The milongas are for dancing, not for practicing and offering feedback to your partner. Argentine men are clear on this when they enter a milonga.
Jose invited me for a vals tanda. I looked to him because we’ve enjoyed many vals tandas together. After the first dance, he made a suggestion that I change the my head position because, as he said, it would look nicer. He is taller than most of the men with whom I dance, and it’s a stretch for me to see over his shoulder. I danced with Jose as he suggested, but felt I’d lost connection with him.
Last Sunday, Luis invited me to dance. After the first dance, he asked me to change my head. This request came days after the first one. Luis and I are about the same height. He asked me to turn my head slightly to the right, placing my forehead on his, with my nose pressed against his right cheek. I dance with my eyes open, so I was staring into his eyes and giggling about it. Not only did it feel strange to me, but made me dizzy. It was impossible to focus on the music while trying to adjust to this odd angle.
During our teaching days in Chicago, Carlos Favre and I gave a workshop at the Museum of Contemporary Art called, “The Art of the Embrace.” A large number of couples with no social dance experience signed up for our tango workshop. Carlos and I began our demonstration with a two-armed, cheek-to-cheek hug with each other and then transitioned to the dance embrace. It was the simplest way we knew to show the tango embrace. It was obvious to us that many couples were not big on hugging each other. They needed help getting close for a full-body hug.
Tango is a hug between two. I don’t even consider how I look when I hug a friend and share my energy. It’s the same for me when I dance tango.