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December 08, 2007

What it's like to dance tango with an Argentine man

Tina, in her blog Things to consider - siguiendo mi corazon, talks about what she is learning about tango while she is in Buenos Aires. She starts by talking about the differences between tourist tango dancers and the native ones. And that tango dancers in Buenos Aires are not all professional dancers like the teachers we meet here in the U.S.; they are "regular people with families, jobs, normal lives, who just like to go out dancing."

Then she hits on the point-of-view of the native milonga-goer of Buenos Aires

The rest of the porteños in the milongas are people who don’t always have the extra money to pay for private lessons every week. Or perhaps they don’t feel the need because technique isn’t necessarily their main goal. A lot of times they are people who learn in the milongas and have a deep “something” inside for Tango that is hard for us to understand consciously … they are what we call milongueros.

Sure, some of them do want to challenge themselves and sign up for lessons here and there, but what I witnessed when I was in Buenos Aires and took a class with Geraldine Rojas and her husband Ezequiel, was that most of the students were foreigners. I found out that they really don’t get a lot of locals.

Next time you are lucky enough to have a lesson with one of the Tango greats down there, try to be sensitive and remember that not everybody in Buenos Aires is able spend their money on lessons with expensive teachers.

And then, here's the good part:

Why do I have a preference for dancing with the men of Buenos Aires? It’s not because they know fancy steps that they learned from a well-known teacher, and it’s not because they lead perfect turns. It’s because they dance WITH ME. They’re not dancing with me to see how well I follow, to test me, to show off, to see if I’m good enough - they are dancing with me to dance with me. They find me, they find where I am in the music, they somehow magically understand where my center of gravity is and take good care of me on the dance floor. This, my friends, does NOT come from countless private lessons with (insert hot shot teacher here). In my opinion, it comes from something else.

Posted by joegrohens at December 8, 2007 11:57 AM