[Tango-L] Beginners and milongas

Carol Shepherd arborlaw at comcast.net
Thu Feb 14 12:40:05 EST 2008

I concur.  There is no social dance that penalizes beginners and 
inhibits them from advancing, as much as argentine tango.  I have 
noticed that advanced students do not reach out much to dance with 
beginners, at the main practica they are dancing with each other.  I can 
sympathize, I like to mostly dance with my favorites too.

Unfortunately the tanda system artificially builds in a penalty against 
spreading skilled experience around a group (and hence obstructs the 
advancement of beginners).  A restriction against changing partners 
places a premium on partner skill in choice of partner, and therefore a 
strong disinclination to dance with beginners.  It's a 10-15 minute 
commitment.  In other social dances, like swing and salsa, it's easy for 
better dancers to have a dance or two each night with less skilled partners.

If there is a lead who is sitting back on his heels and pulling me into 
his dance space and his feet, I'm going to avoid that like the plague. 
I would be far more willing to dance one dance. By three or four, my 
back will be aching from trying to control my axis and have appropriate 
space in which to dance.  And I'm no perfect follow, I have my issues 
too.  People are going to follow their enjoyment and dance with whom 
they prefer anyway.  But this stamps out all inclinations to altruism.

I really think practicas need to have some significant period of time 
set aside for non-tanda dancing to single songs, to promote the 
advancement of beginners.

I know, heresy.  It's too bad.  Hundreds of people up and quit tango 
every year because they don't get enough experience outside of class to 
properly advance.

Keith wrote:
> Ah Mash,
> You've discovered one of Tango's dirty little secrets - the Tango snob. Yes, my friend, 
> they exist everywhere. You're lucky that you live in London and I expect you have lots 
> of milongas to choose from. You just have to find those that are friendly and welcoming 
> to newcomers of whatever level. But even when you find such a place, don't take it for 
> granted that you'll always be welcome. I run a very informal, friendly milonga, the girls 
> are great and they'll dance with just about any newcomer. But if your level is low but 
> you think it's OK and you show no interest in improving, you'll quickly wear out your 
> welcome. But from what you've already written, it's clear that this doesn't apply to you.
> As for the "elite club" places - just give them a miss for now. 
> Keith, HK
>  On Thu Feb 14 18:45 , ""Mash"  sent:
>> Is the Milonga of today different from what it was originally, is this "elite club" feeling something new?
>> 'Mash
>> London,UK
> _______________________________________________
> Tango-L mailing list
> Tango-L at mit.edu
> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/tango-l

Carol Ruth Shepherd
Arborlaw PLC
Ann Arbor MI USA
734 668 4646 v  734 786 1241 f

opinion letters • e-commerce • employment law • outsourcing

More information about the Tango-L mailing list