Masculinity embracing femininity

My post “Do Women Need To Be Men in Tango?” received more comments than any other in Tango Chamuyo.  Seeing a woman invite another woman to dance two years ago in Lo de Celia Tango Club prompted the post.

Last Wednesday was another situation.  Two foreign men in their 40s danced together.  This was a first at Lo de Celia.  I pointed them out to the security guard at the bar who then informed Celia.  The guard was told to tell the men that tango between men wasn’t permitted in the salon.  The men left the floor and returned to their table.

Anyone taking a few minutes could see that tango is between men and women at Lo de Celia.  Most of the men have danced tango all their lives and go regularly to dance with women.  They may have practiced with their pals while learning, but their goal was to dance with women.  Tango for them is masculinity embracing femininity.  Argentine men are machistas who want to see men dancing with women, not men with men.

Two women told me they didn’t have a problem seeing two men dancing together.  If the milonga doesn’t continue as we know it, where are we going to dance?  Someone commented that it could be considered discrimination when two men are not allowed to dance together.  There are venues that welcome that option.  The men tested the waters at Lo de Celia.

It’s a given that women outnumber men in dancing, no matter what social style you name.  Women learn to lead out of necessity to dance.  There aren’t enough men teaching social tango, and too many men learn from women teachers.  There is a difference.  Tango needs more real men.


8 Responses to “Masculinity embracing femininity”

  1. John Morton Says:

    “Tango needs more real men “. . . and outside Argentina tango needs more real women who are happy to dance with those real men.

    Social Tango is a man’s dance for dancing a woman and a woman’s dance for dancing with a man. There is no dance I know which has more interdependence and yet more mutual influence. Truly a dance of feeling, it is not visual but sensual.

    History tells us that dances are products of their time and place as was the evolution of social tango. Now tango is affected by what people see rather than what they do and what they see is the tango of the competition, and the over-dramatic tango of stage and film.

    Every tango show seems to have its brothel scene (a stage invention), its scene of men dancing with men, a mock knife fight and a pastiche milonga. No wonder some men think it’s ok to dance with one another at a milonga.

  2. TangoSiren Says:

    Perhaps because I was not raised in an environment steeped in tradition my feeling is that the Tango we now dance will have to change, evolve into something that better reflects the world as it is.

    Tango of yesterday was that, it reflected the strict social codes that were part of society. This is no longer part of a society that most people live in. We come from diverse places and dance many different ways. The unifying factor is that we all are moved by tango, that we all want to feel that high that you can only get through one good dance.

    Possible the necessity of ladies dancing with ladies will create a new avenue in itself; who is to say lady leaders are a bad thing. Those people dedicated enough to spend the time with tango should be allowed to dance with whomever they believe will bring them that peace, regardless of their gender.

  3. Alan Jones Says:

    Dear Tango Siren, I am curious as to how Tango can evolve and/or change in the future. Having been to Buenos Aires, I am unable to fault the way the traditional milongas are run. Yes, I prefer to dance with a woman, but if the future of Tango is the opposite of the ‘old ways’, i.e., scruffy men chewing bubble-gum, sauntering over to a woman, asking:’wanna dance’ love’, then, to me, it takes away the things that make the dance what it is. Wishing you that ‘perfect Tango’, Alan Jones from England.

  4. Ann Marie Posa Says:

    Is that not how it started, men dancing with men? Hasn’t tango itself been revolutionary, an inventor of new things at all times? I have been invited by women and I tried them. I didn’t like it much. I prefer dancing with men. But times keep changing and someone else might feel differently. Men can now get married to men. So why not let them dance with each other?

  5. tangobob Says:

    Interesting comment Ann Marie, but men learned the dance by dancing with men in practicas, they did not dance with men by choice. At the milonga it was always a man and a woman. That said sometimes I enjoy dancing with men, but only at a class or practica, you can learn a lot this way.
    Men can dance together at the milongas labled “Tango queer” if that is what they want, I am afraid it is not the place for me.

  6. Ann Marie Posa Says:

    “but men learned the dance by dancing with men in practicas, they did not dance with men by choice.”
    Yes, and the fact that both, men and women, can nowadays choose who they want to dance with, is one of the best things that could happen to tango dancing, I think. Especially for the women. As far as I know, in the early days of tango it was only the men who could choose, not the women.

  7. tangobob Says:

    @Ann Marie, another misconception I think. The cabeceo as a way of choosing your dance partner gives the women emense power. If they do not want to dance with a man, they simply do not have to look at him. It is a lot harder for a woman to refuse in the Northern hemisphere when a man aproaches her directly.
    For the inexperienced here in BsAs, it is definitely a feeling of being chosen rather than choice for men or women (trust me I know from experience).



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