4771  R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the milonga floor

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Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 19:45:55 -0300
From: "Janis Kenyon" <Jantango@feedback.net.ar>
Subject: [Tango-L] R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the milonga floor
To: "Tango-L" <Tango-L@MIT.EDU>

My mother used to tell me as a child that when one learned and practiced
good manners at home, one didn't have to think about them in public. Good
manners then became normal behavior.

I learned ballroom etiquette from my parents who danced, so I was prepared
for attending dances from an early age. Dance floor rules were an integral
part of my classes when I taught ballroom dancing in adult education
courses. However, no one prepared me for what I had to learn about respect
for the milonga floor in Buenos Aires.

My first visit to the milongas in Buenos Aires was in 1996, when our group
went to Club Almagro on a Tuesday night. I didn't know that the milonga
floor was a sacred space. When the floor was clear, no one crossed it. You
just don't cross the floor as a shortcut to go to a friend's table on the
other side. That's why there are aisles between the rows of tables. Well,
no one had told me. That night in Club Almagro, Miguel Angel Zotto arrived.
I was so eager to greet him, that I almost ran across the empty floor! No
one said a word about it to me about it at the time, but years later I
realized my error. I had to learn the rules. I should have waited to greet
him later at his table. He wasn't going anywhere. I know exactly how
first-time visitors feel when they go to a milonga and see tango performers
whom they have admired on stage from a seat
in the audience. You lose all sense of good manners and run across the
floor to greet them without thinking. What do those in the milonga think
about it? Oh, just another tourist who hasn't learned the rules.

I was dancing with a milonguero at Glorias Argentinas. We arrived at one
corner of the floor and had to dance around two men who were busy having a
conversation on the dance floor. No, they weren't tourists; they were
Argentines who were there to perform. Even when I motioned to one of them
during the tanda, they continued their conversation on the floor rather than
at a table a step away.

A week ago in Club Gricel, four tourists remained on the floor during the
cortina in order to chat with a dance teacher. She could have simply led
them off the floor to her table, but they continued their conversation until
people entered the floor for the next tanda.

The milonga rules aren't published in a tourist handbook. It takes time to
learn them by paying attention. Dancers would feel more comfortable during
their first milonga experience if they knew the rules. The rules should be
taught in every beginning class and put into practice before going to a
milonga anywhere. Unfortunately, teachers are more concerned with teaching
steps and often don't know the rules themselves.

Take note on how people enter a milonga, how they are seated, how they enter
the floor to dance, how they observe the line of dance, how they apologize
when bumping other dancers, how they leave the floor, and what happens
during the cortina. These are basic points to know before you take your
first step with respect for the milonga floor.

You need to know more than the basic step to walk onto the milonga floor.
Read an article on the subject in the February issue of El Tangauta.
http://www.eltangauta.com/nota.asp?id`9&idedicion=0


Janis Kenyon
Buenos Aires







Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 15:34:16 -0700
From: David Thorn <thorn-inside@hotmail.com>
Subject: [Tango-L] R-E-S-P-E-C-T
To: tango-l <tango-l@mit.edu>


In the interest of civility of discussion on this list, I would like to suggest that we all think carefully about our use of certain loaded expressions. Two that come immediately to mind are the terms "traditional tango" and "social tango". Whose tradition are you talking about? Tango as danced in 1920? 1930? Villa Urqueza? BsAs today? And by which dancer or set of dancers? It appears to me that both "traditional tango" and "social tango" are often used as code to mean 'close embrace all the time tango'.

Such use would seem to ignore the fact that, as has been oft noted in this list, the nuevo style of tango actually contains no "new" movements! All modern tango movement can be found, or its roots found, in the dance of years past. So perhaps nuevo is actually quite traditional and perhaps it is insulting to those who dance "modern tango" to be told that they are not dancing with respect for the traditions of tango.

Similarly, the use of "social tango" to mean only close embrace, or at least to exclude a number of the modern tango movements, appears to reflect ignorance of the fact that modern tango is not based on choreography and patterns. It is not "show tango". Rather, it is purely lead-follow, is danced socially for your self and your partner, and is based on invention to a degree at least equal to that of close embrace all the time tango. To suggest otherwise can be quite insulting to one who has worked to attain the level of skill required to dance modern. A simple example that should be clear to all on this list is the volcada. This is not a pattern at all. Every degree of sweep of the woman's leg, the amount of extension, the timing, whether it goes to cross, steps out without the cross or is reversed mid sweep, every aspect is led. So why should one who has worked to attain the requisite skill level to lead or follow this be told that he/she is not dancing socially? Th!
e level of heart-to-heart connection required to execute a beautiful volcada is certainly equal to that required to execute a beautiful ocho cortada. And the volcada, as is true with any other "modern" motion, need not occupy any more floor space than an ocho cortada.

Finally, I'll mention the lead. A good modern tango dancer nearly always leads with his chest, his core and his heart. If my partner is to my side, I still lead with my heart and my core. I don't ever shove her with my arms. The arms are merely the extension of my core and provide the instantaneous connection between my heart and hers. Yes, I do use my arms, my wrists, my fingers, but the lead is from my core. The rest just adds nuance. Again, it is both insulting and inaccurate to say that modern tango, when danced well, is not led with the heart and the chest.

Although we may differ in our preferred styles, I think that we should respect our fellow dancers and think carefully about our language.

Yours in tango

D. David Thorn


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Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 02:27:07 +1100
From: Myk Dowling <politas@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] R-E-S-P-E-C-T
To: tango-l <tango-l@mit.edu>

David Thorn wrote:

> It appears to me that both "traditional tango" and "social tango" are often used as code to mean 'close embrace all the time tango'.
>

So what term can we use to refer to the tango that is not "nuevo tango"?
That's what I was using "Traditional tango" for.

> Such use would seem to ignore the fact that, as has been oft noted in this list, the nuevo style of tango actually contains no "new" movements! All modern tango movement can be found, or its roots found, in the dance of years past. So perhaps nuevo is actually quite traditional and perhaps it is insulting to those who dance "modern tango" to be told that they are not dancing with respect for the traditions of tango.

The nuevo style must have _some_ difference, or we wouldn't be able to
call it a distinct style. If it contains no new movements, then the
difference would seem (in my observation) to be in the dancers'
alignment relative to their partners' chests. Does anyone actually want
to _discuss_ this?

> Finally, I'll mention the lead. A good modern tango dancer nearly always leads with his chest, his core and his heart. If my partner is to my side, I still lead with my heart and my core. I don't ever shove her with my arms. The arms are merely the extension of my core and provide the instantaneous connection between my heart and hers. Yes, I do use my arms, my wrists, my fingers, but the lead is from my core. The rest just adds nuance. Again, it is both insulting and inaccurate to say that modern tango, when danced well, is not led with the heart and the chest.

You cannot lead an underarm turn without using your arms. (Surely that
is obvious?) The motion and the intent still comes from the chest, but
to claim that that's what "chest leading" means is to rob the term of
any effective meaning. All leading comes from the chest (and the
"heart", if you insist, but I'm really just talking about the basics)
from one perspective. But in some dances, the arms play a greater role
than others. It's simple fact. To guide your partner to move to your
side (relative to your chest) and back in front can't be done just with
the chest.

How this observation can be considered to be insulting, is what baffles
me. I say "here is a difference I can see". And in response, I get
people saying I'm being insulting.

What insult?

Why is perceived _difference_ an insult?

Myk
in Canberra





From: tango-l-bounces@mit.edu [mailto:tango-l-bounces@mit.edu] On Behalf Of Myk Dowling
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 10:27 AM
To: tango-l
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] R-E-S-P-E-C-T

David Thorn wrote:

> It appears to me that both "traditional tango" and "social tango" are often used as code to mean 'close embrace all the time tango'.
>

So what term can we use to refer to the tango that is not "nuevo tango"?
That's what I was using "Traditional tango" for.

> Such use would seem to ignore the fact that, as has been oft noted in this list, the nuevo style of tango actually contains no "new" movements! All modern tango movement can be found, or its roots found, in the dance of years past. So perhaps nuevo is actually quite traditional and perhaps it is insulting to those who dance "modern tango" to be told that they are not dancing with respect for the traditions of tango.

The nuevo style must have _some_ difference, or we wouldn't be able to
call it a distinct style. If it contains no new movements, then the
difference would seem (in my observation) to be in the dancers'
alignment relative to their partners' chests. Does anyone actually want
to _discuss_ this?

> Finally, I'll mention the lead. A good modern tango dancer nearly always leads with his chest, his core and his heart. If my partner is to my side, I still lead with my heart and my core. I don't ever shove her with my arms. The arms are merely the extension of my core and provide the instantaneous connection between my heart and hers. Yes, I do use my arms, my wrists, my fingers, but the lead is from my core. The rest just adds nuance. Again, it is both insulting and inaccurate to say that modern tango, when danced well, is not led with the heart and the chest.

You cannot lead an underarm turn without using your arms. (Surely that
is obvious?) The motion and the intent still comes from the chest, but
to claim that that's what "chest leading" means is to rob the term of
any effective meaning. All leading comes from the chest (and the
"heart", if you insist, but I'm really just talking about the basics)
from one perspective. But in some dances, the arms play a greater role
than others. It's simple fact. To guide your partner to move to your
side (relative to your chest) and back in front can't be done just with
the chest.

How this observation can be considered to be insulting, is what baffles
me. I say "here is a difference I can see". And in response, I get
people saying I'm being insulting.

What insult?

Why is perceived _difference_ an insult?

Myk
in Canberra











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