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If Tangueros where like Greek Drivers

Aristotelis Grammatikakis
Melinda Bates
Matej Oresic

Date:    Tue, 23 Mar 1999 20:16:12 -0500
From:    Aristotelis Grammatikakis
Subject: If Tangueros where like Greek Drivers

Something I came up while having too much free time and too much tango. What if tangueros lead like cab drivers drive in Athens?

The would dance at three times the speed of a Milonga, turn at the same speed and navigate by slaloming around other couples. The line of the dance doesn't matter neither does its direction. If it happens that they almost missed hitting another couple, they would extend one of their hands with their open fingers in the greek traditional "moutza", throw it at them angrily and give off a couple of swears in creative greek or turkish. If they bumped into the couple they would stop dancing, curse at them for being in the way then continue dancing. If the other tanguero cursed back, they would leave their partner, go beat up the offending tanguero then go back dancing while still cursing at them. While dancing they would go by the people sitting on the chairs and ask them if they want to dance, although they are at present having three other followers.
As for the tanguero, he would have one hand loose holding a cigarette that comes and goes from his mouth often, the other hand relaxed and firm up to the point of getting angry with the other couple that just happend to be in the way. He would turn and face his partner often and discuss the recent political and economical crisis while she is wondering if he paying any attention to the dancefloor, especially after the last two couples that are now left gazing at the ceiling flat on the floor. His costume is a simple blue jean with a white open-chested shirt. Lots of little crosses, beads, Virgin Marys, evil eye medallions, football team initials, political party keychains and other incomprehensible thingies are hanging from all around. He has also brought a tape of heavy duty "dog-house" style popular songs that is planning to replace the Pugliese with in his next pass next to the music system. If the music stops, he will start yelling and complaining for the couple in the front that doesn't move. That is if he does stop. And if the leader is a woman, she will patiently listen to the discussion of being a woman leader for the one thousandth time. At the end of the dance he will try to convince his partner that she really did dance those three tango and one milonga.

But seriously they are nice fellows and always offer some excitement in a dull hot Athens day.
But I wouldn't know, I am fortunately not from Athens.


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Date:    Wed, 31 Mar 1999 22:19:40 -0500
From:    Melinda Bates
Subject: Re: If Tangueros where like Greek Drivers

I don't know about Greek drivers, as I have yet to visit there.  But if
tangueros danced like drivers in Rome, when they catch your eye as you
maneuver yourself and your partner around in a slightly distant space, not
in their line of dance, they will lock eyes with you and dance directly AT
you, speeding up as they get closer, causing you to jump out of the way or
risk the loss of life or limb.... it is QUITE an experience!

Unfortunately, as a follower, I have experienced "dancing" almost exactly
like what Aristotelis described.  Rough and careless leads, talking through
the music...When I started dancing, with swing and lindy, I thought that
courtesy required me to finish any dance I started with someone, no matter
how awful.  Now I think my first responsibility is to my own safety, and if
someone is rough or careless I will just say "sorry, I prefer to sit the
rest of this out".

Luckily that does not happen often in tango, but there is a local dancer who
scares the daylights out of me, with dips and spins and other non-tango
moves and badly placed ganchos.... The last time he asked me to dance I just
said (politely) "no thank you".  The women around me were shocked.   In
America no one just says "no" without an explanation.  Why is that?  (I am
American.)  Are women obliged to dance just because someone asks them?  Are
men?  My favorite teacher loves teaching but hates to go to milongas because
the women always ask him to dance, and he hates it.  The women who ask him,
and don't know him well, are offended when he says no.  (The rest of us know

I have been talking about this behavior at milongas with an Argentine friend
who has quite strong opinions on the subject.  Perhaps the tango-L has
already addressed this, and I just am late to the discussion.  But I am
curious what other leaders and followers think.

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Date:    Thu, 1 Apr 1999 01:46:55 -0500
From:    Matej Oresic
Subject: Re: If Tangueros where like Greek Drivers

Well, try to experience driving in Buenos Aires ...

One can also look at the "problem" from the different point of view.
Driving in Ithaca/NY  makes me mad because people are so excessively pleasant
and at the same time slow. When the green light turns on, it takes another
minute for the guy ahead of me to figure out the change. The whole traffic moves
like in slow motion, eventhough there is really no reason for this to happen,
and it feels like people do not really wish to move. What I am missing is the
momentum, the desire to move, like one can experience when driving in most of

I am telling this because in tango there is the same problem. One needs to have
a desire to move. Tango needs the momentum, because the "drive" is in the music.

Personaly, I think it is a lot easier to discipline the "careless driver" (in
tango) and make him a great dancer than get somebody to move who is afread of
doing it.

Once I had a great tango student who got his first speeding ticket soon after
starting to learn tango... Of course, this is nothing to be proud of, and
definitely with experience one becomes a "smart driver", but the point is
without getting this desire to move out one cannot do the tango.


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Garrit Fleischmann Apr. 99
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