There are those who get tango, and those who will never get tango.  This isn’t to say that only Argentinians get tango, and all foreigners don’t get what tango is.  It makes a difference when one grew up on tango in Buenos Aires and learned the dance early in life.  It’s in their blood.

Taking classes with many teachers is no guarantee that one gets tango.  Some Argentine teachers don’t get tango, so how can they inspire others with the music, lyrics, and orquestas.  They teach choreography and call it tango.

I was enjoying the music from my table when a foreigner made an overt, almost horizontal pose to get my attention for the tanda.  My standard advice to foreign visitors is: refuse to dance with men who approach your table; the worst dancers prey upon newcomers.  I don’t usually accept an , but I did this time and didn’t expect much.

Things didn’t get off to a good start.  My hair was in his face and he brushed it away with his hand, commanding that I do something to relieve his discomfort.  I did, but that would have been the perfect excuse to avoid the tanda with him.   My cheek rested on his sweaty face and my arm on his wet shirt from perspiration.  I couldn’t have been more uncomfortable.

I knew after the first few steps on the floor that I was with a man who danced for himself, not for his partner.  He danced memorized sequences and didn’t hear the music.  There is nothing I hate more than a dancer with no connection to the music.  Another is expecting a partner to automatically follow when there is no lead.  He had no awareness of me, only his own dancing.

After the first dance, I asked him where he is from.  He told me, and then added he’s been living in Buenos Aires for six years.  That proves that people don’t get tango even while living here.

After the second dance, I asked him if he heard about the cabeceo for inviting someone to dance.  He said he couldn’t see very far.  I suggested wearing glasses,  but he said they don’t help him.  Later I saw him wearing glasses.  All the women were 20 feet away across the floor. If he didn’t use the cabeceo, he wasn’t going to dance.

This tangoman has a lot to learn.


6 Responses to “Tangoman”

  1. tangogeoff Says:


  2. Felicity Says:

    Oh my goodness. Did you last the tanda?!

  3. jantango Says:

    Yes, I did, and I survived. My time to make a quick get-away was the moment he complained about my hair. We were at the edge of the floor. I could have turned and walked away.

  4. Felicity Says:

    🙂 I had had a feeling it might have gone through your head at that point! I get quite a lot of stick from dancing so little. At least some people remark on it. It surprises me. Especially as I don’t think I make a habit – at least not a regular one! – of saying to women: God, why you do you accept so many?

  5. Lina Says:

    It is sad when years of dancing make no difference in the quality of your dance. And to dance tango yet not understand the background, culture and codigos. And not listen to the music. I would rather dance with a man who does very little, but does it to the music with me.. I have danced with many such men over the years. I call them showboats. They get one tanda.

  6. Felicity Says:

    ” I would rather dance with a man who does very little, but does it to the music with me”. Agreed. Or rather, a man who it might appear does very little.

    And all the women I like dancing with say similar things.

    I have to discovered I have say to guys I don’t know that I have a knee problem and can’t pivot well. So then mostly they ‘just’ walk. But I’ve had so many nice dances this way, including with men who haven’t the experience to know that less is more, that even if it weren’t true I think I would want to say it anyway.

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