Sydneytango milongas
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Re: Making newcomers feel welcome
Aw, Bresque, don't go away. Enjoy your sense of humour. Leche, oxymoron exists in tango - didn't one famous tanguero say "to be fast you have to be slow..."?



Re: Making newcomers feel welcome
Aw, Bresque, don't go away. Enjoy your sense of humour. Leche, oxymoron exists in tango - didn't one famous tanguero say "to be fast you have to be slow..."?



Re: Making newcomers feel welcome

Originally posted by HiLo

Aw, Bresque, don't go away. Enjoy your sense of humour. Leche, oxymoron exists in tango - didn't one famous tanguero say "to be fast you have to be slow..."?

Originally posted by Bresque

um, maybe its time to start a new thread before all the newcomers get scared off ...


I agree with HiLo, bring on the humour...and we are in 'Contraversy Corner'  after all. I suppose some of that fire and passion from Tango is bound to spill out into the discussion. Strong opinions (or 'opinionated observations  for some) are part of the culture are they not? Not afraid of oxymorons either...

Platy's last response actually made me laugh, and I spent the evening watching the two dancers he mentioned on youtube. No punch ups though...

I also spent time reading some of the other forum discussions and one of the blogs June posted to William. 

My philosophy is, that even a bad teacher can teach you something. Which is not to say that anyone here is a bad teacher, but that we can draw something positive and learn from any situation or person. Without this thinking, I would have given up on Tango some time ago...

Leche X





Re: Making newcomers feel welcome
Hi
 
I re-read this thread and noticed many different topics have been discussed...  yet only probably couple of 'true' beginners actually made the post?
What concerns me about 'forum' is that we debate matters with so much assumptions...
 
Leche's second posting on 17th JAN commented on some details: ' For example a novice/beginner dancer may experience being taken off her axis, being instructed harshly, pushing and pulling, unnecessary negative comments, anger, looking like they’re having a tooth pulled whilst they’re dancing with you or just not being asked to dance at all.  The novice guys also report being told by women that they only dance with experienced dancers (everyone one looks experienced to a novice). '

I could break up what Leche observed into 3-4 different issues and analise where they come from etc. 
But even if I can point to why these things happen and who is not reasonable and who is reasonable... I suspect that without BASIC knowledge of Tango as a social dancing... it will be difficult for a beginner to understand my points. 
 
So... I shall take a big risk and I now explain things from Bottom up - as it seems no one wants to do so.
Just as Leche said... better trying than not trying...
 
-------
DISCLAIMER
What I write here is my current knowledge/view which is absolutely limited by my 6 years and 10 month dancing history.
So, any beginners who read this... please do not trust my notes. Take is as a reference only.
I hope others add or correct my points.
 
1) Tango is not a single God dance... 
 
Some may tell you Tango was born in Uruguay and not in Argentina but it ui undoubtedly clear Argentine Tango grew in Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires is the City where Tango evolved.
But it is completely different sort of dancing compared to Ball Room dancing which, as far as I understand, evolved a lot though competitions.
Tango never has been a 'spots'. 
 
Countless number of nameless dancers experimented and expanded the dancing over its 100 years plus long history... 
While always there is a voice that says "This is the way one should dance Tango...",  in reality, Tango never had a singular measurement. 
Someone well said that Tango is 'polymorphic' by its nature.  
So, if anyone try to tell you a 'theory of Tango' that is a contradiction in term.
Tango is more like a language than a mathematics. 
It is something which has been built by all sorts of people from all sorts of back ground...
 
So... how does this effect your experience of dancing while you are a beginner?
It's simple...  'This will confuse you.' - that is if you try to work it out like a mathematics.
 
All sort of people who appears experienced but actually not so experienced tell you something as if he or she is an expert! (JUST LIKE ME!)
At the same time those who knows that she or he does not know the complete picture of it often fall silent and just do not give obvious advises to a beginner.
So....  Confusion, false confidence, ignorance and silence are very common in Sydney Tango community. 
Thus, some try to teach what they do not know and others ignores you when you need help.
 
 
2) Tango as a dance can not be fully understood without understanding the culture, music, words(Lyrics), history of where it come from.
 
But I do not mean... 'there is a dance called Tango and to understand it one needs to understand its back ground which are culture, words, history etc...'
It is more like this....
Tango dancing is a part of the culture, music, words and history....   so you really can not understand Tango (dancing) in its own.
 
If you come from a country which has many local and traditional festivals... you may understand this...
If a dance is danced or music is played at a festival... it's part of the festival.  Of course, it can be recorded as an independent art... 
But it is part of traditional festival and often all parts of festival are 'connected' by the meaning of the festival itself...  
 
In the case of Tango, in my view (Current view)... Tango (Dancing) evolved as a medium that helped shaping of communities in Buenos Aires. 
So still today, authentic local milongas are all about people and community...  And THAT is why we call Milonga a 'social dancing'.
 
As time change, society and community have changed... So, today's Buenos Aires is clearly a different Buenos Aires of 1940s... 
That probably means that Tango's role as a socialising tool also has changed with the time.
But, when Jorge Despari said "Tango should unite people and should not divide people", in my view, this was not just a symbolical warm feeling statement... He was simply stating why people danced and still dance Tango in Buenos Aires.  In extreme way, I could 'almost' say... TO UNITE people and TO KEEP community together and well They DANCE TANGO. 
 
So... how does this effect your experience of dancing while you are a beginner?
Unless you do your own substantial home work, even after taking dance classes for a year, you are still completely missing the core meaning of Tango.
And this means you can not understand what happens at a milonga in good context.
 
In reality, so called experienced dancers are, in various degrees, just experienced in physical Dancing only. 
Sydney is still learning Tango's deeper purposes...  that include our teachers who used to divide the very community they created.
Beginners are taught about physical side of dancing but not enough about the rest...  Consequence is that a beginner will visit a milonga with inadequate understanding how a milonga operate and why.   
 
 
3) Sydney is not Buenos Aires
 
Sydney's Tango scene has been built by Tango business.  Milongas are mainly attached to a set of teachers and run by them.
And Milongas are often placed straight after a class to entice new dancers to 'taste' dancing beyond practicing...
Meeting people, wearing nice dress and shoes, candle lights on tables... in now a days, Sydney milongas are more like night club lounge.
And some of this 'atmosphere' is nothing to do with what Milonga is essensially about... yet if that appeals to local dancer, that means more attendance and business.
Teachers encourage beginners to 'stay and dance'...  What it really means is that 'Try it first then learn about complicated part later'...
But as far as I can see, many begiiners move into so called SYDNEY's intermediate levels without receiving good introduction to Tango as a social dancing.
 
It is rather recent development that some of the Buenos Aires Milonga manners started getting implemented in our local Milongas more seriously. 
(Some teachers deserve credits on this.)
Chatting briefly at the beginning of each song and Cabeceo...  both Sydney started doing them commonly for the last two years or so.
Therefore, in one way, we can say that Sydney Tango social dancing is still at a very early stage of long long journey to reach Buenos Aires level.
 
But unfortunately, it is a bit more confusing than this.
 
At the end, Sydney is not Buenos Aires.
People are different.
Community is different.
 
Therefore, I suspect some of the difference that exist between Buenos Aires and Sydney Milongas are not just Sydney is ignorant but because Sydney has its own socializing taste of its own.  
I guess Sydney is far more open with gender politics.  Female leading or Male following are commonly done here. 
Jorge was against people turning up to a milonga in jeans but in Sydney no one really cares much about this.  Sydney definitely has much more casual dress code.
And of course, Sydney is more relaxed about ladies asking gentlemen to dance. 
 
So... how does this effect your experience of dancing while you are a beginner?
I guess it is difficult because Sydney rules are messy. 
Some prefer to have milongas in Buenos Aires way and some wants Sydney way...  And many so called experienced dancers do not know .
In micro level the beginners are beginners while in macro level... Sydney itself is a beginner... 
And this is why when a new dancer realises Sydney is too confusing, they travel to Buenos Aires and find out Buenos Aires standard.
Problem is this though...  people who have danced less that two years highly likely will not enjoy full advantage of Buenos Aires Tango - especially at the traditional scene.
I waited for 5 years... and still I found myself at the bottom end when I danced there.
Of course, any one can go there to just observe.
 
------------------------------
All sounds too complicated?
And typically in Sydney, when things appear 'complicated' people would say 'What the hell, let's just do it and then find out'
That's all fine.
But... 
Here are my requests...
 
TO So called beginners
 
> If you do not want to do home work and unhappy about others not looking after you or mistreating you... please remember... those who are not treating you well did not do their home work either.
In another words...  Please try learn about Tango beyond classes.  At the end, so called experienced dancers pay same amount of money as you do or more to dance at a milonga.  in harsh way, I shall say this in B&W way...  the money you pay do not include experienced dancers to take care of you.  The money only pay for the floor, music, tables/chairs and some drinks etc... but not Taxi dancers.  So, if you are encouraged to dance at Milonga then get nothing out from it and if you find yourself far too ill equipped... walk up to your teacher who encourage you in the first place and ask for a help. 
 
TO the teachers
 
> If you openly encourage your beginners to dance in a Milonga, please try to give them a good and complete introduction to Tango beyond basic 8 step physical dancing.
And if beginners really start to suffer on dance floor, in Tanda break or some other time, at least explain why they are suffering. 
I am against dancers practice at Milonga.
But teachers own and manage their Milonga.  So, I want to see them take responsibility of their beginners.
(Well...  'some' teachers do. But not all.)
 
But it would be much better if each school make a 5 pages guide to Tango which explain its history and how it is socially danced in Buenos Aires... and may be some simple introduction of line of dance, cabeceo etc...  Can be very brief small notes... just as a starter...  Teachers can hand this out to beginners who they want to encourage to dance in milonga for the first time. 
 
 
TO Experienced Dancers
 
> I see some men try to teach beginner ladies on Milonga dance floor.  STOP this.  It's ugly. 
Yes, it is frustrating to dance with followers who can not do simple things well.
But RESIST the temptation of teaching on Social dance floor.
So what can we do when we come across followers who is suffering and becoming confused on social dance floor?
Find out which teacher teaches this beginner and walk up to that teacher and explain your feeling and suggest the teacher to help.
 
> If a beginner couples are dancing on Milonga floor and look completely ignorant of what is happening there... Experienced dancer may should join their table and have a chat about own experience of dancing in Buenos Aires etc...  without 'teaching' what wrong they are doing or how ignorant they are... just tell good stories and details...  They won't understand it immediately... but that will give them a seed... 
 
I still remember...  It was about 3 months into my social dancing Yoshi had a chat with me at a table...  and he told me about the magical moments he saw at almost every milongas in Buenosa Aires... He told me how people starts to dance together - without really consciously trying...  He told me about open air public milonga... when people started dancing... magically they moved together as if they were playing the music together...    He probably told this to me as I was way out of synch with rest of the dancer because of serious inexperience.  But he put the story as something that may intrigue my interest instead of 'teaching' me.   Anyway, I began watching Milonga floor and dancing as a group...  Only one Milonga at that time had this quality and happened only once that night...  What I discovered that night is still a corner stone of my Tango knowledge...  and much later when I visited Buenos Aires, it was all in front my eyes.  
 




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