Be choosy

If you ask any woman at a milonga if she is there to sit all night or there to dance, she’ll probably say she wants to dance.  I’ve seen women who dance every tanda all night long, like they’re at a marathon.

A few years ago, Leonora shared my table.  She was new to the milonga.  She wasn’t a familiar face, so she was sitting more than dancing.  We talked about observing how the men dance before accepting an invitation.  I told her how I preferred to sit than to suffer through ten minutes with a partner who didn’t feel the music or take care of me while we danced.  In early May, I saw her at a Saturday afternoon milonga.  She stopped by my table to thank me and let me know that she decided to take my advice about dance partners. She is content dancing fewer tandas with better dancers.

Ines heard me talk about the milongas during the three months she was coming to a weekly lesson.  She was finally ready for her first milonga.  We went with friends to Nuevo Chique.  Her first tanda was a disaster.  Her second tanda was another disaster.  She was too good with the cabeceo, but was accepting every invitation that came her way.  Then we talked.  I pointed out Jose, the best dancer in the milonga to her, a man with whom I’d enjoyed dancing many times.  He was directly across the room.  I told her to look his way.  She did. He invited her.  That was an aha moment for Ines.  She felt the difference between men who pushed her around and one who danced with her.  She said, Janis, I’m going to take your advice from now on.  I’m not going to dance with anyone until I’ve seen how he dances first.  I’ll be choosy like you.  A few weeks later, we went together to Nuevo Chique.  She was eager to dance, so I reminded her that she is choosy like I am.  She danced only three or four tandas that day, but none of them were disasters.



5 Responses to “Be choosy”

  1. tangogeoff Says:

    Great advice, Janice and well done, Ines! 😘

  2. Tango Tails Says:

    That’s why I’m studying a lot – both the music & dance, continually. Your advice comes at a mystical coincidence to me. Hmmm. As a man, I’m discovering the same thing with follows. Just 3 weeks ago, my teacher told me to do the same, to be choosy. I’m at this transition point, and it’s difficult – as these “not good dancers” expect to be asked. I don’t want to hurt their feelings, as they were instrumental and probably suffered dancing with me when I was a beginner. However, they don’t study, stayed at the same level, or don’t care to improve? Now, I am the one suffering through a tanda with them. The best follows in the milongas are starting to give me very nice complements, too. And, it is intoxicating to share a lovely embrace with them. I feel awkward even sharing this, because I am humble knowing my skill level, and I still need lots of practice and improvement.

  3. jantango Says:

    The advice applies to men as well as women. Those who take a class with me hear that advice. Not everyone is choosy in the milongas, but those who are choosy happily continue. I’m happy to hear that you discovered the difference in being choosy.

  4. Patricia Says:

    Some people equate choosiness with elitism. Perhaps there is an element of truth in that. Call it a preference for a quality experience above quantity.

    A sense of satisfaction or fulfillment is what I seek when I dance a tanda. So, after some observation, I only accept cabeceo invitations from those whose behaviours, navigation, etc. suggest to me that I would feel comfortable. And I don’t mean hot-shot dancers or ‘stars’.

    We (both men and women) need to feel comfortable and relaxed in the embrace of the other before sharing our emotional response to the music. If we can’t do that, then what is the point?

  5. jantango Says:

    Thanks, Pat, for sharing your thoughts on the subject. If one isn’t comfortable in the embrace, it’s not possible to share an emotional response to the music with a partner.

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