[Tango-L] Beginners and milongas

Victor Bennetts Victor_Bennetts at infosys.com
Thu Feb 14 18:43:47 EST 2008

In BsAs the unwritten rule (at least in the city centre milongas) seems to be that until you are competent (say have had about a year or two of dancing) and have mastered the basics you don't set foot in a Milonga but keep to the practicas. This was the attitude of locals that I spoke to, that you needed to be pretty competent to set foot in milongas, particularly ones like El Beso and Cachirulo. However I don't think that sort of rule applies anywhere else in the world. There just isn't the critical mass in tango to permit such snobbery to last for long although you do see it from time to time. Also everyone accepts that social dancing is critical to beginner progression and most teachers worth the name go out of their way to encourage their students to get out and social dance.

If beginner leaders stick to what they know well there is no reason they cant have a great dance and you  see plenty of intermediate and so called advanced leaders who are terrible so as long as you have, good posture, a nice embrace and walk and some musicality you are going to make most followers happy (not to mention surprised ;-)). An advanced follower is going to take the basic walking framework and put their own interpretation onto it in the context of the lead anyway. I don't think beginner leaders should worry too much about the snobs including those who will tell you in a loud voice what is wrong with your dance and try and instruct you on the floor. The reality of tango is that serious leaders are a precious commodity and in a short space of time if the beginner leader just keeps working on basics and develops those to a reasonable level suddenly every wants to dance with them. And the beginner leader will have decades of his best dancing to look forward to :-).

Victor Bennetts

> are beginner dancers not actually welcome at Milongas?

>Is there some unspoken rule that a beginner should go off and reach a level before visiting a Milonga. Is this what was >done in the past or was the milonga orginially more a social gathering where the young and old would just come together >informally and dance/learn no matter what the skill level?


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