango schools in my city, going through various levels. Also, even after travelling 3 times to Buenos Aires and taking workshops 3 to 4 times a day for a month AND taking 3-4 privates a week, I would return home and still have trouble finding partners to dance with. Often the more advanced couples just dance with a significant other or a clique member. In my home town, I’d often spend most of my evenings sitting down. I would dance more in Milongas of Buenos Aires. As even though I was there only on vacations. I found I’d have more fun in my evenings dancing Lindy Hop, WCS or Salsa (where followers would often walk up to me and invite me) than watching other people dance Tango. In Argentina, I found the dancers there far more welcoming of a new face. In Germany I danced more than in my home town despite the language barrier. One of the teachers I took Tango lessons from did not actually have a dance with me in a Milonga until after I completed my second trip to Argentina (which was after I had attended the school she worked at for 2 years).
33. too energetic. Lots of big moves made me breathless like dancing a marathon race. Went to milongas and never got asked. Waste of time and unpleasant to be overlooked for all the time and effort spent becoming proficient and as a women men did not appear to appreciate being asked to dance. And yes, very elitist. The same few folks dancing round and round. I don’t call it a social dance at all.
34. it’s not so much that the local community is small, but it is incestuous, limited and unevolving at times.
35. too significant impact on social life (real friends) and too significant impact in general (all other things in life ;))
36. Too hard to find someone inspired and motivated to improve.
37. There are very few happy people in tango.
38. I think about quitting because i am a skilled dancer with a strong connection to the music, and i seek the same. but those men stick to their established favorites or chase pretty clutzes.
39. Answers vary based on Chicago vs Pittsburgh
40. At this time there were no Milongas in our region. So I did not fancy to learn a dance that I could not practice.
41. I moved to Portland in the pursuit of tango since I had heard great things about its community. Sadly, despite immersing myself immediately for quite a while by attending practicas and milongas several times a week and volunteering at the festivals, I found the community difficult to gain/maintain access to and spent a lot of time sitting around watching. Maybe partly due to the fact that I did not have the financial means to take lessons with local teachers, but I had just come from a year of dancing almost every day and taking group lessons at least three times a week (I had had a work-exchange with an instructor in the city I had moved from), so felt that what I mostly needed were simply “miles.” Of course, many people here in Portland were/are very friendly (mostly the ones older than I by 10-20 years) but a large number of leaders kept ignoring me completely. I’d say I was an intermediate level follower at the time and would have needed dances with followers my level or better to improve.
42. I am/was considering getting back by taking10 privates.Then went to a milonga last night where I watched men snatch up skinny and or younger and or asian and or sluttily dressed women, while I got asked by two poor leaders, and, at 1:30 am, one “good” dancer, who I had a ton of trouble following. he also smelled like B.O. I’ve seen him a lot, and I think he looks flashy on the floor, but is a sucky leader. Tango isn’t kind to women, is also what I want to say here.
43. I’ve been dancing (at least once/week) over 8 yrs. but our community still has only 3 advanced leaders. Gender imbalance and always a problem. Ray Barbose has the right idea in limiting registration to keep gender balance!
44. Not enough time with school and job!
45. Realized that tango community/dynamics not conducive of maintaining a healthy relationship with significant other.
46. I’ve weaned myself away from the privates, classes, workshops, milongas. Spent alot of money in the last 3yrs only to dance basic steps over and over, the level of male dancers here is not that high. I don’t like dancing close embrace all night, I prefer salon style with hipper music, the old tango music is monotonous and gets on my nerves after an hour. They all sound the same after awhile. There are some snobs, but I don’t care, I ignore them. I just want to dance and I’ve been disappointed more times than I have had enjoyable times. It’s probably time to move onto another dance, probably West Coast Swing/Hustle, it’s happier music and the people are much friendlier. I feel that if I don’t attend every single weekend workshop, classes/practicas/milongas, that I truly am not part of the tango community. Like I’m not that serious. It also costs a ton of money and traveling by myself.
47. Did not quit yet! I will not quit ever probably attending milongas, I might have to quit classes one day if I have to put my money elsewhere
48. Class/milonga venues a little too far from my home, and in areas I feel uncomfortable driving home late at night from.
49. Too many hours of down time, when I go out I like to dance, and most tango leads are busy dancing, but I do not feel they are that intereted in the dance and very selective. Cabecio very difficult for me. At salsa clubs, they rush and are enthusiastic to dance with everyone. I dance until I am exhausted.
50. Quality of instruction. Not enough social venues to dance tango.
51. I haven’t quit, but really disliked your response, Clay, that women should learn to lead (or else sit) and people (who consider themselves to be good dancers)won’t dance with lesser dancers. (you made this quite obvious to me a few years ago)
53. I find it very difficult to ask someone to dance with me.
54. My husband didn’t think we had time for it
56. The lack of continuity, proper advertising, politics, and a lousy venue!
57. I have danced tango for over 10 years and no longer had the energy to put in the time to remain a part of the “in crowd”.
58. Alot of travel involved. Time and mileage committment not conducive and more and more costly (as)
59. I found that people got very serious about it, and sometimes I felt that my sense of humor wasn’t welcome. Also it seemed that one had to look or act or dance a certain way to be an acceptable partner within any given community, which really annoyed me and made it hard when visiting a different community.
60. Certain instructors said unsavory (and untrue) things about other instructors directly to me and I assume to others. This was very unprofessional and had consequences for the insulted instructors. There is a high level of social/emotional retardation in certain instructors in the Tucson scene – this has harmed the Tango community. I will no longer dance with or take classes with them. Also, some of the ‘respected’ experienced older dancers are rude to and hypercritical of less experienced and younger dancers. These individuals seem to care more about Tango as a means to maintain symbols of their upper class status, (and look down on and insult dancers who are not wealthy) than they do about Tango as an end in itself. They may have done well at learning the dance of Tango, but they suck eggs at the dance called Life (or, the dance called grow-up-and-acquire-the-ability-to-introspect-and-treat-other-human-beings-with-kindness )
61. too late in evening. Couldn’t go out at 10:00 anymore.
62. Originally, I moved out of the country where there was no tango for 4 years. On my return, I began a relationship with someone who doesn’t dance. The last few months, I’ve begun to reenter it, but have found it discouraging for many reasons: 1) cliquishness 2) general unfriendliness and at times point-blank rudeness 3) lack of dance partners 4) frustration at my own level of dance (many years ago I was quite good) 4) inability at this point in my life to afford the $200 shoes or the sexy clothes 5) I’m an awkward in-between age at 33, too old to be hip with the young tango-nuevo crowd; too young for the more mature dancers. Most people my age are dealing with kids and careers. I know that if I stick with it, I can overcome some of these frustrations, but at times it requires too much energy.
63. the good lead dancers don’t dance with new people/visitors eventhough some could be advanced dancers. When you hear “no” so many times, you give up and find something else for fun!
64. I live 35 to 90 miles from where I need to go to dance. I’m not going to drive that far, pay the gas money and the entry fee, then sit there all night to do one dance.
65. Haven’t Quit — yet… Still looking for the right partner, more time to practice, more money for more lessons, and a good job in Argentina.
66. I didn’t quit. I’m an ongoing work in progress
67. Over the ten years I’ve been dancing, the music in the milongas (in the US, anyway) has changed from the Golden Age recordings that I love to more “Nuevo,” which to my ears is just disco with bandoneons. I don’t mind this kind of music if I’m not dancing, but absolutely hate it when I am.
68. At the time that I began dancing there were not many earlier in the day tango dance options. With a family and my work it was too difficult to be out dancing late.
69. None of these are quite right. I quit because I got tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching other people dance. I could not convince myself to pursue men for dances when they did not seem interested in dancing with me. I lost confidence in my attractiveness as a partner.
70. Tango in U.S. was not like tango in Buenos Aires. No tandas, no cabeceo, no escape. Hounded by unwanted partners, injured by crazy steps and figures.
72. Classes weren’t great
73. inconvenient days/times
74. Husband is willing but he and both of us travel too much to attend regular lessons.
75. The bickering and politics between instuctors.
76. My wife decided to sleep with other men.
77. knee problem and toes
78. The teachers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul tango community are not working together to improve and grow tango here in MN. I’m tired of the petty bickering and politicking. They ought to be trying to improve the level of tango in the community. I wish we had more tango teachers. Our overall population is about the same as Portland and yet Portland has more tango dancers, milonga’s and teachers.
79. Knee problems, my wife especially found that some partners were easy to dance with, others torqued her knee or were otherwise insensitive.
80. Life is very busy and it is difficult to make sure that my girlfriend would go with me to a lesson. also, in the middle of some lessons i became sick and was unable to continue so I ended up loosing the money I had prepaid for a set of lessons and that loss turned me off from trusting the instructors.
81. Work and new puppy eroded time availability, then got more serious about general ballroom, and not enough time for tango
82. after 2 years of listening to the music and reading about the history of Tango I decided to take a class. I evaluated all the obstacles to decide if it was worth going forward. I decided not being able to find a practice partner was a deal breaker. I quit after a few classes because I spent most of my time watching beginning couples with very little opportunity to try it myself. Now I don’t even listen to the music anymore.
83. Heard others describing their Technicolor experiences during a dance which I never perceived or shared. (having just my comparative tiny black-and-white screen.)
84. no local same sex tango venues, and partner isn’t comfortable learning tango as a lead in straight venues. Since partner doesn’t tango, but does other social dances (i.e. Country Western) I tend to do that more often with her in gay venues.
85. Husband doesn’t dance it.
86. Significant other did not dance and it became “uncomfortable” to dance with other men….
87. Haven’t quit but have found a local dirth of partners at my level and was getting bored enough to consider dropping out.
88. Was fun for a few years, but then spent too much time dancing with bad dancers–took the fun out of it. I was improving but the leaders weren’t. I got bored and moved on to other things. I liked the people though overall.
89. Always very few young people – being in the wrong age group gets old FAST. I’m young and naturally prefer dancing with younger people that are both physically more pleasant and have bigger potential in dancing. Advancement goes faster too!!!
90. I felt like I had to “join a cult” to fit in at the Tango Society of Minnesota. There is intense pressure to dance exactly the way the main faction of purists determined was proper, people make nasty comments on the dance floor about others, there are very nasty politics and cliques that go on. People who have been dancing it and taking lessons for five years are “not good enough.” I was repulsed to see one local instructor taking applications (photo required!!) and money up front, and only then POSSIBLY accepting people into a PRACTICE GROUP. This is elitism at its worst. There are “dirty old men” who demand close embrace. I prefer to dance it only with my husband. There should be room for a more social distance from the partner. I dance tons of salsa and I don’t mind dancing sexy socially, but I, as the follower, decide how close I want to get. Not the leader!
91. Level of dance not great here.
92. *Partners who were critical (playing ‘teacher’) instead of just doing their best to follow *Difficulty in meeting other singles *Left-wing politics of most teachers
93. Classes are always late at night and I had to be up for work 4:30AM. So I tried just going to dances for awhile, but if you aren’t in classes no one will ask ou to dance unless your 20 something than it doesn’t matter if you can dance or not.
94. Was rarely asked to dance at practicas
95. Plateaued in my abilities and cut back on expenses which prevented travelling outside my local community. This was concurrent with developing new interests.
96. it was too intimate of a dance for my jealous (now ex) boyfriend.
97. Spouse’s interest and proficiency level not as high as my own. Easier to quit than try to become integrated in a new community.
98. Job change made staying out so late very difficult.
99. So many responser complain that they don’t get asked to dance. It’s not so easy for leaders either. After almost three years and a recent trip to Buenos Aires where I took private lessons every day, I still often feel clumsy. And if I ask the wrong kind of person to dance, one who doesn’t like dancing with a “beginner” I actually get clumsy. I love tango but too often it makes me feel like a klutz.
100. Arthritic ankle….needed surgery
101. Too few dance partners who take the dance seriously and become proficient. It seems the women study tango and the men just try to pick it up, which frankly, makes for bad dancing! Also, the tango community is so ridiculously fragmented, it makes the pool of dancers at any particular studio or milonga way too small.
102. No convient time to practice tango in Fresno
103. I have not yet quit- though have considered it a few times, mainly for the reasons listed.
105. I have not quit, but have stopped goup lessons ( see above) and woudl love to find other instruction that will take me to the next level, but have not so I may just move on. It is very frustrating. Milongas are so cliquish which is so immature
106. As contrasted to Portland, the number of tango activities is not as frequent, so repetitive practice was much harder for me. I lilve a full hour’s drive from where the lessons and practicas are, as well. This doesn’t seem so bad until you start making the drive routinely, on top of all the other driving you already do. There was no partner locally for me.
107. I am still dancing, but not as much as I once was. My main reason for dancing less is not listed here, and I find that odd, since I think it’s a common one: I got into a relationship with someone who doesnt dance and has no desire to learn. I have friends who have quit altogether for this same reason. I also find the clique-sih ness a bit hard, especially since I am middle aged (though considered attractive).
108. the teacher i had that i liked stopped teaching
109. Hard to find tango lessons at the right time and day of week
110. worked out of town
111. Other responsibilities clashed with dance lessons and it can get expensive.
112. Dance partner moved away. Husband don’t dance
113. sig other doesn’t tango
114. I did not enjoy the dance as it was too slow and I could not move. I like a dance that is more active and fast moving. Like WC swing or East Coast Swing.
115. I had too many other conflicting activities
116. Started a relationship with a jealous man.
117. Saturday is not a good day for me.
118. Most instructors do not offer a coherent approach that builds on basic moves and gives the impression of having learned a body of knowledge. Too mysterious, open-ended, and, it seems, no two instructors communicate with one-another.
119. Went to Argentina to dance more, then came back with Argentine husband. We now have 3 kids and would love to dance, but there aren’t any kid friendly dance venues and we’re pooped by 9:30!
120. it seems as if one needs to have acrobatic qualities to dance the tango.
121. The schedule. I wasn’t sleeping well, dragging around on 3 to 5 hours. Found out that if I go to bed at 10 or so, I’m fine. But the milongas all start at 10 or later. So I chose the rest of my life over tango.
122. There were leads I would have loved to dance with but they had eyes only for the skilled followers – which I understood. It just left me feeling like a kid with my nose pressed against the candy store window. I would have returned to group lessons just to have a variety of partners to dance with but I injured by foot and back and have not been able to return.
123. Physical: low back and knee pain Mental: time spent dancing was taking away from other things I needed to accomplish in life. Psychological: although purported to be one of the better leads and most accomplished tango dancer in the area I did not feel that I could communicate my intentions to my partner effectively all of the time and disagreements were disheartening. I did not feel that I was progressing acceptable to my ambitions. I felt that dancing occasionally when there was free time would gradually diminish my level of ability which seemed to already be stuck below expectations of myself so I quit altogether in order to avoid continuing disappointment.
124. As an older woman, seemed that the men wanted to dance with younger women. Feeling like endless need to improve. Also, social dances often start so late. I tend to be an early riser.
125. Most of these aren’t reasons I quit necessarily, they are just some unpleasant things that can accompany a tango lifestyle. The major reason that I quit is because I started college and moved to Ashland OR. I couldn’t find a single teacher there that had half the talent of my old teacher and I didn’t have the money (nor did I want to spend money on bad instruction) to continue lessons.
126. I found the men often were very arrogant (sadly without reason), and the women competitive (also hard to understand except in so far as this was a response to the often low ratio of men to women)
127. I found other tango dancers wouldn’t ask me to dance unless they thought I was a good dancer. I found a dance partner after about 6 months and started getting good, then I started working in Seattle and there wasn’t enough time. I wasn’t having enough fun to return to get good. I took group lessons from Carrie (entire series) and Alex, went to 3 TangoFests in Portland and Seattle. After going to contra 3 times, I had more friends than I made in 9 months of Argentine tango! That was eye opening.
128. the women play too many games……..ect
129. There are times when I just want to go and be there, listening to the music, but not interested in dancing. There is implied pressure (looks and other gestures) from many of the women that I should be asking them to dance. And that makes it uncomfortable for me to attend when I am not up to dancing but would like to be there, so I just stopped going completely.
130. Sort of drifted away…
131. My most favorite dance partner got a serious girlfriend and no longer would dance or even socialize with me any longer. In a small community, that was very painful for me.
132. I did enjoy when the lessons that Mary Menz taught at the church on Friday Nights. It was a good time for me.
133. Tango is still my passion. But for women of a certain age and proficiency level, at least in the U.S., it is a dreadful experience, made all the worse by our love for it. I do not see any way for any tango community to address the widespread arrogance of self-styled young experts who prefer to dance only with pretty young things. This attitude is not limited to youngsters; I have found older self-styled “experts” — whether instructors or not — to be equally unfriendly and unwelcoming, especially in Portland, although I have had the same experience in Seattle and San Francisco. I dance well, although I would never dream of being so arrogant as to call myself “expert.” I am not objectively an unappealing partner, nor are the other women I know who suffer from the same attitudes.
134. The level of understanding and dedication of the vast majority of tango dancers was very low. Far to many dilettantes living out their fantasies.
135. Instruction was so much about steps again and again. I needed more basic understanding of the fundimentals of why steps are placed where they are and some basic understanding of the building block movements and when they can be applied. I was not retaining this dance as well as others for that reason. Knowing how to walk and do back ochos are not enough of a base. There was an excellent teacher in Juneau (Pat Belec at The Dance Loft) that showed us the “count” and what combination of steps you could apply on that count and people picked up the dance much quicker. I had started to move onto other dances that I could pick up and use faster so Tango fell by the wayside.
136. I love tango and always will. It gets very intense, though, because with me it’s all or nothing. I have quit several times because I get very busy with work and parenting. It’s always wonderful to go back and find that I still love it, and that people still want to dance with me, and that I still want to dance with them. When I take a break, I tend to do another kind of dance I can fit into my schedule, like salsa or jazz or other studio classes. This keeps me in shape, at least, and it’s easier to go back.
137. Being busy with school and work.
138. They played the same music over and over and over again. It got old fast.
139. Not a friendly group in any city I’ve ever danced unfortunately
140. not enough connection between the music and the moves–although it does have a recognized count, the way its usually danced, it’s more like background music to a repetoire of moves
141. After being part of the organizing in our community, I have slowly been spending more of my time on the organizing and less of it dancing, that is just not any fun, since I detest organizing and have by association begun to hate tango. Also, I am sick and tired, SICK AND TIRED of being a woman over thirty who has worked hard, become very very proficient, and is now utterly ignored at milongas and festivals by most of the better male leads. I thought for many years that the way to get dances with good dancers was to become a better and better dancer myself, but the better male dancers are much less interested in getting good dances with experienced women who have something to offer in the dance, than with starry eyed newcomers who are oh so easy to impress. There is not enough respect for experience and excellence in this community.
142. I’m a tall woman and wanted to dance with someone my height or taller-and a teacher I had was very critical of my height.
143. Not an integral group of various ethnic races
144. too late in the evening for a person at work 6:30 AM. I would love to find intermediate and advanced classes early evening-6-7pm or weekends,,morning and afternoons like the availability of salsa classes. Also, tango classes seem to me a little more aout of the way for a car-less person. More dance partners willing to dance with those they don’t know.
145. Foot surgeries!
146. When it’s good, it’s really good, but it’s frustrating to sit and rarely be asked to dance because I’m new to the Chicago tango scene or because there are no leaders available. And I am an attractive woman in my twenties, and I dance pretty well. Often I barely get to dance, and then when I do it’s often someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, and then it’s not fun and you’re stuck with them for the whole tanda. I love it when I really get to do a lot of dancing and with good partners, but the rest of teh time it’s frustrating and depressing.
147. I am experiencing and enjoying other dance forms where there is not the uncertainty between the Argentine cultural cabeceo/wait for the man to ask, and the US pattern of the women setting themselves up to ask the men for the next tanda. Too many milongas where there are too few leads, especially leads willing to dance with women over 50.
148. also a foot injury. I found the junior-high-esque social scene to be baffling and tedious, leaving so many dancers (not just beginners) sitting on the sidelines more often than not at both practicas and milongas. The clique scene amongst supposedly mature adults is unbelievably childish. I feel like it put even the most positive and energetic beginners on the defensive. Only the young, slender followers were drawn in, no matter their skill or experience, to be “mentored” by the self-proclaimed local elite. Get over yourselves, You are not nearly so great as you think! And the intense criticism of beginner leaders… the learning curve is greater at the beginning for leaders, so how are they to improve without the supportive embrace of the existing community? Instructors were excellent dancers, but not necessarily good teachers… as in, “…I actually know HOW I am doing what I am doing and am able to communicate that in various ways to others, able to spot what a student is doing that interferes with their progress and am able to help them through their specific problems….” etc. I found the classes to be frustrating…. the blind leading the blind, each left to interpret the teaching, the concepts, according to our own limited experience, phobias, whatever.
149. i never quit , and i never will
150. The main reason is there are male predators within the community that the community at large puts up with. Truly sad.
151. some physical limitations
152. Used to dance 1-3x/week. Haven’t since we had a baby.
153. I haven’t “quit” as much as I’m “taking a break”. While I could give reasons such as “not enough partners, too cliquish, etc., which can all tend to be true, mine are more personal. I was beginning to feel obligated to go to my weekly milongas. It was beginning to feel routine, stale. When that happens, especially with something I love as much as tango, then I know it’s time to take a break. Circumstances in my life right now have made this a good time for a respite as well. I’m hoping to get back into it soon; I miss my friends and of course the dancing. But I won’t do it just for the sake of saying “I dance tango”; I want to be in love with tango again!
154. My fiance and I wanted to just dance with each other and the instructor instisted we switch it up. We felt this dance is too close for strangers. I don’t want to be all rubbing up close on some haggard old woman telling me how I SHOULD dance and my fiance doesn’t want some “Chester molestor” dude rubbining up on her telling her “Can you feel me yet?” We will stick with Salsa…
155. Lessons to complcated
156. Had hip replacement surgery and never got back into it.
157. As a Martial arts instructor leading with the upper body was against 37 years of training not to lead with the “face” upper body first instead as whole body using legs to propel and move from the waist. Also I found a majority of the ladies that i partnered with had little or no patients with myself as a beginner and their exasperation was very apparent
158. Don’t have a Tango Dance Partner – but I’m looking for someone.
159. too difficult to attend late night milongas while working full-time
160. fell down in the priority list in terms of how I want to spend my free time
161. Other business interests distracting, life getting in way of tango, problems with my weight and self esteem. Male 320 lbs.
162. Also, I got tired of the same old fashioned scratchy tango music (recorded in the 30-40s) that the DJs were stuck playing. This became a big divide in the community.
163. I dream about new steps and I tried one step with many others. Finally found one person to really take it further besides enjoying this step. She liked it so much she kissed me and I returned her kiss. My significant other saw this and that was it. I found the best person I can dance but that was my last dance. Sad but true.
164. Single malt scotch is great liquor. But, after drinking the same stuff — with no variation — for years, it eventually gets old. Even in Buenos Aires, up to 30% of the music at a milonga in non-traditional or non-tango. Portland is waaaaay too conservative where music is concerned.
165. Started dating a non-dancer who was very jealous of my dancing with other women.
166. Age elitist
167. besides above, entered relationship with non-tango dancer.
168. Husband had a hard time learning to lead.
169. I actually got pretty good at Tango…I make a pretty decent partner…I try to go early in the evening when folks will be willing to dance with newer dancers, but when the more experienced people begin to trickle in, of course they want to dance with each other – makes sense…when I first started attending lessons, practicas and milongas, the more experienced folk were really gracious and inclusive…lately, they aren’t so interested in reaching out to the less-experienced. Those that do, very often are critiquing on the dance floor. I don’t mind a few suggestions, but coaching me so that I can do the fancy things they seem to wish they were doing with someone else is stressful. While I certainly understand the desire of more experienced dancers to dance with more experienced partners, it feels really good when people take a few dances to offer to new folk.
170. It got to be like work
171. same old thing every time
172. As a new leader, it’s very frustrating when you get stuck in “limbo” land where advanced dancers don’t really want to practice/dance with you, and you see newer followers accelerate ahead of you over and over again while you remain stuck. Also general level of tango instruction is terrible and not very geared toward non-dancers (little somatic/rhythm/dance experience). They either try to teach too much of things you can’t remember or bore you to death.
173. backpain and pain in feet
174. my toes hurt so much I couldn’t relax my body
175. To the best of my remembrance, Arthur Murray taught American Tango, not Argentine Tango, in Beginner level group classes. I left Arthur Murray- Carmichael CA after two years (1997 – 1999) and moved over to independent ballroom dance studios in Sacramento CA for dancing. Another reason for my leaving Arthur Murray was that they did not teach West Coast Swing (WCS). I became infatuated with WCS and did not have the time to pursue Tango, either American or Argentine Tango. WCS took all of my time from 2000- 2002. I like blues music and WCS is a great dance step for WCS.
176. After 13 years Portland’s tango community has turned into a place for athletic young ego driven hot shot to show off. They disrupt the floor What was once the city of the best BA style milongas in the US is now disrupted at every milonga with flying stilettos, galloping giraffes and large multiple back steps.
177. found that there was little room for change as it was considered not traditional enough and that suggestions of change were usually dismissed rather rudely. However, the lack of younger dancers and the growing popularity of blues dancing with younger dancers I think can be attributed to the lack of room for anything that’s deemed untraditional.
178. Current issue is primarily the economic downturn and lack of funds to continue dancing. But I found that there was a ‘elitist’ attitude among some of the male leads at the dances. I might still be considered ‘young’ by some at the milonga, but it appeared that I am not the right “body type” to be asked to dance. It appeared that there were a lot of female followers who might wear a size 12 or larger were passed over as possible partners, and only those very trim and slim seemed to be asked to dance a lot. While I do enjoy watching others dance, there is a point that dancing more at a milonga myself would make it enticing to continue and not find something else to do. Even with being told by many leaders and instructors at group lessons that I was a good follower and good dancer, someone who could hear the intention in the music and follow some improvisation well, it was always a bit disappointing to sit out for most of the night.
179. The Portland tango community has, sadly, changed for the worse since I started dancing there. When I began I was welcomed and always found a partner. Now, the community has become extremely elitist, ageism is a big problem, and the cliques baffle me. The community will not grow if beginners are not welcomed, and if newcomers feel rejected. Everyone should be able to dance!
180. Haven’t quit yet, but consider it almost weekly/monthly. I really enjoy milonguero style, few leads dance milonguero style. Too many people people dancing “nuevo” and showing off, endangering others in the milonga.
181 My knees and ankles gave out. I took up other activities to develop more strength and take some pressure off the joints. Osteoarthritis.
182. There was no community here no men that could dance 7 to 10 woman and the men in Flagstaff just could not dance
183. moved and there really is nothing in Salem Oregon I am lucky if I get to dance 1x a month
184. to many new dancers from ballroom that have no clue and wont learn the basics, inklusiv etiquette
185. inertia. once I need to miss because of “life”, it’s hard to go back
186. never felt like i fit in. felt like i was always fighting / begging for dances or sitting out.
187. I struggled (and still do) with irrational fears of not being good enough and being rejected. The seriousness and the unwritten injunction against feedback make tango a hard place to find positive support and encouragement. Many teachers are very good at telling you what you are doing wrong but very poor at catching you doing something right. For someone lacking confidence, it’s a very intimidating and overly macho world.
188. WORK too much to do too early in the morning; too much travel; too much work; nothing to do with tango and too much to do with life
189. Local politics caused my wife to refuse to continue. Naturally I joined her and today we golf instead. I miss the passion of tango very much but not the local politics. Our local society could have been much more than just a stage for a few people to be large fish in a small pond.
190. FOOT PAIN
191. saw West Coast Swing– decided I wanted to learn that and drifted away from Tango
192. My wife’s spine deteriorated from a car accident many years earlier-she was confined to a wheel chair & walker for several months-had 2 fusion surgeries a year apart. Is now healing and we plan on resuming social dancing–no more teaching or performing.
193. I found Tango to be an extraordinarily vulnerable-feeling experience on many levels. AND I loved it. AND my love for it made it somehow an even more delicate experience, emotionally, than could be easily shared with a wide variety of partners I didn’t know — and where trust hadn’t been established. More advanced partners who were patient and encouraging were so helpful — sometimes angels, really! More advanced (and sometimes even less advanced!) partners who gave me more feedback than I could take on board, or who were critical or impatient, or made it clear it bored them to dance with a beginner… Well, that was fine for awhile. I was willing to tough it out for the beauty of the dance… Until one day, suddenly, I’d just had enough.
194. hurt knee
195. We were down to 6 people when I got too pregnant to dance.
196. The first instructor we had was a Prima-Dona, and still is..we prefer going to Festivals, or take classes from visiting teachers, in which we have a variety of instructors.
197. I loved it, but my partner went on to other activities and I continued on my own, but it got so personal with people that were not intended to be personal with. I was having intimate dances with people I did not know – I had not established my dance community within the Tango community. I just love the dance, and have started back on Tuesday nights at the Century (1 time) and plan on attending more often. There is also a WCS dance accross the hall, so I love haveing such good dance venue choices.
198. My husband just didn’t get into it!
199. broken foot had to be repaired and I tried too early.
200. One of the instuctor’s is masoganistic. Few women of my age who are enough fun and good followers.
201. Moved to an ageist community. Found festivals to be attended mostly by younger people (I am over 50) and went from favored partner to no partner.
202. I liked the music, and liked watching others dance Art Tango, but do not like to dance it myself. One other factor in general, I am very tired of dancing with partners who weigh 250 pounds or more, some of whom death grip my hands and leave blue marks. I am a senior and take heart meds. In BR, I also gave up the Mixers for similar reasons. I rather listen to the music, chat with friends, band members etc. I am burned out in dancing with rookies – I used to dance with all the women that most of the other men AVOIDED, thus causing my overload because they were not sharing the bad with the good partners.
203. Too few good leads in my age group and few older leads serious about improving their dance. Again the ratio of older women to available leads.
204. I did not like the attitude of the dancers that look down on other forms of social dance. Argentine dancers need to take a page out of the ballroom etiquette book. It is a dance – stop being such social snobs. You can be very accomplished at Argentine AND be good at other dance forms.
205. retired and couldn’t afford to pay to sit and NOT get asked to dance
206. I am now 60. I look good for my age, but sometimes I do feel it is a dance I should have started when I was 20.
207. i don’t care _so_ much about gender & age ratios for strictly dancing, unless people keep asking me out.
208. I was so excited about Tango that I actually went to BsAs to learn more. While i was there, i heard the inside scoop of how people judged each others dancing, including themselves. Lets just say that it was disheartening. I felt self-conscious after that. It seems that even some advanced dancers are so harsh on themselves (and others) that I wonder if they actually enjoy the dance anymore.
209. I would love to tango every other night, and would love to take some private lessons to improve my style, but other things (my job, lack of money, family commitments) keep taking up my time, and private lessons are expensive.
210. When Patricio Touceda and Eva Lucero left town, I was unable to find instructors that would push me toward the limits of my abilities. Local instructors are pleasant, but repaet the same lessons over and over, and I often found that I was teaching them steps or variations from my experiences with P & E. The new Argentines were sweet and competent, but not in P & E’s league. I’m really surpised that you do not include “not getting enough dances” as a reason why one would quit tango. I know numerous older women who left the dance because they would sit around all night watching old turds dance with the younger women. You may be skirting a major issue here.
211. I can’t wear high heels and my legs are not my best feature. I felt too old, too heavy. I went to some Milongas and mostly didn’t get asked to dance. It was too discouraging.
212. I still struggle with the music sometimes
213. Good dancers rarely dance with intermediate level. My private teacher did not even dance with me at milongas. We seemed to do well in our lessons and he told me I was doing great; however, I guess not good enough for even one set at a milonga.
214. I quit twice. Once because of the lack of community, and secondly because of lack of community and also work schedule.
215. economic-purely. will be back as soon as money situation resolved! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
216. Found the ability of American Tango dancers mostly unwilling to “feel” the heart -to-heart connection/movement.
217. Too much time to maintain inner circle relationships. Intimacy and Time required at night kept me away from my family.
218. Danced so much I got Morton’s Neuroma on my foot, walked in pain for a year
219. too many other obligations very demanding job (demands on my time) when I do try to go out dancing it is hard to break into the community When people go out regularly or are presently taking classes it is easier to find partners since people are familiar with you but when you only go out from time to time it is hard to find people to dance with. I don’t think this is exclusive to the tango community it happens with other partner dances as well
220. Also do not want to live in a city again and tango events are not held in the places I will be living in the next few years (South Dakota, Alaska).
221. I got to be intermediate; met a beginner follower; fell in love; we became one of the best dance couples in our scene (albeit a small scene); she traveled to Europe without me and danced all over; she got great at tango; she had better dances with men other than me; she moved to a big city and got begged to help “teach” with hot shot instructors; I’m still intermediate, shy about snooty chicks; have my best dances with little old ladies; broken heart; victim of Tango.
222. We just got busy.
223. I felt I needed it less than before (when I was a tango addict and danced 4-5 times a week for about 3-4 years).
224. My husband/partner was frustrating with the learning curve and also didn’t like to dance with other people. Nor did he like me to dance with other people, so we were both stilted in our ability to advance our dance.
225. The lice out break in the Portland, OR Tango community grossed us out. And, we took some kind of weird analysis through tango workshop and discovered the people we were dancing with were creepy.
226. I haven’t actually taken many tango classes, I am still hoping to restart Tango but have had a variety of injuries over the last few years and am only just now able to think of dancing again.
227. I never enjoyed milongas-far too serious (compared to other social dances); everyone too wrapped up in the “drama” aspect; women incapable of asking men to dance
228. Hard to make progress with significant other as dance partner because learning to lead is so difficult.
229. I still but not as much as before. I”ve been dancing about 7 years including 3 trips to BsAs. I live in the SF area. There are some real snobs in this dance. It’s like going to high school. There’s a tremendous lack of social etiquette with people who do this dance. Also, I think your dancers in Portland are much better musically than the Bay Area. It’s a lot of either flash here or people who move like corpses.
230. People in tango, in general, especially as compared to other social dances and hobbies that I have participated in, take themselves too seriously. They may start off with the best of intentions, but over time most become more elitist and exclusive than they were when they started, many drop any social niceties toward those they aren’t interested in dancing with (passively aggressively avoiding the situation of being asked, rather than being able to clearly say no thank you without feeling it must be an affront), and many become so caught up in searching out that one special moment or in the never ending quest for improvement that they forget how to just be IN the moment and to enjoy themselves.
231, I haven’t really quit, just taking a hiatus. Advanced dancers rarely ask intermediates to dance. There is little opportunity for improvement without that. As I checked above, tango community is snobbish.
232. Could not afford the time or money when I began college.
233. i never quit. maybe i shouldn’t be completing this survey?
I am intermediate leader; straight; single; considered attractive; late 30s.
Going to a milonga is like going to the arctic in your pants.
If the following helps people on here who might read this ~ I’d be very grateful.
Then at least
… one year of the hardest study in dancing I’ve ever been through was worth it and at least I could be of a little help for others
(sorry for lingual mistakes)
I quit last year after I made the most disgusting experience with a known dance instructor. I told him I’m not willing to attend classes where people are being mistreated.
He was talking down on and even screaming at people for no reason given, plus allowing male dance students to do the same with follower-ladies, while I also remember that one ‘lady’ who continuously explained steps and movements to beginner-leaders whenever she felt like doing so, during dance class and even during milonga and practica nights.
If I had been a guy, she would definitely be a reason to quit tango right from the start. The funniest thing about it is, she was no dancer.
Every dance instructor is a human only, and has a life.
But if dance instructors lose the feeling for what is right and wrong completely, and do not even apologize like normal civilized humans to their dance students; a simple “I’m sorry, it’s not the best time for me personally. I’m going through tough times” would do the job actually already… That is when it personally ends for me.
I was not the only one who quit and left.
I know about 4 people altogether who by now did have enough of impossible behavior also and quit the circus.
Then another time I went right into it and studied on my own…
Since, studied hard… many weeks coming with 75 work hours just for tango… additionally to all other things I do in life, like working…
I caught a pretty good insight of it all, was able to get a ‘general information’ about the ‘updates’ of what tango figures should contain of when danced competitively or for the escenario categories.
It is easy to get insight, since all figures can be found online ~ Thank Goodness, we live in ‘online world’; and many, many amazing dancers dance for us ‘for free’, not only in online tutorials but also their dancing itself already teaches us tremendously.
For my understanding, those dancers should take money for it.
There are so many wonderful artists in tango ~ absolutely amazing.
I’m a former competitive dancer; have proven it for long years in a different dance on the floor; my coaches were World Master Titles ~ so ‘going to milongas only’ is no goal for me in the long run. It would become boring for me very fast.
But the way tango is structured, you don’t have any other option than facing the next question then: competing or not competing.
There are not too many competitions on the globe; and you won’t score high if you don’t crawl into the judges’ butts (sorry to be so blunt)… and pay, and pay, and pay for endless private lessons, the flights, the accommodations, outifts and-and-and.
The other chance one only gets, is going to the events all over the globe: milongas/practicas/marathons/festivals
(while BA of course has its own structures)
You’ll face reality : only a few leaders, but way too many followers ~ one can do the math here.
If you don’t owe a dance studio; if you are not one of the people performing for a living (and many of those do struggle too) ~ the only chance to make this dance work is to have a steady partner you can enjoy it all together with.
If you don’t have that, for my understanding it will only be a question of time til you quit, may it be after weeks, years or a decade.
You’ll have to face another reality in tango:
You’ll meet friendly people, yes. You’ll meet wonderful people, yes.
Because people wherever you go and travel and whatever their gatherings are, are and can be wonderful.
But you mostly meet snobbish people also, who pretend they never wore jeans & shirt in their life, who talk down on you at events or do it behind your back, while many teachers know how to put on their ‘nice’ and ‘smile’ whenever they think they can make money with you.
If there were at least ‘dance clubs’ where one gets the chance to dance with a minimum entrance fee at organized socials, or where people who want to compete, can work on routines, maybe even during day time too ~ the whole dance could work better maybe.
But ‘every little thing’ comes with money in tango, and depending on ranking of your instructor it’s a lot of money for ‘a hobby’ that it is supposed to be only actually.
Even when you don’t take lessons, you just can’t pay high entrance fees all the time to dance at social events in tango that your local studios are holding.
And who can actually travel all the time to events in other states or nations ? Who has the time for it, who has the money ?
And how much is the outcome of paying hundreds $$$ (whichever currency it is) for just a 4-day-marathon somewhere on the planet?
And how exciting is it to go to any event, where you feel like you’re alone in the middle of a crowd and have no one to dance with, then depend on if someone wants to dance with you or not ? while you’ll never know how crappy the experience for many reasons could be like
You’ll face another problem:
the dress code !
If you go to the ‘better’ events, like the classical milonga-events, there’s almost “a competition” on ‘best outfit’ ~ fishtail skirt and dresses, overly priced shoes for $ 220/up (really ?! ~ the pair of shoes I wan FINALS/NATIONALS with did not even cost that!), while the suits and outfits for men cost a fortune, not to count the accessories coming for both genders.
You might not directly be ‘forced’ to look up-to-date, but let’s face reality another time here : This is what you’ll want to.
You don’t want the guy you don’t like anyway to look way better than yourself on the same floor, so yes : You will aim for that kind of competition, some people more, others less.
While in competitive dancing, depending where you’re at on planet earth, dancing itself usually comes with some lousy shirt and whatever you want to wear while practicing (before within 5 minutes you’ll be sweat anyway unless you don’t work correct) in some club/hall, a basic club member fee like for all other competitive dancers/members, which are the basics only before you’ll talk the ‘real money in competitive dancing’ like: private lessons, choreography arrangements, competition fees, outfits and travel expenses ~
so, while in competitive dancing ‘basically’ you are able to work on the dance itself for a small fee in general, you can make it work, just the ‘competition circus’ is the one that actually makes the whole drama extremely pricey ~
in tango, that one is different right from the start
It is probably not Argentine Tango that will make you quit (unless it is).
It is more likely, annoying people, and annoying ‘no’-structures will do this job on you.
Another problem is instructors making people feel like they always need to learn more.
It is done in other competitive dance sports, in tango it is even worse.
You can play that game forever…
Because, with all the many, many figures and terms that this dance comes, one could easily take lessons for 300 years and still not know it all.
Another problem is, that literally everyone can title themselves ‘instructor’, and while many instructors are really good and really brilliant and amazing… many of the ‘other ones’ were plain and simple nothing else but dancers and former dancers, who just need to make their living.
Ask yourself the question :
How much is any dancer interested in making anyone look better than themselves on the same dance floor ?
See… That is another one of those ‘little’ problems, not in Argentine Tango as a dance only.
The next problem I see is that some tango instructors and many performers come with stage personas higher than Mount Everest.
Tango is a wonderful, amazing dance.
It contains so much material in history, as an art form itself, and way more figures than any other dance.
The dance itself, of what I figured, is not the problem (unless it is and you just dislike it at some point).
It is what people made out of it outside BA. It is people’s misbehavior creating a sick environment, misbehaving, while it could be so much different and better for everyone.
IT TAKES TWO TO ARGENTINE TANGO…
If you’re ONE only… You’ll might find who you are looking for, but chances are, the person exists and you’ll never meet your ‘like-minded’.
For my understanding, it is always better to know what you throw yourself into.
You’ll never know until you know, they say 😉
If I was of any help to anyone on here, all my many, many work hours in tango that I invested for all the right reasons with ZERO RESULT ~ at least they were worth it then.
It’s been much more comfortable socially as an older, bisexual woman to dance in the milongas of the queer community. I’ve almost completely quit tango in the heterosexual comunities.
There is a lot less ageism and a welcoming spirit in the queer milongas. I give and receive a lot in queer milongas. I’ve become a part of things, whether partnered or single.
I’m so happy that some of our djs and instructors happen to be people I danced with when we were all learning together in the nineties Bay Area. They bring that same spirit of love and togetherness whether in straight or gay milongas, and many dance both roles with passion and verve.
Heterosexual milongas require a lot of social skill for aging women, especially if you are effectively single in the milongas and not a known instructor. You need to have a strong ego, humility, a balanced perception of self and others, deep appreciation for tango so that you can enjoy the music intensely even if you aren’t dancing. You must see the best in every one and cheerfully sit out one tanda after another without envy or hurt feelings on the chance you’ll match your mirada with someone’s cabeceo and feel those 7 or eight minutes of transcendence. That’s a tall order. I manage it maybe once every four or five years, and I’ll do it for a live orchestra, where I know I can really have a treat even if I never dance.
In a heterosexual milonga, there’s too much side-eye, not enough cabeceo.
I love this music and I love to listen to it in someone’s arms, dancing – it’s been among the deepest pleasures of my life. In the straight milongas. If I go at all, I go prepared to enjoy everything except a tanda. I hope for bliss but I plan for planchadorisma.
I think if TANDA is shortened to 2 music, it would drastically increase the participation of all dancers. We only dance ONE song in other dance forms, so why not shortened it in tango, too?
Western tango in London is just the most miserable dancer experience in the world ever. People literally only talk to people they know, only dance with those they see as young enough, slim enough, I guess what passes for ‘good’ or ‘sexy’. Tall women like myself without a partner NEVER get asked to dance. I went through beginners stages but only got practice dancing in private sessions with my tango teacher, also a woman, she was a lot smaller but she knew how to lead. I just couldn’t get to intermediate stage because to practice I had to PAY my teacher to dance with me – group classes left me an outsider due to my height. Not because I was bad. The cliqueyness is like being back at the world’s worst school. I did a small group workshop for specific techniques for women and I was one of 6. 4 others already knew each other. The 5th woman was also 20-something, slim, medium height – within an hour they had ‘let her in’ because she was like them – literally nobody spoke to me the entire afternoon apart from my teacher, not even to ask my name, would you believe. So I tried to start conversations, smile, all the usual things you do but got one word answers and they would turn round and talk to the others immediately like I had never spoken. I was tall, I wasn’t like them enough. It just felt so rude by the end. I felt so awful, I couldn’t relax, I felt awkward. The teacher did nothing to help the group to blend, she was like them herself so just got chatting to them as well and didn’t speak to me much at all! I felt almost invisible. So is the London Tango scene friendly? not on your life!!!!
As for teachers (I went with 2 x different women and 2 x different couples) they were either critical or insisting your learn their way or really just wanting to dance themselves – one couple used to do a ‘show dance’ at the end of every class – well, I paid to learn myself and get my practice in, not to watch you enjoying yourselves while we are supposed to go “wow” to make you feel good! I was astonished!
I concluded trying a milonga would be awful. Nobody wanted a tall beginner so nobody was going to want a female milonga newbie, and I heard enough to know that was so – I was told by some others (who also then left the tango scene) that you DO just get ignored, like other women have said, and people don’t talk to you. I watched as people just drifted silently away because they didn’t fit in with the young crowd (who were all middle class – you need money to do this in London, so it really only attracts people with income they spend on it – if you’re poorer, working class, forget it. Statistics would suggest there are some stunning tango dancers on council estates that will forever remain undiscovered.)
It’s so cliquey and unfriendly unless you’re already quite good, under 5ft 7 inches and slim, and ideally under 30, definitely not over 35. My own friends preferred salsa and seemed to have so much fun doing that. I asked them about going to tango and one of them (who had another friend who was into tango) – well her face dropped, got serious and she just said “I’m sorry but no. I like to enjoy myself when I dance and tango isn’t really like that, you have to be a certain way and at a certain level.”
So there you are – the people who do want to have fun, adn just dance and mix more don’t do tango – they do ballroom, salsa, anything but tango. Tango is seen as cliquey, elitist, critical, unfriendly to beginners, older women, definitely unfriendly to tall women, also to married women (see more comments above for that). My experience concurs with that entirely. London Tango is an island you only get the visa too if you’re a certain height, age and skill level and background and have people living there you already know. In short, it is highly prejudiced and narrow – let’s call this behaviour what it is, it IS prejudiced and judgmental mostly on women. For those of you who think – hey, I do ok there, I’m quite happy, that’s not my experience, well, take a look in the mirror. I bet you tick the boxes I outline above, so in short, you get to dance because of what you look like, and your background. Your skill is a consideration but lower on the priority list. Because when you’re older, and you look older, you’ll get dropped, no matter how good you are. Just read the comments above. The prejudice just hasn’t hit you yet, that’s all.
If I sound angry, I am – I was so keen, I loved tango, I really wanted to learn and be part of it. I spent money, did my time on beginners courses, loved the music, the theory, everything – I never found anybody who knew how to do ‘the connection’ in London beyond one teacher. I was open and happy and I just became demoralised, isolated, and I felt humiliated when I was the last person to find a partner due to my height and how rudeness abounds. I never went to a milonga – if I couldn’t even get people in a group class to dance with me due to the prejudice I outline above, why go & suffer? I felt like an outsider the whole time. Nobody cared, everything was superficial. When I started to go home so upset I would cry, I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore, it was populated by awful self-focussed people and I would have to abandon my love for it and save my money for something else. No wonder my friends all ended up doing salsa in London. I learnt the hard way why.
I think the tango scene needs to understand that yes, some people drop out because it isn’t for them, but a LOT of people drop out because you are just not encouraging them to be there, quite the opposite in fact. Teachers, think back over the years about all the people who didn’t move on from early courses, that you never saw at a milonga, and those that if you did vanished soon after. You might have to think hard because you would have tuned them out. I saw it happen with my own eyes and then I left as well. Not one teacher seemed capable of acknowledging it either. Trust me, they left because of what I describe and if you don’t change how you teach, if you aren’t open, observant, active in repairing developing imbalances in your classes, getting people to dance outside their prejudices and comfort zones, you won’t be doing an essential part of your job as a teacher, and you will always be support the clique and not forwarding or opening the world of tango. Because you’re sending that clique into milongas with the same attitude & behaviour they had in class. The milongas are obviously as much an expression of how tango dancers get taught as they are about the people who attend. Something to think about there too) Teachers at school who aren’t proactive, observant and using skills to maintain balance are considered to be bad teachers or teachers with poor class skills. Parents will come in and point out how their child is getting ostracised and so is becoming too uncomfortable to partake in the learning part of the process, so wanting to not go to class – that dynamic is the same for adults as children (yes I teach as well). Something to think about there if you think you’re a ‘good’ teacher. It isn’t just about how good you dance.
I still truly love tango and I’m a huge dance fan but I hate the tango scene for women in London. You just suffer and that is not what tango is – its spirit is more generous than that and it is telling that many comments here say BA tango is much nicer to those of us who aren’t stereotypically thin, small, young or built like Pineapple Studio dancers.
breaks my heart to read this, hun
(sorry for lingual mistakes… I’m not native, sorry about that)
I don’t know, if it helps you of any kind, but I’m trying to support you with thoughts…
it’s the same thing in The USA where I am at; we do have many, many known instructors, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually doing any job on ‘educating’ people how to behave
a huge problem is, that many instructors do count the ‘money-numbers’ only… they would rather keep a leading man around with super-arrogant-macho-behavior than standing up for the follower-ladies
I’m having similar problems with tango. I love it like crazy. Most of us probably did.
But the problem that I see is, IT TAKES TWO TO ARGENTINE TANGO ~ otherwise you are left to the typical annoying “group-behavior” and whatever they decide to do (bullying, bullying and more bullying). It has been described by many people, who wanted to make this dance work, in different areas in The US, of what I read and heard from others.
So, even if it doesn’t solve the problem unfortunately ~
Honey, you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you.
There is something severly wrong with instructors, no matter how good or bad they are, no matter how known or not known they are, not doing a good job (but still taking money for it!). There is also something really wrong with parents not educating their kids, because if they did, they wouldn’t turn into the annoying people later and mistreat others.
And no matter who someone’s parents were, they are a human being who should know what is ok and what is not ok and how to treat people as a generality.
I’ve danced competitively in the so-called ‘high rankings’ earlier in life, in a different dance.
Argentine Tango feels like ‘going back to those days’, literally from day one you face all the mean & rude behaviors.
In Argentine Tango you feel like going to a World Cup competition, right on day one, before you actually know what the ocho cortado is… before you actually know anything.
My dance instructor mistreated women who were not ‘beautiful’ in his eyes, just to give you another example.
He literally did not even look at the ones who were not all dolled up.
He is one of the (many) most known names in tango in The US.
We did have that one very tall lady, she was a really nice average dancer. He greeted her, but he never talked to her as much as to the ladies who were more in his preferred ‘look & height’-range.
He mistreated anyone who could have been ‘competition’ of any possible kind also.
He pulled away the girls from the guys, if they came to dance class ‘as a couple’, then flirted with the girls ongoing to show the guy standing right beside them ‘how much better he is… better dancer, better looking man… etc. etc.’ .
While you didn’t know exactly, if those couples were ‘dance couples’ only or ‘private couples’ also, he made every single guy feel like dirt.
I’ve witnessed it a couple of times, 3 couples did not come back to dance class (of course I did not know which the reasons were).
Imagine you and your girlfriend go to dance class together, and the dance instructor pulls away the girl, flirts with her ongoing… How would you feel like, if you were the guy…
I hope, it helps you a bit to get over the pain people caused in your heart & soul.
I hope, you’ll heal from all the extremely bad and annoying experiences you had to suffer from.
It is not you, honey. It is ‘them’ !
People who misbehave, will do it ‘in general’. You and so many others who complain about the impossible behavior in Argentine Tango (me included) will become targets; but basically, honey…
Once you read through everything that people describe on here or in other blogs, it hopefully helps all of us healing from it and becoming aware of how much bigger we are than ‘they’, no matter how tall we are, no matter how we look, no matter how old we are, no matter which social status we are.
At the end ~ we are all the same humans carrying the same DNA.
Nobody has the right to mistreat you.
Always remember, what a wonderful amazing human you already are.
GOD BLESS YOU ~ and may He give you the power to heal from all the pain others caused
I am partly quitting; stopping the classes, but continuing the milongas.
1. Very steep learning curve makes it difficult to progress unless a lot of practice is put in.
2. Gender imbalance. ( and not in my favor)
3. Too many people much elder to me- whilst im not that young; not near the average age of the class either. I need to dance with those my age, fun and vigorous.
4. Dont like the music played in class. Its old pre 1950s type – the golden age music, or even worse- not tango at all
5. Rotation of partners every 60 seconds just does not work for me. I need to stick to a partner for at least 5-7 minutes to properly practice the move. Frequent rotation requires a reset every time.
but most of all….
its the opportunity cost. I can solve most of the above problems in salsa, meringue etc…so why continue with tango.
After ~8 years, I’m on the verge of quitting as my wife just doesn’t get asked to dance even though she’s a very good dancer (years of private lessons, multiple trips to Buenos Aires for more privates, etc). She’s smart, a traditional dancer, close and open embrace comfortable, and a nice person but the fact is that she isn’t ‘petite’, a bit of an introvert and she is over 60. She’s a good dancer, but the experienced leads prefer the petite and sexy dancers. While our male friends often will dance with her, many leads that used to dance, no longer ask. I personally have an attitude where I try to allocate some of my dances to new followers and those less skilled, and to those for social reasons I want to continue contact. But not everyone feels that way I know. I have a friend who says “Dancing is not a charity. I dance for myself and the follower. I don’t ask the wives of even close friends to dance if they aren’t the one I want to dance with.” [side note: this is one of the biggest complaints I hear from married followers – that their husband will dance with follower X, but the husband of X never ever reciprocates]. So, there is a spectrum of leads from this self-absorbed attitude on one end to a more inclusive attitude on the other. This is just the way it is for now, but it’s demoralizing as many followers have stated here, to sit and wait to be asked even though they have the skills. I just attended a workshop in the SF Bay Area in which a survey was done among the 50 attendees (gender balanced) about what the first words that came into their minds about tango, and the result was ‘Snobby’. Even so, they were still at this workshop – go figure.
Overall, I think it is human nature to be selective, but tango appears to have a stronger elitist attitude and thus is less welcoming and supportive. I don’t know about any other dances besides tango in any depth, but I’m considering moving us to WCS or Salsa based on the 2 classes I’ve taken and the comments I’ve read above. Anyways, right now, although I love tango, it’s music, history, variety in dance (vals, milonga, tango) and it’s intellectual and physical demands, the social side pressures are pushing us away. Some might say it’s the nature of the game and the price to be paid to participate in this dance, but it’s a shame, and I’d like to see the leadership of the various tango communities work harder to foster a better sense of inclusiveness.
I’m not quitting! I refused to after having spent many hours and money in learning how to dance properly and lovely. After 6 years of joining the Tango community I feel like an outsider. Everyone knows me since I am an outgoing person. However, with this group of dancers who have been dancing for over 10 years I do not get asked to dance. They completely ignore how I have grown as a dancer. I didn’t start out with them. Therefore, I am an outsider. I have to say that many of them do not dance very well. But it doesn’t matter they are part of that Holy Grail.
I travel to BA and find the most wonderful dancers and I am ecstatic that I now can dance alongside of them. In my hometown I am pleased when at a Milonga strangers pass by me and tell me how much they like my dance. It’s sadly frustrating because had I known the social climate of the Tango community I probably wouldn’t have invested so much effort on Tango. But happy that I reached my goal of learning Tango and will continue adding to improve.
I don’t want to quit, but if I ever do it is because there are too many leaders in classes and milongas. Barely any followers in the Bay Area. …Or at least that has been my experience. Most classes I go to, leaders and more leaders and more leaders arrive.
I hear about classes with more followers, but I have yet to see it.
I tried to learn several times and I quitted because the teachers were not explaining me how actually move, keep the posture, and they did not correct me… Most of the time the teachers were men and they did not put themselves on the shoes of a woman (me), so I do not get the dansce from the point of view of the women in terms of steps, moves, posture, …
Maybe some days I felt better because the teacher picked me for a try and I could follow him because teachers are very good leaders, obviously. Then, I had to go back and dance with beginners, even worse than me and also with no sense of rhythm at all. They did not push me and make any movements or intention for me to feel where to go and what foot to move backwards or forward… They stayed like a stick and they pretended you to spin around and make movements they were not leading… and telling you it is all your fault.
You can find a lot of clases and ball rooms for milongas, etc, in London, but after 3 weeks going 3 times a day and not really progressing you start thinking it is an impossible dance.
I am good at salsa, bachata, rumba española, even flamenco (I’m Spanish, … from Spain, not from Africa, because some people in America don’t know what is Spain, lol, and they place us in Africa, in latin America or whatever….). The thing is I can dance all these ones with no classes at all, I just need a leader with creativity or even with less creativity but with a sense of rythm make me feel I’m dancing like the angels and I just enjoy… These dances come out like something natural, but Tango is not natural at all. Those rigid movements … I can walk and feel tango music, but who could help me to do the moves, the ochos, the giros, … My partner (beginner also) pretends me to do a giro, a pivot and an ocho and he stays like a stick , not moving at all and as I do not do the step that he is no leading… he tells me off as if he is a professional dancer. Lol.
Also, you have to dance as if you were in love with your partner and most of the times you feel disgusted at some guys you have to be too much close to 🙁 Even smelling bad, too much tobacco, sweating hands …. It is like you are gonna kiss someone who arouses some repulsion on you. Sorry to say that but it is the reality.
This is a dance that if you do not learn or improve you get demotivated and eventually really upset (maybe just with yourself only).
I am going to keep trying, but… it is so annoying not going anywhere! At list I can say I tried it!
I’m a leader and I think it’s time to make it socially acceptable for women to ask men. This is crazy that men have control over the situation, they have the opportunity to decide whether they can get rejected or not but women do not? I say if women want to take on the responsibility of getting accepted or rejected, why not let them? Either allow this or try something else to make the milonga more inclusive.
After 12 years of dancing tango and taking endless lessons from a hundred teachers and style I have had all of the above feelings and reached most of the conclusions mentioned in the previous comments…And these are the conclusions I have reached after realization that considering my age, I will NEVER be a performance stage dancer …For WOMEN: continual lessons with show dancers will never improve your connection and ability to FOLLOW the leads at a milonga. For MEN: continual lessons with show dancers will never improve your connection and ability to LEAD in the milonga. Seek out the close embrace/milonguero teachers who teach the original dance done in the salons of BA and then you will be able to follow the good leads and avoid eye contact with the men who will make you look bad on the floor due to their careless lead. For follows: learning to lead is pivotal in your progress as you will see your mistakes and learn what the lead is missing in communication. It’s a WIN WIN and fills up down time…at milongas that are not gender balanced…AND now I only go to ENCUENTROS that are gender balanced.
When I was in my 20s dancing ballroom and Latin, I enjoyed dancing with people in their 50s and 60s. The gracious and graceful ones, and they were there. What’s up with the people in their 20s not wqnting to dance with people in their 50s and 60s? WTF? You want respect, but earned my contempt.
I would quit if I were unfortunate enough to meet too many ageist snobs like the arse making comment #1.
I feel there is too much emphasis on tradition in tango. Why can’t women ask men? Why are we holding on to the tradition of only leaders asking for a dance? Given a choice most women would prefer the equality we have in other dances. Other dances have evolved. Why not tango?