Well, I myself didn’t quit, but I know lots of people who have. Of course, the drop-out rate for beginners is always high, but perhaps we’ve all known someone who was hugely committed and addicted to tango, spent many years dancing tango, and then suddenly quit. Which brings me to the subject of this survey–i.e., finding out what the biggest reasons are that tango dancers quit. If you have some ideas you can:
- Make comments at the bottom of this post (to include a profile picture, click on gravitar).
- Take the Survey “Why I Quit Tango” (or just view the Results).
- Fill out the Poll below (To see results of earlier polls, go to Clay’s Polls).
I have been dancing Tango for 4 years now and am finally competent (not great, but competent). Looking at myself and others the biggest frustration is around two words:
OK, I come from a ballroom background where it is done differently and I believe getting rid of the above two would greatly improve the tango community and help beginners.
1) Both leads and follows should be allowed/encouraged to ask for a dance. You will see fewer followers sitting out long periods, and leads will learn to dance with everyone. Honestly, this will help all progress faster.
2) Dancing with the same partner for 3-4 songs can either be heaven or hell. I have seen leads bypass beginners as they don’t want to have to indirectly teach a follower for 3-4 songs. Similarly, I have seen follows decline dances. In ballroom I find that leads and follows are much more open to dancing with a beginner for one song as they feel it is a community obligation to help promote the dance.
3) In ballroom, even as a beginner I rarely received a decline to dance. In Tango it was way too often when I started. And, if you decide to visit another community…UGH!! They don’t know you and don’t want to take the risk of having to dance several songs with you. Yes, you can always say Thank you at some point. At least for me I don’t do it as I don’t want to humiliate the other person.
So, I know it is not going to change, but in my dreams….
Love and Hate relationship with Tango.
I have been trying to come back to Tango every year for last 10 years. I dance for about 1-2 months then I go away because my energy is more for extroverted Lindy Hop (Which I’m currently trying to learn) or salsa, rather than introverted tango. But I do love the dance itself, it’s challenging and actually fun! I’m not really into cabaseo, because I have a bad night vision (HAHA) and don’t want to look across a huge room. Not to mention, a lot of great dancers tend to stick with other great dancers and don’t want to spend any time with less of a skilled dancer like a disease! It’s really stupid, because in a real world, that’s not gonna work. HA! I just came back from a dance last night and it was a very small gathering of dancers and 99% ignored me. Of course, nobody wants to feel rejected, but remember that it IS just a dance and how they think they are or how you are shouldn’t concern how you feel. Yeah, it’s weird, and yes, some are snobs but you what, we can start a new loving community! Ignore them!
(sorry for lingual mistakes, I’m not native)
~ so after being away for a long time from dance floors, as a former title holder, Nationals, calling some of the first ‘World Top Ten’ my headcoaches & private coaches, I started this year with Argentine Tango, and got soooo attached to it all… the music, the feeling, the whole new language ~ a whole new wonderful beautiful idea ~ I was in heaven for three months
… before the storm broke out
the only time that I remember having been surrounded by so many mean, two-faced, backstabbing people was really when I danced those final rounds years back
I met extremely backstabbing ‘known maestros’ this year, students who were effing arrogant and ‘taught’ whoever they danced with how to dance… ‘taught’ in the meaning of ‘continuously talking down on the other one’ while the instructors tolerated that annoying behavior.
I met a lot of ‘wanna-be’s’ who hated me whenever I tried to set foot on a dance floor. One dance instructor kicked my bags with his feet to demonstrate ‘how much higher he is than I’.
I met ‘known maestros’ who couldn’t handle the competition… no matter with whom…
~ and altogether wondered “is this hardcore Broadway business here… ?” ~ far away from Broadway actually, somewhere in The US, where I live
I’m advertising already, in the sheer hope to find a partner to dance with on exactly that professional business level that I’ve been thrown into this year, after only a couple of months’ dance instruction the idea is sheer insane, the only chance I have in my area right now is to watch dance instructional videos and hope to learn it that way… THE HARD WAY
~ so, yes, officially I quit ~
BECAUSE : I hated people, I hated the way they mistreated one another (and me), I hated how arrogant and snobbish they were, I hated men ‘talking down’ on female dance partners, I hated that one girl doing the same thing the other way round with a guy who I had started with (she was 4 months ahead only, and no good dancer neither will she ever be any), I hated the extremely mean experience I made with the one maestro I looked up to like no one else – who I was devoted to like no one else, before he showed his true colors, took me down ~ did what he obviously needed to do: things that I should have taken to my lawyer’s office actually, but didn’t, because I was the stupid girl who was so devoted…
I hated the other instructor I went to afterwards, who lied straight to my face with a huge smile on her face
I loved some people in the dance classes I met, and hated the ones who thought themselves so much higher and bigger and better and were just annoying altogether.
I hated it all ~
BUT I LOVE TANGO
and I’m a good person, and there must be another good person who is my perfect tango match
and then we will perform, entertain ~ and most of all
treat our audience with the respect that I didn’t experience once this year
treat our audience with the same respect that I showed at all given times to the wrong people this year
update from me ~
studied intensively, studied it all ~
the figures, the embellishments, the lifts, the jumps, through the extreme good DVD-material that is out by known maestros
got so much articles into my hands while searching the net
result, in my own words:
tango isn’t worth to be pursued since there’s only one competition (more or less) in The US you can attend, once a year
it is no competitive dance sport
you cannot take this dance to a higher level
some dancers, professionals, are extremely good and fight for the few stages available only around the globe
chances are, you won’t find a really good dancer who is working/dancing on the same level – and for what would you want to work for, if there’s no real place to compete and to go to anyway ?
if you like Argentine Tango to socialize with others, it is a wonderful dance
if you are aware, that everything you can really do is to ongoing book pricey flights & hotel accommodations to spend hundreds $$ for ongoing seminars/workshops and all the tango-clothing unless you have a place to go to on a regular basis in your city ~ it might be fun
for me ~ I just don’t think it is worth all further ongoing studies ahead
tango is a language – I’m not studying a whole language if there is no one to speak it with
It is like studying how to play the harp… no job offers for certain instruments, and you end up alone playing in the basement after studying solid 6-14 yrs
I wish the very known maestro I started to study with last year in 2018 had told me that Argentine Tango leads to nowhere-city for good dancers, and to complete frustration and ‘no dancing’ for followers in general since the number of leaders in this dance is even way lower than in other dances already.
Apparently the gentleman was too busy with bullying the ones in dance class who could have turned competition…
Since there are so many outstanding instructors (all fighting for the same ‘3’ leaders around) not even the thought of becoming an instructor makes actually sense.
… and just all of us tango-lovers I hate to give up
… because at night OBLIVION is haunting me ~ and I’ll miss Mr. Argentine Tango like no one else…
Dear Cinderella! You sound as thought you’ve had the unlucky chance of living in my city! Stab, stab, stab. It’s a veritable looney bin. But since I too, love tango, . . . I kept searching and so I arrange my life like other tangueros, around life-giving tango, which I find in other cities. What is the consequence? It is this: all the mean-spirited and insecure, poorly equipped, poorly coping people have not stood in the way of my enjoyment one iota. On the contrary, they have helped propel me to find the treasure and to nurture myself, the journey and the community. Keep going. Do not let the bad apples define the experience that can give you great joy and more.
… and you’re a total sweetheart, Mary Anne
could kiss you for your cute reply
I studied Tango intensively for about a year. I spent thousands of hours walking (Tango moves, but simple) in my home, and went to every Tango anything there was in my small city. Most of the time I wasn’t there to dance, but to watch and learn. Maybe I would dance one tanda or possibly two, with people who understood that I just wanted to keep it very simple, and who didn’t mind that. A lot of the time, I was just there (in addition to whatever I might learn in my own very deliberate way) to REALLY ENJOY just being there. (I am, by the way, very athletic, and have been much complimented in my life, in dance and in other pursuits, for my natural grace and “comfortableness in my body”, and it was not like the ladies there didn’t want to dance with me when I did feel, once in a while, like it was time for me to…)
One of the local “instructor’s” husbands said to me, when I was sitting watching one evening, “If you’re not going to dance, then you should just get out of here.” There were other attitudes and remarks like this as well, over time.
A high level Tango Professional came to this town (at the locals’ request) to do a three-day workshop… He spent a lot of that time with me, off to the side (which yes, he shouldn’t necessarily have done), saying that I was the only person there who had any idea at all about Tango, that I was very right that walking is indeed the foundation of it, that if I wanted to get good at it (which I clearly did want) that I should keep to my idea of practicing walking (and very basic/simple Tango moves) as much as possible and of not dancing all the time with these people, and I should never, under any circumstances, let them try to “teach” me.
I may go back to Tango sometime, but I would only do that A.- somewhere else… and B.- in an environment where the people who ARE the “core group” would be more accepting of a wide variety of different understandings and approaches to Tango. That “do it my way or else” mentality… Unfortunately, that’s a description of the people who live here (in general, with some exceptions of course), and not ANYTHING about Tango itself. Ignorance is its own reward. And many people here are very well rewarded, to say the least.
Mary Anne, The funny thing is I do have rhythm. I have always had good musicianship even before tango, however within tango, rhythm is the only thing I have. I love the music, I know many of the lyrics, my problem is my stance, my embrace, my confidence, etc. I do enjoy the classes and even enjoy sitting and watching, but when you think it has been 4 years I just can’t help but think it can be another 4 years and then logic will be crying out loud for me to quit.
Bob, I do get those looks, but I don’t know what is worse, that or the look that has a forced smile in order to be nice even though I can see right through it and I have to play along.
On a different note for the followers saying leaders only choose young and beautiful partners, there are lots of older beautiful partners that never get mentioned, not sure why.
It had been my experience that younger partners are usually more understanding though. Just my experience.
I believe you do have rhythm and great musicality. It does not seem natural to me to be walking around as close as in tango. Neither our bodies nor culture are accustomed to that. I think it takes enormous sensitivity and physicality, things develop slowly. I also find that younger men are more accommodating. Older ones are the ones who occasionally say something rude like, “In tango a woman follows the man” (as if it’s a man’s last bastion of lordship over women, and as if pointing out his lordship will turn me into the obedience he wants). A younger man would never say such a thing. Younger people may have more overall capacity to adapt to the stuff that an older person brings. If you like it, stay.
I was alarmed that an attractive woman was absent for my beginner class. Great overview here of the temperature out there. We’re 5L, 5F if she quit the six session class. I look forward to the class variety at the next level. Already a perfume bather on the premises. The venue gives discounts to couples. We have three couples, which dilutes the mood for me. Hopefully they are satisfied dabbling and quit. The ladies are short to begin with and barefoot, in flats or a one inch heel at most. Not putting one’s best foot forward! I dread rotating to women who can’t even make the effort to look tall and graceful. Get it together. Tango becomes awkward for a six foot tall man.
This comment seem inappropriate to me. It seems Fred is still dancing -has not quit – and therefor not a candidate for this commentary. Fred has little understanding or empathy for women who are “asked” to wear heels by their culture. High heels pose several health issues. If women opt to wear flats or low heels – especially for classes – that should be accepted with GRACE. I’d like to see Fred wear high heels!
I have been dancing Tango for almost 8 years. My home base is the NY/NJ area, although I enjoy dancing more in other parts of the world than in NYC. Rather than feeling complimented, I am more likely to feel insulted when I get invited by a stranger only to hear after the tanda how ‘surprised’ he was that I was ‘such a good dancer’ and ‘could he please look for me again later.’ I understand that this is because I am not young, thin, or exotic looking, as are most of the women who dance steadily (if not well) in the NYC community. I’ve told my partner and friends that I just don’t enjoy trying to look like and act like a hooker just to get a leader to even consider me – that’s not my style so I end up basically being ignored except for regular partners or people from out of town who are willing to take a chance. It is just not fun anymore. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want good partners throughout your dance life, you must sneak off and learn somewhere far away, then come in with experience but unknown so you are not labeled as ‘that beginner I met 10 years ago who i will never dance with because she is beneath me.’ There are definitely dance cliques and although I love the music and many of my wonderful partners and friends, it’s just not fun anymore.
And by the way, I dance with beginners all the time – how else are they going to get a chance to learn?!
Sad but true! I would love to change the toxicity of Tango! I travel outside of NYC to dance. Socially, l enjoy being part of this community but snubbery is prevalent. I ignore it but it’s there! I don’t want to quit tango. l just wish it had a better attitude. Salsa has different levels of performance like in Tango. However, In Salsa you can find very good dancers in each level of your progress. There are even a few days different styles of Salsa! Still you can find many good dancers who are like yourself striving to be good social dancers. Unlike Tango where many are striving to be performers before becoming good Dancers! And that’s what disappoints in Tango!
Why do people think Argentine Tango should be fun ? I`ve never thought / think of Tango as fun. It can be enjoyable, pleasing and satisfying, But can be frustrating and humbling as well.
Tango is Darwinian; survival of the fittest. That`s why i like it. Many people sample it and are defeated. But, others pursue it because of the difficulties and challenges. It may not be suitable for all temperaments and those with expectations of easy success.
The definition of dancing tango to me is: “movement, together with another person, to music or rhythm”. If I accomplish that, I`m happy. I disregard the hyperbole about passion, romance, elegance, etc. They are myth and marketing.
Sorry, Frederic. Dance is something special in and of itself. You don’t need music and you certainly don’t need another person to dance. All you need is the desire to move! Dancing should be fun. Tango doesn’t have to be Darwinian. It has nothing to do with survival or who comes out on top. All the counts is the joy of dancing. Try it some time!
Now I see where “the attitude” comes from! “Darwinian” indeed! Tango is still a social dance last time I checked. I actually dance tap–a performance dance one can spend one’s life exacting. But there’s always a choice. I think most people (at least those who don;t dedicate their professional lives to dance) do it to have fun as well as for some sense of growth and accomplishment. I have been lucky in most OTHER dance styles I’ve done (salsa, ballroom, tap) people have generally been welcoming and friendly. And thank goodness because I still love to dance!
I agree with you Frederic. Tango is very humbling and never exactly fun. It is especially difficult since it requires two people to be in sync with body, movement and mind. It is hard work and when well done, may give the illusion of romance, passion or whatever.
Reading through everyone’s comments as
To why they quit tango, I can’t help but notice the same continually-recurring themes: Rejection (mostly followers) and
Cliqueish elitism (everyone). Let me say
right up front, that while these may be
problems in many localities, in my six
years of dancing tango, I’ve not seen it to
any real degree where I live ( and dance ).
Here in Reno, NV, we don’t seem to have
such problems because;
1. Our tango community is small (20 or so
“hard core regulars”, if you will), yet at the
same time quite cohesive. Most of us have been dancing tango for some time, and the
older, more experienced dancers have observed the newer dancers over time.
They give encouragement and assistance
to those with less experience, serving as
role models, even. This also means that
since there are few to no “unknown quantities” amongst us, everybody dances,
and gets asked to dance. I have yet to
hear a Reno tanguera complain of being
ignored (at least at Reno milongas). At
same time, we’re all there first and foremost to socialize and have a good time, not show off or impress others. We
basically don’t much care if we’re not the
best tango dancers in the world. Neither
do we expect others ( least of all, the less
ex0erienced) to be. Our goal is to become
better-better-better, not better-better-Best.
2. We have outstanding instructors, who
provide excellent leadership, not only on
the dance floor, but also overall. They
proactively spot and address difficulties
before they become serious. We’ve got a
very good group of steady dancers because of this. The few “problem children” in our midst are now gone.
To those who may not believe this, just
check out the blog on VZtango.com.
Read: “Benched: The Curse of the Unasked
Follower”. For the life of me, I can’t see
how any man who isn’t a total jerk could
read that post, and not be shamed into
asking every woman present to dance.
3. In the Reno tango community, none of
us are “spring chickens”. This means that
the immature problem of older people not
being asked to dance ( or rejected when
they ask) simply doesn’t exist. Everyone
who shows a serious interest in tango is
accepted, even one as “vertically-challenged” as myself.
In view of all of the above, it’s scarcely
surprising that while we’re obviously not
a large enough community to host our
own tango festivals, we nonetheless
seldom fail to make a favorable impression
on others ( as anyone who attended Burning Tango 2014 probably noticed).
So then, I pose this question to all those
who boast of their localitys’ huge (yet
amorphous) tango festivals and milongas:
Which is really better? A small, cohesive
tango community, accepting of everyone,
whose members are mostly there just to
A huge crowd, characterized by constant turnover and egos running amok, leading to immature cliquishness and exclusivity?
But don’t merely take my word for it. Should you ever have the occasion to visit Reno, look up our class/practica/milonga
schedule, then come and see firsthand. I
can almost guarantee that if you’re one of
those seeking a change from what so many on this blog have complained of,
you won’t be disappointed.
I appreciate your entry, very thoughtful. Say hello to Bob when you see him. I looked on the VZ website you suggested but couldn’t find the article in the blog. Is the blog the heading that says Friends talk about tango? Thank you.
Here’s a link to the very thoughtful article:
I’m all for followers asking me to dance, and they do!
Hope I can come to Reno some time and dust off my Tango shoes, John. I think I’d like it there.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve moved around a lot and been a part of multiple Tango communities – both small and large. The smaller communities are just that – communities. Everyone knows everyone and the emotional environment is a lot more welcoming and friendly. I miss them! In the larger cities, it’s challenging to feel comfortable – unless you are an advanced dancer, confident and dressed well (not necessarily sexy – but attractively) – of course young doesn’t hurt either. I believe larger city venues require regular attendance if one wants to “break in”. And one should be an intermediate level dancer or above if they want to dance more often than not. If tango weren’t so good for improving posture, and offer other health benefits, I don’t think I’d stick with it.
Had similar experience. Determined to solve problem, I took lots of private lessons with instructors such as Carlos Gavito. Stayed away from milongas during this time. Eventually, I became a professional. Problem solved. This is an extreme solution. Argentine tango is not an easy dance. It exists on many levels. There are energy shifts at dances. Sometimes the energy is up. Sometimes down. What experienced social dancers need to do is to remember what it is like to sit at a dance and not be asked to dance. And…be sure to invite newbies to dance. They may be future professionals.
I was not a “beginner” when I quit. I liked tango better as a beginner because I mainly went to class and then went home. I danced tango on and off for a good 10 years and loved the dance. It was trying to break in to the higher level that left me so troubled. I wasn’t accepted at the milongas. I even went to the Portland Valentango and was so excited, but quickly saw I would not dance at the nighttime milonga, despite getting dressed up. I have met a few wonderful teachers that danced with me and encouraged a friendly atmosphere. That is not the norm. Why not? Is this part of tango culture?
When tango gets you down recharge your batteries with my second favorite dance, contra dance. On a 1 to 10 difficulty scale contra is a 1.5 and tango is an 11. Contra is musical but if you have a partner who can’t hear the music you can still get through it, and have fun. Contra people are as friendly as tango people are snotty. There’s live music which is usually very compelling. And, contra is aerobic.
Tammy, I think your experience is not part of the tango culture, but certainly the norm. I find it curious (and troubling) to sit on the sidelines wanting something I can’t have (at least in the moment if not for a few weeks or months). Why would I like something so much and give it so much time and attention . . . and then be so vulnerable and maybe not even have a good time? And why do I get so annoyed and sometimes downright down about it? I can’t control the experience. More than half of it belongs to other people, and at the same time I’m part of the whole atmosphere affecting other people. And, I can get very angry too. A few times after getting angry, I approached the poor recipient of my mental judgment, and found myself to be completely wrong. We are given almost no teaching on how to bear ourselves in such situations. And as far as I can tell, that is a big part of tango.
Lastly, can you imagine how instructors would feel if they were to spend their festival dancing with their students? Even just four students is one hour, when running on very little time, food and sleep. Why do we expect someone to accept our desire to dance with us, when we don’t accept their desire not to dance with us? (That is something I sit with in those moments). Mary Anne
(I find these questions – to quit or not to quit extremely interesting, kind of bringing us to the edge of something). Kudos to contra dance for being musical and lots of easy funl
“Like” is kind of a special function of Facebook. But since you asked, I just added a place to make and “Like” Facebook comments. It’s just sort of judgement call on my part whether to add in the Facebook comment ability to my blogs. Whenever it’s not there, you can always ask me to put it in….clay
There are never enough ways and places to express gratitude and appreciation… so, thank you for opening one more for us! Mary Anne
I quit tango… several times….
I started by going to the pre-milonga classes and then began taking actual beginners lessons. In the lessons, during rotations, some leads refused to dance with me. They would rather sit out a rotation than suffer me. I was devastated. I quit. Several months later, during a milonga at my favorite watering hole, someone asked me why I stopped. I recounted my story. A non-dancing gentleman overheard. He told me he would accompany me. True to his word, he accompanied me to classes for several weeks. When someone refused me during a rotation, he jumped to my side. My confidence returned. He bowed out eventually, after my confidence returned. Were it not for him, I would have never returned.
An instructor I greatly admired became very frustrated with me, admonishing me in front of the class. I shed tears in front of everyone. I quit, humiliated and broken. A few months later I ran into the instructor who taught the pre-milonga classes. She noted that she had not seen me in a long while. After hearing my story she encouraged me to attend her classes. Now, two years later, I’m still going to her.
I thought I had bad experiences in my unnamed large North West city that does have a sales tax but many here have had worse. The problem is this can’t be fixed. It’s the nature of the beast. Best we can do I think is to try to soften the effect. If you see this happening inform the “victim” that it’s not his or her problem. Tell them it can be a tough road but there are rewards down the line. Tell them, “It gets better.” (It really doesn’t get better but tell them that anyway.)
Thanks for you comment, Bob. I agree, it does get better. Softening the impact of less than optimal experiences does go a long way. Now, with a few more years under my belt, I see that it’s the leaders (not necessarily leads) in the community that set the tone. They are the examples for the rest of the community. When the leader, or instructor is dancing with all the beginners after class, the rest of the community follows. When the leader acts critically, and standoffish, the rest of the community matches his stance.
It’s unfortunate that most of them don’t see it as their responsibility. The good news, is that with a change of attitude, it’s easy to remedy, it’s easy to turn this around, if the leaders in the community begin to take responsibility.
Maybe we could do more? I also have suffered the feeling of rejection (at a cost of 2,000 kms distance from home, $$ spent, and my own precious time) – understandable reality of not being asked to dance as a beginner, and humiliation. A class for women really helped support me with a great feeling among the 50 extra women in attendance. And re humiliation: I’ve been there too. THat time I felt compassion from a lesbian couple who heard me verbally and nonverbally. Bob, could we also not respectfully say to an instructor when we see that, “the unintentional effect of your words was humiliating. I felt it too. It was uncomfortable for us all.” Or simply, “that was rather harsh.” I think it opens the door to more thoughfulness and maybe a response of the instructor to reach out differently. (Does tango education need to be a one-way heirarchy that we condone?)
That unnamed large Northwest city that does have a sales tax also has a reputation of “freeze” named after the city. I agree with Joan on the leaders in the community that set the tone. The participation level in tango events is largely determined by the host (of milongas), organizers (of events), and instructors. It makes good business sense to create a friendly and welcoming environment. This goes far beyond just Facebook invitations. The most popular milongas are those hosted by leaders who show caring and warm welcome to everyone (including host taking the lead to go out invite follows who have less opportunity to dance).
Note: I feel like I’m answering and not answering the question. Sometimes tango hurts and I come close to letting go. Somehow, I keep thinking that if I keep trying to improve and am patient my dream of dancing will be realized. If not, I suppose I’ll replace tango with therapy! 😉
I haven’t quit tango – yet. I actually don’t have any plans to do so, but sometimes I wonder if I’m chasing a dream that can’t come true.
For most of my life, I’ve worked and supported the learning of others. I started out as an elementary teacher, and finished my career as an Assistive Technology Specialist (assisting handicapped individuals with alternative communicative devices and methods, and computer access for the physically challenged). I don’t regret my years in the field of education, but I was driven to take hours of classes (Master’s plus 45) and make a difference in the lives of children who were physically challenged.
I don’t regret my choice of careers, but it did take a toll on me. I watched students decline and pass away, and in some ways I closed my heart to feeling. I decided it was time at retirement to do something for “me,” and to engage in an activity that filled my heart with joy. I wanted to “feel.”
However, I digress…
I took up tango after I retired at sixty, and it will be two years in October. I’ve taken group and private lessons, attended practicas and milongas, and gone to several festivals.
I hadn’t danced for awhile after a bad ballroom partner, (I can say that now because it’s true.) spun me and flung me way outside his frame. I hit a table, lost my balance, and broke my right wrist. I had an external fixator, but when it was removed too early my wrist collapsed with a horrific “tilt.” Another surgery involved a plate, screws, and a cadaver bone graft. I still have a slight tilt, but my wrist is functional.
I gave up on dancing – labeling myself clumsy and stupid…
Until the tango.
There’s virtually no tango where I live in Southern New Mexico (a leader who has been to a few festivals appointed himself a teacher), and my experience driving 100 miles round trip to dance in a different venue was no better. To add insult to injury, there are two dance studios that are rivals.
So, I’m traveling in my RV this summer visiting different communities and venues to work on my close embrace. Smaller (but strong) communities are more accepting in my experience and welcome in newcomers. I sampled Portland, and found the experience “so-so.” I attended a practica and thought it would be a good experience to dance and get pointers. However, I found that the instructor danced with those he knew who were accomplished dancers.
So, how do you learn and improve by going to a practica?
I left Portland and am attending a Richard Council workshop weekend in Newport mid-August. I’m hoping the smaller community makes a difference.
It’s difficult for me since I’m in my RV and don’t have a tow car.
No, I haven’t quit tango but I’m tempted. Tango (for me) is much like the lover that gives you just enough to keep you connected and interested, but no more. Sometimes I feel like a fool to be taken in by it’s promises.
I’ve gone to milongas without dancing a tanda and cried on the drive home. I do enjoy socializing and visiting, but that only goes so far. I’ve also gone to milongas and sat in an obscure place thinking if I’m not going to dance at least I’ll watch and learn and won’t feel the pain of being ignored and feeling “invisible.” (Yes, Clay I attended Burning Tango and sat way up on the steps at the end of the dance floor at one milonga.)
However, once in a while there are the kind leaders who see through the frozen smile on my face at a milonga and ask me to dance.
It keeps me going for the long haul…
I hear you and feel for you. I have been there, traveling to milongas yet sitting there the whole night without dances. I admire your perseverance, my efforts were only fractional compared to yours. I have not had problem with class rotation (some classes have a lot more follows therefore the long wait for the rotation). I have not quit tango as it does get better when my dance improves, I hope that’s the case for you too. I made peace with sitting at milongas with no dance by learning to enjoy music while started tango music study, and over the time just observing the dance floor without dance becomes more tolerable when I keep tango music in focus. I am also learning to lead, this opens doors for more dances, and to help with other ladies who are waiting for dances. The other suggestion I have is to take technique classes, they don’t need any partners and it helps me to be a better dancer.
Thanks for sharing, DD. I thought I had quit tango during a six year geographically induced dry spell. Or, probably more accurately, I thought that “tango had left my life”. But I’m back to it – dancing a little more each month – the geographic blocks having fallen away. Las Cruces? Austin isn’t too too far…:)
I’ve been dancing Argentine Tango for almost 30 years and teaching for over 20, so I think I have had some understanding of why people quit. My husband and I used to joke, saying that we both quit Tango many times. Fortunately, we never quit at the SAME time, so we kept each other going. Frustration is major factor in learning to dance Tango, and only those with a high tolerance survive. (We still get frustrated, by the way. We are always perfecting our technique and trying to keep each other inspired.)
When I first started dancing Tango, I couldn’t understand why so many people stopped coming to class, because I loved the dance so much. I blamed my teacher. But after several years, I realized that ALL teachers have at least a 50% turnover in the Beginner class. Tango is highly nuanced, and requires a lot more time to become sufficiently skilled than any other social dance. That discourages a lot of people. After all, our internet-driven lifestyle is based on immediate gratification and most people still “want it all, now.” Many quit because they just don’t want to invest the time/money required or just they can’t handle the frustration of remaining a novice for years. Then, there’s the “bad prom” atmosphere and cliques at so many Milongas that every one else mentioned in this thread.
The reasons for quitting are different for people who’ve been dancing a long time or have acquired a high level of skill. Remember, these are the people who keep Tango alive – the die-hards who keep coming to class and Milongas year after year. Sadly, rejection is a big factor and so is age. Older men and women are slide-lined at the Milongas, either because 1) they don’t look as good as the younger dancers, or 2) they no longer have the balance or strength of their youth. The women don’t get asked, and the men get refused when they do ask.
Sadly, ALL of San Francisco’s first-generation Tangueras HAVE QUIT, unless they have still a steady partner. The reason? They can’t find an age-appropriate partner with equal dancing ability or have been banished to the sidelines at Milongas. Moreover, many have been injured and are no longer willing to risk bruises, torn toenails or pulled muscles for a tanda. (Oddly, it’s usually the Intermediate dancers, not the Beginners, who do the most damage.) More often than not, followers reject leaders because it hurts to dance with them! (Think about that, gentlemen, the next time you try a new pattern at the Milonga. Save it for class or the practica!)
Physical pain is also a factor for leaders. (My Tanguero friends and students complaint to me about this all the time, though they won’t tell their partners.) When they get older, the leaders no longer have the strength or the will to haul untrained followers around the dance floor. Their arms, shoulders, necks, and sometimes, backs just can’t take the punishment any more. Think about that, ladies, the next time you hang your arm around your partner’s neck or lean on him to keep your balance!
Don’t tell me that age doesn’t count on the dance floor!. Men will always prefer younger women. I think it’s in our DNA. Case in point: I have a step-daughter who lives out of town. She’s gorgeous but never had any aptitude for dancing. During one of her visits, she tagged along to a Milonga with my husband and me just to see why we were so addicted to Tango. I think EVERY man invited her to dance, and most of them were teaching on the dance floor. She couldn’t follow, stepped on their toes, and generally disrupted the flow of traffic. Even so, some guys asked her to dance a couple of times. Meanwhile, the older women at my table were all good dancers, but they sat most of the night. BTW, my daughter did not enjoy the experience. She felt like a sack of potatoes that got pushed around and bossed around all night.
Argentine Tango can be an appropriate dance for all ages, so long as people recognize their limitations. If your balance is fading, do what you can do with grace. If you can’t do a colgada, so what? If you just walk elegantly and to the music, you and your partner will have a good time. If you want to dance fast all the time, take up Lindy and get that speed out of your system. If everyone stopped “performing” on the pista, we could concentrate on our partners and the music and actually dance!
One final comment. I agree that nothing in the world feels better than a well-danced Tango. But feelings (even passion), do not generate good dancing – good dancing generates good feelings. Don’t lecture poor Beginners about “feeling” the Tango. That only makes them more frustrated and drives them away. Until they learn how to comfortably embrace their partners, they just feel confused and uncomfortable. A good embrace requires good technique. And if everyone concentrated on perfecting their embrace, instead of judging others, none of us would feel so rejected or so unhappy dancing Tango.
I’ve thought about this a lot, as I did quit tango. I love the dance, but I never got into the “cool” dancers set and few dancers, even teachers were nice, especially after the lesson ended. As an avid salsa dancer, I had never experienced being snubbed the way I did in the tango world. I could show up to a milonga, or stay for one after class and no one would want to dance with me. Sometimes I left after not dancing at all. I experienced classes with more women than men where the teachers did nothing to make sure that women were not routinely left without a partner during class. Fortunately, there were some wonderful exceptions (mainly at the lower levels) the more advanced, the more ruthless. It’s really a shame people are so exclusionary and unwelcoming. That’s why I quit.
Tammy, my heart goes out to you. I experienced the same thing. No one would dance with me. Even the instructor (who you’d think would have a vested interested in encouraging new dancers). And it’s the instructor that sets the example for the rest of the community. Fortunately, I found another community of dancers in the same city at a different milonga that made me feel much more welcome, danced with me, a mere beginner at the time, and gave me encouraging words. Now, I’ve learned to lead. I make it a point to be there as the beginners class ends and the milonga begins, to give back and dance and encourage this new crop of dancers, and I’m not the only one.
For me, it really came down to finding the right community.
My wish is that, if you decide to return, that you find the warm embrace of a community that welcomes, encourages, and dances with you.
Very well said, Nancy!!!
I would add that older people can work on their balance! (Albeit outside of San Francisco), the elderly manage icy sidewalks, cross country skiing, scrambling up mountains…. Keeping one’s balance is always important, and tango adds one more reason to work on it. An older man, whose soul is connected to the music, with a wonderful embrace and balance. . . (with the supporting technique of proper body mechanics of course) . . has a lot to offer, as does an older woman. Mary Anne
I agree with everything you have said. I have experienced and observed all of the scenarios you presented – in cities all across the USA and Canada. I have danced in the tango communities of over 8 cities. It’s the same everywhere.
I enjoyed your post. I started out as a street dancer in my 20’s dancing every night doing the Hustle. After that, I branched out and learned every other dance (with technique) over a span of 30 years. I was part of a dance community and there was (and still is) a place to dance every night in this area.
When I first started out, I too, felt rejection but I suspected it was just as much about my perception. And I later suspected it was also somehow related to where I danced (nightclubs, single-dance events). I decided to start asking one new person to dance each time I went out. As a result, I became a person who, when I’d walk into a dance venue, I’d put my shoes on and work the room the entire night dancing every kind of dance. Problem solved!
Later, as I got better however, I will admit I tired of leaders who did not care to pay for lessons to improve. You know the ones….” i just do it to have fun”. Well, I want to have fun too. I no longer want to dance with leaders who pull me around, stress my shoulder turning me, or bludgeon my foot because they did not know to move off the slot.
My solution is to stay in the dance studios and take hours of group lessons where I now have a new dance community and all of the dancers are interested in striving for improvement as their idea of fun. You get good deals on group rates when you take several hours per week. And I am not stuck doing one dance (as in a milonga or salsa event). Boring!
Nice talking to you.
“Banished to the sidelines”
This is a problem in the USA! This is not a Tango problem. You don’t see this “banishmen” in Buenos Aires!!
first of all thank you clay for your surveys. now as to the subject, it is no secret that many milongas are unfriendly to strangers. that along with bad dj’ing combine to discourage dancers. we encourage dancers that are losing interest to go to the better milongas. where the people are friendly and the music is inspirational.
case in point is burning tango. we encouraged a couple (that was thinking about quitting) to go, they went, and loved it. their interest was renewed and they are happy dancing tango again. it just takes effort on the organizers side to make dancers feel comfortable, good dj’ing, and great ambiance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Argentine Tango is unlike ALL other dances on the face of the Earth. It requires passion & love of the dance which is rewarded by great dancing with those who share a common bond. It is comparable to a “best friend” vs an “acquaintance” OR a loving compassionate spouse vs discontent & near divorce.
So when quit comes to quit, it’s usually time to move on. Thank God, because no one needs to stay in a bad relationship or dance with people who aren’t interested in perfecting their skills. Also another reason Tango dancers like dancing with experience people as well as newcomers who reflect the passion to learn. Otherwise, splitting the sheets is necessary between Tango dancers vs non Tango dancers.
Golf is a sport with similar principles. No one wants a newcomer on the tournament team. They need to stay on the practice course a while longer.
I really love the music and have a big collection (more than half neuvo).
I’m male and was put off while learning. The practicas had more than 1/2 “experts”. The experts were forced to dance with others. They had plenty of criticism, no encouragement and whined about being away from good dancers. Learning in that kind of environment is tough even if the teachers are great.
Compare this with square dancing which also can be quite costume and expertise oriented yet they know they have to encourage beginners or there will be no dancing. (You need 4 couples to have a square.) They tend to be more tolerant. Also they are forced to dance with other partners all the time so improving others helps everyone in the group.
I encourage everyone to really get acquainted with the cultural level of Argentine Tango. Once you do & experience the marvelous feeling, you’ll kick Neuvo to the curb. Neuvo is just like Ballroom ……No feeling, No passion, Just a lot of fast paced movements that look good to people who’ve never taken a dance lesson in their life. Argentine Tango has a level called Milonga if you like fast paced, but it is fast paced with feeling & passion. Argentine Waltz is a mid paced level & great deal of fun. YEA!!!!!!
Pat you hit the nail on the head with regard to nuevo! I always compared it to aerobics with music for folks who couldn’t find the beat. As an older man that has been dancing a while. I abandoned Portland and travel to Seattle or Eugene to dance tango. The dancers are friendlier and I never suffer the rejection I get in Portland. It is telling that at Patricio’s first dance at his new venue in Seattle I danced with 2 carloads of women who drove there from Eugene. They all said they don’t care for the snobbery in Portland and how all the Dj’s in Portland sound the same! I dance with begginers because it is only by the grace and charity of advanced women dancers I ever progressed and I remember vividly the humiliation of the first year when I was so bad I wouldn’t dance with myself! Asfor fast paced don’t forget the milonga!!
Like most of the comments, the tango commuity is somewhat cult-y and highschool-ish to me. I feel like a lot of snobbish dancers perhaps had a rough highshool years and suddenly they realized that they are wanted by other dancers. Or maybe they are just introverts and shy…??? I see this mostly with young population (20-40s). I have been doing tango on and off (On for 2-3 months then off for 2 years, haha) because I just don’t like the energy and stress it gives me, plus I have other lives. I’m not going to quit but I do understand why others quit. Dance should be fun not to put you down. One thing I do is, I remember the snobbish one and I do not LOOK at them, because I rather dance with friendly beginners. Tango is all about energy, no? 🙂
REAL Argentine Tango is not ”all about energy ”but it is ”all about feeling & passion”. That is so difficult for the beginner to experience so unless they really like the dance, they will never stick with it long enough to experience these feelings. If one does stick to it long enough, they’ll never want to go back.
Hello Pat, Might it be fair to say that those who don’t stick with Argentine tango might have other passions in their lives? Maybe they don’t need to stick with an art that does not motivate them. As far as I’m concerned, feelings (emotions) and passion do involve tremendous movement, which certainly is a form of energy. Tango is not for everyone, and those who quit may have a lot going on for them in other areas of their lives (and hence, they might not be missing a thing!).
Tired of getting that “well you’re not up to my level” look I pretty much stopped asking ladies to dance. I dance with my partner or watch. I enjoy watching different dance styles and skill levels. I envy people who can make “music” from simple moves but that’s another survey.
I have been told repeatedly by ladies, especially younger ones, that the reason they stop coming in our fairly small community, is because of a number of men in the community who try to monopolize them and ” teach” as soon as they show up . Most of these clowns can’t dance themselves .Having them all impress upon a newcomer how incompetent they are is notcondusive to having them return. Actually I have starting catching them right away , and explain to them what is likely to happen, and tell them to say that they have a teacher and don’t want to get confused by other instructions. It actually works, and I have been thanked for doing that.
The other reason young people don’t return is the music. (I know this is going to inflame some people).
Most of them tell me they hate the misey laden old 20-40’s music.( their words). You have to realize that they are mostly exposed to salsa ,club, swing , kizomba and what is generally considered “fun” music. Not very much into ballroom or serious stuff. Don’t know what the answer is for that, but I do run a nuevo/alternative evening which they like, but traditionalists don’t like. Can’t win #-)
Kevin, I like your comments. The traditional Argentine Tango dance is so wonderful once it is learned & also understood. Yes I definitely agree that the younger bunch like a lot of movement as their feeling of fun. Seems like most Tango dancers have taken the time & acquired the passion to learn many styles of dance because they also understand the dynamic differences of all style. You sound like someone I would truly enjoy dancing with. We have a wonderful group in Little Rock, Arkansas & our instructor has trained annually with the best in Buenos Aires during the past 10 years. I wish you the best & hope you never lose that passion. Pat in Arkansas.
Why do some men, who are not world class competitors, attempt to “teach” females to dance? Are they trying to be friendly to the beginner? Or is it control?
I know that many social dancers who lead believe themselves to be the ones who know how to dance because “followers just follow”. I fault the dance studios for this who consistently dumb down followers and tell them for example, if a leader is off beat you must follow him. And that “back leading” is a mortal sin! Dance is a woman’s sport but social dance turns it into a man’s game. And if a woman learns to lead? “Oh, isn’t it difficult? ” And then they believe you to be a better dancer! Oh, brother!
The better school of dance is dancesport because they expect leaders and followers to know the dances equally. And that lead and follow is a two way street.
I took up tango to go revisit that beginner feeling and got more than I expected. In Ballroom, Country, Swing and other Latin venues we are all deliberately polite and friendly to beginners while encouraging them. The tango crowd completely surprised me. The men were snotty and wouldn’t dance with the beginners. Where does anyone think they will get more dance partners? And where is the benefit for anyone in being so boorish and downright unfriendly? Dance is supposed to be fun. Admittedly I have been in situations where people were kind but that one group disintegrated when the instructor relocated. At one point I signed up for a class with an instructor that was touted as the very best (and probably was). However, I observed him as other class participants tried to interact with him as we waited for the previous class to finish and found him aloof and uninterested in his own students. Needless to say I got my money back and left. If you don’t think we beginners are worth your instruction time I doubt you will actually teach me anything regardless how eager I am to learn: you will quash the students.
Simply stated I found it a completely unsatisfying experience. I’d like to learn this dance but the feeling remains: how will I ever get to participate outside of a class? I continue to hear the comment that currently the community remains clickish and snobbish. Who needs that when you’re supposed to be having fun?
Oh Ms. Paula,
Sounds like you were introduced to this dance by the wrong people. I’ve learned there is more than one personality group when it comes to Tango. All of our members make a big deal of dancing with & giving attention to newcomers. Last Saturday, we had a lady from Poland who had never tried this Tango, but had watched at a few times in her travels. Her comment at the end of the night was “Everyone here is so helpful & professional in your attitudes, which I have not seen before. THIS looks like a dance I’d be interested in learning.” Wishing you the best. Google Argentine Tango if you are ever in the Little Rock, Arkansas area.
I too have had an impossible learning circumstance in my home town, and I began targeting vacation destinations around tango workshops . . . , and eventually, years later, I am beaming in the midst of my worldwide tango community. Meanwhile, the dancers at home are happy with what they have. It’s a sort of hybrid tango that will never satisfy me, but I’ve grown in many ways, and the hometown bunch have essentially not stood in the way of my tango path. If you love it, it will return your investment. Mary Anne
I quit for a few years after a convergence of my economic situation and a despondency about sitting around costly milongas watching others dance. Now that I’m back at the dance with private lessons under my belt I can see that I wasn’t that skilled. However there is a tendency for dancers to not ask a stranger to dance. Then it takes forever to become a non stranger. It is indeed a dilemma for more skilled dancers to dance with someone less skilled. But it seems we can be a little friendlier. Perhaps leaders can make a goal to ask one new person each milonga. And followers say yes to a new leader. The overlay of the Argentinian hundred year old culture in the US is unnecessary. I think it’s time that the follower should be able to ask leaders to dance especially when there’s so few leaders in some of the milongas.
Sally, as I replied to Kevin in an above post, August 1, 2014, marks the date of the start of my second year of tango. I learned a lot my first year as a student of tango and I sort of feel like I need to do a “term paper” on the subject, or something. One thing I learned is that I DO LIKE THE CABECEO APPROACH but I also think it is necessary for a woman to SHOW HER INTEREST FIRST; it is her way of “inviting him to invite her” to dance in a more feminine way (in my opinion).
This is how I have learned to “ask” a man to dance and found that it works very well: When I am near or see a man at the water/drink/food table, hanging his coat, checking in, or any non-dancing situation, I SMILE and make small talk. Many, many times they say something like, “Mind if I ask you for a tanda later?”
Also, one of my close guy friends who is a very experienced tango dancer said, “Just smile, baby [while you are sitting and looking around], because that’s what the guys are looking for.” In other words, I don’t just look around for the guy and then smile, but rather, look around smiling until I get the smile back and the nod. Works like a charm!
Debbie, I wish you had attended the milongas I attended. I can count on one had the number of times a follow asked me out on the floor, and each time I felt like a million bucks. The burden of initializing social interaction is no fun, both for leads and for men in general. (The area I live in has *far* more single men than single women, and it’s easier for guys to draw the winning Powerball numbers than find a date on Saturday night. Yep, that frustrating.) I was so grateful and flattered that those woman asked me out on the floor, I accepted them all, even when there were no romantic implications.
Quite surprised at the number of follows who say they kept getting passed over in favor of attractive young women. When I was learning tango, I was taught that the dances were for social interaction, meeting people and simply enjoying dance, not for “picking up” someone. I asked out onto the floor anyone I wanted to dance with, regardless of age, build, or looks. My only filters were that she wasn’t considerably more skilled or taller than me; kind of hard to lead when you can’t see over her shoulder!
Not sure where you took classes & training, but I was told early on to “”always go to Practicas instead of Milongas until I know the etiquette, manners, & a few steps of this dance.”” Practicas are for beginners as well as those who’ve been dancing for a while but want to learn new steps. Practicas are usually 2 to 3 hours in length & the instructor introduces a new step that everyone learns & practices with different partners. Learning the Tango Walk, plus just a couple other steps can get one thru a whole Tando. I expect if I had started going to Milongas too soon, I might have called it quits before I ever learned the basics of this Tango & view it the same as when I was learning golf…..Never enter the tournament until I’ve conquered the basics.
Those are some great ideas! It takes very little, as you suggest, to change an atmosphere into a welcoming one. The goodwill you suggest is not out of line with the tango. Snotty people need not be the definition of a culture. I wonder what you are waiting for? What are U.S. women in general waiting for? Is this not a dance of two equal persons? Women lead in many ways, from issuing invitations – i.e. effectively selecting who will cabaceo, to communicating musicality, to hospitality. Personally, I am waiting for women to reclaim safety on the streets so that we can walk to and from milongas at all hours. Mary Anne
From a woman’s point if view, it was like wearing a girdle and trying to smile to get the dances etc, tango people invest a lot of time and have lots if expectations for themselves and others. But in their enthusiasm they lose the real connection of beautiful music and people for the more superficial aspects of steps, and evaluating others as they feel they are evaluated. Even if I work hard and practice I still just want to have fun, and that got hard to do.
The community is closed to newcomers and beginners unless you are an attractive young woman. Going to the practicas was a little better, but dances meant sitting out almost the entire time. Very few men were willing to dance with a novice which is unfortunate because you only improve when dancing with someone with a higher skill than your own. I agree with Mary Anne that too many dancers use heavy scents and/or fabric softeners, leaving me ill at the end of an evening.
I DON’T feel the Tango community is closed to newcomers/beginners unless you’re an attractive young woman. When I attended practicas, everyone danced every song even if it was practicing certain steps alone. Everyone changed partners which is the BEST way to know if you’ve learned something well. I felt immediately when I was doing something wrong, or if the partner was doing something wrong. Yes, it is easier to learn with anyone more experienced, but the only way to learn correctly is with a GOOD instructor. Never expect a mediocre dancer to teach you anything above beginner & mediocre. Another thing I was told early on as part of the etiquette of the dance was “Never wear perfumes. Shower before every Practica or Milonga & if one really feels they need perfume or cologne, spray your shoes or hemlines.
I am sorry for Beth’s and RC’s experiences, and I believe them. They probably did not have the same choices you had. I have heard newcomers complain to their teachers that not only did they sit the entire milonga but NOT A SINGLE PERSON said hello to them! Rude experiences are appalling and far too frequent, and a complete turn off.
And just by the way, perfume is quite toxic to some people. It gets into the air. Would you scent your hemline if you knew that one person had to leave because of it? What does it really cost us to be more accommodating? Tango is an intimate dance, and needs extra care by dancers. I find myself constantly working on this, and you are all reminding me of why I do. It’s not a bad thing at all. Mary Anne
I know this is a dated thread. But spraying shoes or hemlines seems like a reasonable compromise option.
I quit tango for almost a decade partly because of tango people. I worked in Hollywood for a time. All the Hollywood stereotypes are understated, it’s crazier than that, but still between Tango folks and Hollywood folks I’d take the Hollywood folks.
However, tango is a great dance so what’s a guy to do?
Point well made. I will dance with you! 😉
I too would take the show biz crowd over the tango folks, based on what I’ve experienced of both!
Hey Bob, It requires attending more than one event to find the best one for you. In all reality, how many suits do you try on before buying the right color & style for you? A very well known & professional dancer in Buenos Aires told me “Tango should be danced with the same passion as a three minute vertical love making session.” Whoa. That set me back a few steps until I understood her real meaning….this dance requires slow steps with feeling & passion, never clingy or inappropriate touching, and should leave the viewers thinking “Wow, did you see the passion in that!” It’s the one thing that makes this Tango stand apart from all other styles of dance.
At “home” I danced several times a week in the same community. Now on the road full time in an RV it’s tough. Some places the best one can do is franchise square dancing & maybe a cowboy bar.
The rest of your comment is right on. I couldn’t have said it better. I’d like to be able to say it better but I couldn’t.
I love tango and feel that it literally saved my life for a number of reasons. For 7 years I busily attended festivals, classes, and milongas. I’ve had a number of unfortunate injuries which have sidelined me. But I hesitate to go back for the reasons made me start drifting away before I got hit by a taxi. The tango community sometimes seems to be like a fundamentalist religion—if you’re not dancing 40 hours a week, not wearing the right shoes/clothes, not the right age or body type, but especially if you’re not out there every night all night—well, you are not accepted or taken seriously. Anyone who can’t meet those requirements (those of us who have “normal” jobs, kids, and/or are married to non-tango spouses) might as well forget about it. I love Paris, don’t care for Parisians. Kind of how I feel about tango. Love the dance, not the dancers so much.
Never had trouble with Parisians, New Yorkers either. Of course never met a Parisian tango dancer.
Hi Tango Clay! I promoted your survey through our social media channels and made it headline in the latest edition of http://www.milonga.me – great effort! Saludos! Anthony
I quit tango in my home community because of the high amount of cologne and perfume used, and the fact that the dancers love their scents and are not interested in finding out how they impact the other dancers. I continue to enjoy tango when I go to larger communities (such as Portland, Or, and the Bay Area, Ca) I notice that I have no adverse reactions to scents there. I am willing to join my community again, but only after a scent-free environment is established. Unfortunately the rate of change in my home community is akin to the early stages of evolution (million year time spans), and until I have the time to fire it up, I shall simply use my time wisely and enjoy tango when I have the opportunity to do so elsewhere. This is a sad state of affairs, as I have consistently attended in my home community, mainly to build relationships in a community that is overcoming huge amounts of conflict (complete with court case). However, my own health is a bottom line I will not cross, something I will not compromise. I need that to enjoy the dance, needless to say. Thank you for asking. I have a reputation for building community, for positive and enthusiastic attitude, and for very high commitment. The fact is that I did not learn the dance in this community, and tango is so large in my life, that I don’t believe one community will cause me to quit entirely – but I have quit at home, and that is an important place.
Oh perfume is the worse! Just one follower wearing too much is enough to take off my shirt as I get back home and stick it in the laundry pile. Then I have to wash my hands and arms.
I don’t want to quit but if I did it is because I am a terrible dancer. 3 years in and I am very mediomediocre . I had seen others with 3 years under their belt and they were really good!
I hate to compare myself with others, but it just happens. I am not planning on quitting, but I often wonder if I will be a bad dancer forever.
I’m never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
The late George Michael could easily have been singing about tango. Hang in there.
Hah. Well it’s been another year and I still feel as if I am on day one. I hate the moment when a follower or teacher asks me how long I have danced, and I have to look down and say 4years. As the problems with followers is not being asked to dance the whole night, my problem is once I risk asking a stranger to dance, I am humiliated and just go sit dfown and watch the rest of the night. I don’t know anyone else with my problem. I am the guy who loves tango the most, but is the worst dancer ever.
That sounds difficult and hard! You must really love tango to persist. And that’s something I love about tango– seeing all the people sit there for years, looking at the floor, yearning to get on it, and believing that is within them to get there. That was me. It is still me, for different reasons (I am a confident dancer, but that does not mean I am confident that I will be dancing the tangos I want).
May I say (?), that if you really don’t think you have rhythm, maybe you want to check that out? It may be inaccurate. If there is something to it, I’d look for a music teacher who believes in teaching rhythm. There are many ways to learn, and a person can learn to use rhythm in many different circumstances.
Secondly, I still find it really helpful to enjoy the lessons and the learning itself. That was the trick for me: to have no expectation of milonga and to get in as many hours possible at lessons where I came away feeling good. If the milonga failed, I could focus on the lessons. I still do that.
Lastly, I also don’t like that question, “how many years have you been dancing?” What does it mean? It conveys neither the quality nor quantity of hours of learning. My years include many un-danced. I say, “I was introduced to tango 12 years ago, and I sometimes I don’t dance.”
If you love something, I bet you will find it.
Hopefully you’ll get lots of encouragement from others.
Do you get that, “Well, you’re not up to my level” look?