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Women waiting and wanting to dance

Frank Sasson
Chris Humphrey
Erica Sutton
Annette Bickford
Melinda Bates
Manuel Patino
Jon y Judy
Sergio
Arthur
Nitin Kibe
David Feldman
Diane Tober
Frank Sasson
MeriBeth Clark
Deborah Holm - Two quotes for wall flowers
Frank Sasson - Women waiting and wanting to dance
Sasha - single women vs. women with partners
Stephen P Brown - Women waiting and wanting to dance
Michel Liger
MeriBeth Clark
Sergio
Manuel
Larry Carroll
Eugenia Spitkovsky
Mirella Massetti
Dave Schmitz
Manuel
Linda Valentino
Russell Bauer
Alan Hu


Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 07:32:35 EDT
From:    Frank Sasson
Subject: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Hello tangueras of the world:

A lady friend of mine complained to me that she arrived at milongas with her
boyfriend, danced with him a couple of times and then sent him off to dance
with other women, so that other men could ask her to dance.

She is an attractive, advanced tanguera, a very good follower, but she's not
24, tall and gorgeous, and while her boyfriend danced away with many other
ladies, she sat and nobody asked her to dance.

This is not a new problem, but it is a problem that requires a solution,
because as tango gets bigger in the United States, we're going to have more
women than men joining in, and even though as a tanguero, I like the fact
that I can have my choice of magnificent dancers when I go to a milonga, and
I try and dance with as many as I can in one night, I have been guilty of not
dancing with a lady that came in with a male tanguero, when I saw her sitting
alone, using the respectful protocol of not interfering with a lady who
happens to be with another man.

Can you ladies offer some suggestions as to how to solve this problem?

We inquiring male tangueros would like to know.

Frank Sasson
top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 08:48:12 -0500
From:    Chris Humphrey
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Frank Sasson wrote:

  .....I have been guilty of not
  dancing with a lady that came in with a male
tanguero, when I saw her sitting
  alone, using the respectful protocol of not
interfering with a lady who
  happens to be with another man.

  Can you ladies offer some suggestions as to how
to solve this problem?



The answer seems very simple to me.  Ask her to
dance.   If she prefers to
dance only with her escort, she can politely say
no thank you.


Chris Humphrey
top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 07:19:10 PDT
From:    Erica Sutton
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Chris, Frank -

Chris wrote:
>The answer seems very simple to me.  Ask her to dance.
>If she prefers todance only with her escort, she can politely say
>no thank you.

I second that emotion!

If I send my date out to dance with other ladies, I am hoping that other men
will come and ask me to dance.  My date is often even so kind as to wander
off and let other men ask me to dance - even if he is simply wanting to
watch the dancers for a bit and not dance himself.

It is frustrating to end up just sitting alone - no conversation, no dance!

(This experience relates to N. American milongas only.)

Erica
Chicago
top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 14:55:11 -0400
From:    Annette Bickford
Subject: women waiting and wanting to dance

    In response to Frank's question, it seems to me that these women could
simply make eye contact with men they wish to dance with. This would imply
that the man she is with is comfortable with her dancing with others, and
vice versa. The point is that the responsibility to negotiate this would be
taken by THE COUPLE beforehand.
    It is ludicrous that individuals be required to sit out in the name of
the chivalric code when they really would love to be dancing...For heaven's
sake, how chivalrous is it, or historically accurate for that matter for
women to pay to get in? When you think about it, traditions that we now
consider to be timeless were actually "newfangled" once. Surely slight
modifications to these traditions, which happen endlessly and often
unnoticeably anyway, do not necessarily disrupt the historical integrity of
the dance (perhaps only our definitions of it) while importantly, they
address the needs of participants.

Nonnie B.
top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 21:50:17 -0400
From:    Melinda Bates
Subject: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Frank, thanks for raising this conundrum again.  It may be an old topic, but
since the problem continues, it's worth continuing to look for solutions.

I have always found it amusing that tango dancers, who consider themselves
the most sophisticated in the dance world, the ones who have chosen (or been
chosen by) the most difficult, intricate, intellectual, passionate dance of
all, are as bound by pecking order as any 5th grade clique.  If men were
REALLY secure about their dance ablilty, they would not feel threatened by
the possibility of dancing with a lady not at their level (or not
sufficiently gorgeous and young).

In the ballroom and country western dance worlds (you know, the folks we all
look down our noses at...) it is the BEST men dancers who take turns dancing
with every lady, and who will nudge and remind any other man who forgets his
responsibility.  Yet somehow they all seem to have a great time and enjoy
the dancing and the social aspect of the evening.  We have heard here before
>from tangueros who protest the evening is for THEIR enjoyment, and why
should they feel obliged to dance with ladies who are not their favorites.
Fair enough.  But if that is really the kind of dancing people want, they
can get it by staying home and rolling up the living room rug.  Dancing,
even souldful, passionate Argentine tango, is a social experience.  There is
a community.  Communities may thrive or wither.  It's in our hands.

Many happy tangos to you all,

Melinda
top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 23:13:38 -0400
From:    Manuel Patino
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


----- Original Message -----
From: Melinda Bates

Snip

> I have always found it amusing that tango dancers, who consider themselves
> the most sophisticated in the dance world, the ones who have chosen (or
> been chosen by) the most difficult, intricate, intellectual, passionate
> dance of all, are as bound by pecking order as any 5th grade clique.

Actually, tango is very cliquish(?) this is one of the first things that
people notice when they go to Buenos Aires or even other large American (and
perhaps European?) cities. There has been a lot of discussion about how
difficult it can be to break into the tango scene in BsAs, even requiring
the use of "rented milongueros" for visiting ladies to dance with. Or making
other financial or otherwise arrangements to buy into the *scene*.

> If men were
> REALLY secure about their dance ablilty, they would not feel threatened by
> the possibility of dancing with a lady not at their level (or not
> sufficiently gorgeous and young).

Based on the prevailing tango culture imported directly from Mecca, it is
not about men (or women) feeling secure or insecure in their dance. The code
dictates that if one is seen dancing poorly, one does not get to dance much
at all. It is a well known fact in Bs As that if a man asks a woman to dance
and she can't dance, he looks bad and it is the kiss of death as far as
getting dances with the "good" (read popular) dancers. Same goes for the
women.

> In the ballroom and country western dance worlds (you know, the folks
> we all look down our noses at...) it is the BEST men dancers who take
> turns dancing with every lady, and who will nudge and remind any other
> man who forgets his responsibility.  Yet somehow they all seem to have
> a great time and enjoy the dancing and the social aspect of the evening.

Yes, we do look down our noses to ballroom dancers and others too ;-). After
all aren't we the only *cool* ones? Isn't tango the only truly fine and
excellent dance? Well, all kidding aside, tango is very different and
exclusive. One can find similar situations in the Salsa clubs and in some of
the swing dance scenes. The best dancers always seem to mostly want to dance
with the other *best* dancers. Sure, some guys will go after the young and
beautiful women, but if these *babes* can't dance, all their looks will not
get them too many dances. It really is all about dancing with those who
dance well.

> We have heard here before
> from tangueros who protest the evening is for THEIR enjoyment, and why
> should they feel obliged to dance with ladies who are not their favorites.
> Fair enough.  But if that is really the kind of dancing people want, they
> can get it by staying home and rolling up the living room rug.  Dancing,
> even souldful, passionate Argentine tango, is a social experience.
> There is a community.  Communities may thrive or wither.  It's in our hands.

Sure tango is a social experience but it certainly is not an
*indiscriminate* experience. Soulfulness and passion are not automatically
available from just any partner. Anyway, Frank's question was more about how
ladies who come to milongas with escorts can indicate they are available and
willing to dance with other partners. I've watched Frank dance and circulate
in milongas and he does a wonderful job of dancing with many ladies. I'm
sure the ladies enjoy his dancing and his manners too. I think Frank was
asking the question for some others who do not have his ease with asking the
women to dance. He is right, sometimes it is difficult to know if one may
ask a certain woman to dance without risking either rejection or offending
her escort.
I say, in the USA it is probably safe to assume she can be asked to dance if
she is sitting alone while her escort is out dancing with other ladies
himself. As for the other ladies who sit through the evening without getting
asked to dance, that is another problem and requires a whole thread of
discussion by itself. IMHO, I think that women who dance well will generally
get to dance a lot. Ditto for men, the best solution would seem to be to
practice a lot and attend classes where you meet others who'll know you, ask
you to dance and show you off so others will want to dance with you.

Que no planchen en las milongas!

Manuel

top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 20:23:42 MST
From:    Judy Margolis
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Melinda

You raise an interesting point.  Personally, as a male dancer, I am more
insecure about dancing with a woman above my skill level.  I'm never quite
sure if the dance goes well because of my ability to lead and interpret the
music or her ability to make good any of my errors.  I am far more
comfortable dancing with women of my skill level or a little below.  And
dancing with beginners becomes an exercise in control and discipline which,
I think, makes me a better dancer.  I try for some kind of balance
throughout any given evening, dancing with women of all levels.


Jon y Judy
top of page
Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 23:47:40 -0400
From:    SERGIO
Subject: Women waiting and waiting to dance


Men can benefit, IMO, by dancing with beginners because it takes a lot of
skill to adjust to a beginners way of dancing.
This exercise will increase the man's sensibility, improvisational skill and
most of all his lead.
There will be ladies that will not cross, so you devise an entire tango
where there is no need for her to cross.
 Generally speaking you will have to get the feeling of what she is able to
follow ( a real challenge) then make sure that you do not lead anything she
is unable to do. Since she does not readily follow your lead then you
develop your skills as a leader. If you are the great dancer you think you
are, the lady will finish her tango with a feeling of accomplishment and
happiness. She will be grateful and become your admirer.
Having said this, I think that the best way to find one or more partners as
you are learning is at the lessons and practicas.
It is important that the instructor encourages changing partners as he
teaches.
Finally men should make a conscious effort to dance with several beginners
at every milonga.

As Manuel said, Chicas espero que no planchen. An expression of meaning
difficult to translate. ( girls I hope you do not sit all night long ironing
your dress with your butt). :)
top of page
Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 00:00:19 +1000
From:    A & AB Athanassiou
Subject: Women wanting to dance & Women more experienced.

Jon wrote.

>You raise an interesting point.  Personally, as a male dancer, I am more
>insecure about dancing with a woman above my skill level.

Absolutely correct.  But consider this from the woman's perspective, she
may only get to dance with one or two dancers who are confident with her
and thus will not be able to enjoy the more social side of Tango.  If I
dance with a woman whom I consider to be at a higher level, then I pace
myself at what I can do well - and no more.  If she is uncomfortable with
this she will soon let you know and thank you for the one dance you had
together.  I remember at a workshop last year an excellent Tango instructor
commented that he would rather see simple steps done really beautifully,
than fancy stuff done badly.

>I am far more comfortable dancing with women of my skill level or a little
>below.

Aren't we all - but then how do we grow.?

>And dancing with beginners becomes an exercise in control and discipline
>which,
>I think, makes me a better dancer.

I think it does too.  And think of the investment in their future as well.

Arthur
Brisbane
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 10:35:34 -0400
From:    Nitin Kibe
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Assuming that the woman is interested (eye contact, etc etc), is it not more
polite to approach her as part of a couple and ask the man for permission to
dance with her rather than wait for the man to be absent  or, worse, not
acknowledge his presence at all?

Good wishes.

Nitin Kibe
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 09:34:08 -0700
From:    David Feldman
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Once upon a time society considered women a man's property.  This was
acknowledged in law and in social mores.  Asking the man's permission to
ask his partner to dance seems pretty reminiscent of this way of thinking.
It might make the man feel like you had payed him due respect, but would
the woman feel that way I wonder?

But I agree that waiting for him to go away or simply ignoring him are
both a bit "sneaky" or dishonest.  What's a fella to do?  I don't know,
but here's one thing that comes to my mind.  How about addressing the two
of them as a couple.  Greet them both and say something like ... "you guys
look like you're busy with each other, but when you're not could I ask
you (addressing the woman) for a dance?".  What do you think?  Like I say
I'm not really sure how to handle the situation, this is just an idea.

David Feldman
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 11:05:20 -0700
From:    diane m tober
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


In regard to the current discussion re: women waiting to dance:  I think--at
least in the United States--that it is perfectly acceptable to approach a
woman if she is sitting alone, regardless of whether or not she comes in
with a partner.  Often, when couples go out together the man might go off to
dance with other women, and the woman sits around waiting for someone to
approach her.  This has happened to me numerous times with my partner, where
I resented the fact that he was dancing almost every dance while I spent
time sitting (especially considering that there are usually more women than
men at Milongas).  In this country (US) there is a solution to this--get up
and ask men to dance. It works almost every time.

However, in regard to David's suggestion that one approach the couple,
interrupt their conversation, and express his desire to dance with the
woman:  I don't think this is a good tactic.  If a couple is
sitting/standing together and talking, they could be about to go on the
dance floor, or they could just be enjoying each others' company at the
moment.   There have been numerous times when my partner and I have been
interrupted by others, asking one or the other of us to dance. Sometimes, if
a woman is asking my partner to dance, they may turn to me and ask me first
which is thoughtful, but awkward as their is only one proper response--"of
course not, go right ahead"--regardless of whether or not he and I were
getting ready to dance.  Usually, when he and I are sitting/standing and
talking we are waiting for a good song to dance together, and end up feeling
obligated to dance with the person who just interrupted us.  This can be an
awkward situation.

My suggestion--for men and women--is this:  you certainly want the person's
partner to feel that you acknowledge and respect their relationship.  You
can do this by simply greeting them when you see them at a milonga, but not
when they seemed engaged in a  private conversation or like they might be
waiting to take to the dance floor.  When the partner you wish to dance with
is alone, approach them and ask them to dance.  I try to make it a rule for
myself never to interrupt others when they are talking.  If their is a man I
want to dance with who is chatting with others, I try to make eye contact w/
a slight raised eyebrow, or head nod toward the dance floor.  This has
always been well-received because it is minimally intrusive, and the man may
then excuse himself if he wishes to dance or may ignore me if he really
wants to continue his conversation (which hasn't happened yet).

Most importantly, if a person does decline a dance because they are waiting
for the right song to dance with their partner, or even if they are dancing
with you and they excuse themselves because a particular song/composer comes
on that they like to dance with their regular partner, try not to be
offended.  Tango is a dance that inspires emotions and intimacy, some nights
the couple might want to experience that together.

Diana
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:47:18 EDT
From:    Frank Sasson
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


In a message dated 06/13/2000 9:36:59 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
feldman@MATH.UVIC.CA writes:

"Greet them both and say something like ... 'you guys
 look like you're busy with each other, but when you're not could I ask
 you (addressing the woman) for a dance?'.  What do you think?  Like I say
 I'm not really sure how to handle the situation, this is just an idea."

 David Feldman

Hi David:


A very positive idea, what happens if the lady is already alone..... Do you
approach her?

How can she let you know that it is OK to ask her to dance, even though she
came in with her boyfriend?

She has already made "Eye Contact" with you, but you still observe protocol,
because you don't know what their relationship is and if they have agreed to
dance with others.... Now what?

Abrazos Tangueros

Frank Sasson
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 16:39:50 PDT
From:    MeriBeth Clark
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Diane... I defentely agree with what you had to say. For myself as another
alternative besides making eye contact and moving to the floor if it is
acknowledge, is if asking someone to dance in person, I have found as a
women asking a man who has a dance partner with him or is talking to a lady
and having a deep conversation, to wait for a moment or a later time during
the night when their is a break in their conversation and they are looking
around to dance with someone else. Then I would approach the couple and
acknowledge both of them. I them will turn to the ask the man..... "Sometime
tonight I would be delighted if I could get a dance, but it doesn't have to
be right away." To me I am then acknowledging that I understand that they
might not be finished dancing just waiting for another song to come on. But
I make sure to never intrupt the conversation. This way both the couple is
happy and I will get the dance sometime that night. Using this method of
approach I have never felt like I have not upset anyone and I always get my
dance sometime that night. Most of the time I will get it right away, if the
couple is finished dancing.

Meri
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 18:30:48 -0700
From:    Deborah Holm
Subject: Two quotes for wallflowers.


The first quote:

"In my club (late forties and fifties), one side of the dance floor
was called "the capital," the other side was called "the provinces."
The girls from the provinces were on one side, the girls from
the capital were on the other.  We, the milongueros, were in
the centre of the floor.  We observed the following ritual:
the beginner -- for example myself -- had to dance with girl
number 1, then girl number 2, and so on.  The girls from the
provinces were ranked from 1 to 50, the girls from the capital
were ranked from 50 to 100.  The girls from the capital were
prettier; they all went accompanied by their mothers.  The girls
from the provinces went by themselves (they were somehow
unprotected).  But I had to dance with the number 1 first.
The milongueros watched you and would either approve of
you or not.  This was an unwritten law.  This was the university:
I got my Ph.D. as milonguero."

-- Juan Carlos Copes


The second quote:

"To me, el baile represents life, love, death, hate.  It makes my
hair stand on end.  I am a tango dancer who was brought up
with the tango.  It was the time when there were all the clubes
de barrio.  I used to go on both Saturdays and Sundays.
On Thursdays and Fridays we used to go every single time
a baile was held -- not in the Centre, always in the clubs in
the barrios.  A decent girl went to the club just to dance, and
she would dance with a ronoso (meanie) and with a groncho
(swarthy) and with a mummy's boy -- mummy's boys were
hardly ever good dancers.  We would dance with everybody
-- with negros too.  We were swept away by our love for
the tango, we just loved to go dancing.  We didn't go out
looking for sex, none of the girls in our barra (gang) did; we
didn't care what the man looked like.  It was a nice, beautiful,
pure group of girls, interested only in the tango."

-- Maria Nieves



Any comments?

Deborah
B.A. Tango
top of page
Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:41:57 EDT
From:    Frank Sasson
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance



Dear Nitin:

Absolutely, but it has to do more with the woman sitting alone, after she has
sent her boyfriend to dance with other women..... She is making "eye contact"
but the men are not asking her because they are shy, or they are observing
protocol.

Trying to make this a very positive discussion so we can improve and come out
with a possible solution

Abrazos Tangueros

Frank


Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 2000 22:37:54 EDT
From:    Frank Sasson
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Hi Meri:

Your suggestion is valid and has lots of merit.

Since you obviously are well versed in the protocol, imagine having arrived
at a strange milonga, with a male partner, and without knowing anybody, you
send your male partner to dance with other ladies.

How can you, in a very subtle way, indicate to the males at the milonga,
(fewer than the women) that you are available to dance with, even though you
entered the milonga with a partner or boyfriend?

That is the question asked of me, can you give a suggestion?

Abrazos tangueros

Frank Sasson
top of page
Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 00:36:08 PDT
From:    Alexander Vistgof
Subject: single women vs. women with partners


From my experience in Russia, women with whatever the partner - be it
friend, boyfriend, husband, work collegue, etc. have more dances vs. single
women. So, I think single women are more likely to quit than "partnered"
women and has to have more 'attention' in the milonga.
From a male point of view, I often feel when a guy does not like me to
invite her girl - so, I do not do it this time. It does not make a
difference whether the guy is a dancer himself or not.

Cheers,
Sasha
Moscow
top of page
Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 09:04:53 -0500
From:    Stephen P Brown
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


     Frank Sasson wrote:

>[I]magine having arrived at a strange milonga, with a male partner, and
>without knowing anybody, you send your male partner to dance with other
>ladies.

>How can you, in a very subtle way, indicate to the males at the milonga,
>(fewer than the women) that you are available to dance with, even though you
>entered the milonga with a partner or boyfriend?

I think in this case, the visiting woman must establish herself as both a
worthy and willing dance partner.  If she is looking to dance with others, it
is not really too helpful if her male partner either dances with her for most
of the evening or completely abandons her to dance with others.  She can
demonstrate her skill only if is she is seen dancing.  She can demonstrate
her willingness to dance with others only if she does not spend all of her
time with her partner.

Meeting people is also important.  In some cases, the host of the milonga may
be willing to make a few introductions.  Getting the host to make
introductions usually requires the visitors to introduce themselves to the
host.

--Steve de Tejas
top of page
Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 16:40:09 +0200
From:    Michel Liger
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Hi
Here is a European view on this delicate topic.
As a man, I must say that I am shocked by the kind of so-called chivalrous
behaviour by which men would not invite a lady left alone by her escort who
dances with other women. BTW I notice that nobody ever mentioned that a
woman might or might not invite a man when his partner is not with him,
perhaps dancing :-)

Are we so macho and old-fashioned ? I think that if one night a couple
chooses to dance only together it must be respected, it is their choice. But
if the man invites other women to dance, the woman being not his property
has the same right to dance on her own. The time when Penelope was waiting
home for Ulysses is over, is'nt it ?

I have to say that in my tango community, a Mediterranean one, there is the
same difficulty as in the US but perhaps to a lesser extent. When people
know each other, men invite other men's wife or partner quite freely. But
not all of them do this. I have a regular partner, who is not my
girl-friend, and we like to dance a long time together when arriving at a
milonga or practice. When we want next to find other partners it is
difficult for her to be invited or not to wait too long despite she is a
good-looking good dancer !

When I see a woman, left by her partner for a long enough time, I have no
problem in inviting her and my rate of success is the same as with
non-escorted ladies. They are obviously relieved, happy to leave their chair
and not in a hurry to stop our dancing. And no men ever made me the least
reproach ! I would even guess that most were relieved to see their partner
enjoying their time. About men reactions we maybe should differentiate
between those being accompanied by their wife, girl-friend or just dance
partner. Or whether she is a pretty good dancer or unattractive and
unskilled  :-)

Now here are my suggestions to women based on my practice as a man in my
country :
You must dance as soon as possible, by any means, to demonstrate that you do
dance with other men and may be asked to. For that:
Don't stay in long chats with other women (or men who are not likely to
invite you), because it is difficult to interfere, and also a possible "no"
is definitively prefered private than public.
Stay close to the floor, it is easier for a shy or lazzy man to invite you
just as a "passer-by" than after a long slaloming approach through tables
and chairs.
Don't make a detailed study of the floor or ceiling, look at the dancers
with a visible desire, look at people and be ready for an eye contact.
Do show by your physical attitude that you are available for an invitation.
Or do the invitation by yourself.

Other European views ?

Michel

Michel Liger
Aix en Provence, France
top of page
Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 08:56:10 PDT
From:    MeriBeth Clark
Subject: Re: single women vs. women with partners


Hi Sasha... I have one question for you. Say there is a young lady who comes
with a partner (of any kind) and the guy doesn't want her to dance with
anyone else because he might not be a dancer. But the young lady is a dancer
and wants to dance with him and others men. When she then wants to dance
with others... what do you think would happen then? Would the men ask her to
dance? Should they not ask her to dance but have her ask the men to dance or
do you feel she should not dance at all? I hope my question makes sense.

Happy Tangoing,
Meri


Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 09:01:50 PDT
From:    MeriBeth Clark
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Hello Steve,
   I also agree with what you say. If you are new at a Milonga and with a
partner of any kind. I think once a women or man is done dancing with a
partner to maybe not just immediately look for someone to dance with but
walk around and introduce yourself to people from around the community and
meet the hosts. This is another way of not only making new friends but a
great way to get dances. It then shows others that your open to dancing and
to myself making new friends and sharing ideas about Tango, or just sharing
in a great conversation. With this also usually will introduce you to many
others in the community. So you don't always have to go and ask someone to
dance right away. Meet people then dances will come all in time!

Happy Tangoing,
Meri
top of page
Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 12:07:42 -0400
From:    SERGIO
Subject: Women wanting to dance and waiting - The Argentinean view -


I have discussed this subject a few months ago. I will repeat some concepts
in case some readers missed it.
These are cultural elements that could be of interest to the visitor to the
milongas in Buenos Aires.
In Argentina if a woman comes with a man, or she sits with a man at a table
no gentleman will ask her to dance.
Even when she comes alone, but she is known to have a steady partner most
men will not ask her to dance.
For a lady to be invited to dance she should be sitting alone or with other
girls.  She may be invited to dance even when she is sitting with a group of
people of both sexes if she is known not to have a partner.
Ladies that come alone and establish a conversation with a man will not be
invited to dance by other men.
This determines the characteristics of a milonga. Ladies sit by themselves
or with other girls. Men sit alone or with other men. Ladies coming from the
street greet her friends of both sexes with a kiss and a few words, then she
proceeds to sit alone or with other women.
This behavior that could seem to be peculiar to the visitor is entrenched in
the Argentinean culture.
It originates in the fact that Argentinean men consider a lack of respect to
interfere in any way in an on going relationship between a man and a woman.
It is considered unmanly and despicable to do such a thing.
This show of respect in this sense extends to other behaviors, such as not
looking or staring at a woman that is in the company of another man.
To behave in other way would mean  lack of respect for the man escorting a
lady and could originate a verbal or physical fight.
I am sure that you do not understand this but...
...this behavior is so deeply sited in the Argentinean male personality that
in most cases, even after many years of having lived in the USA and Europe,
if  in company of a lady in a romantic relationship  another man comes and
asks her to dance, she agrees and goes dancing with him, the tendency for
the man would be to leave and never dance with her again.
Nobody tampers with the emotions of a macho man!.:):):)

The situation could be entirely different among couples that are friends. In
this situation it would be perfectly proper to exchange partners as everyone
pleases.

As to the other ladies outside Argentina wanting to dance and waiting,
(while in Rome do as Romans do) you stare at me and I will go and ask you to
dance.
I hope I will not have to fight with your partner. Is he a macho man?

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Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 12:26:52 +0100
From:    white95r
Subject: Re: Women waiting and wanting to dance

Michel has some very interesting suggestions. It is interesting to see how
one can look at all these different "messages" that people project. Often
times, the comment is made in these threads about how rude and unwelcome it
is to interrupt people in conversations to ask one of them to dance. This is
obviously true, but it is also true that a "no" under these conditions is
also worse than in private. I wonder how many times a woman (or man) will be
wanting to dance and yet not allow the opportunity by engaging in
conversations?

The position of one's seat or table in relation to the floor is also crucial
to getting invited or inviting someone to dance. I never really thought
about it but I generally will only take the "long slalom" to ask someone I
already know, hardly ever a woman I do not know. for some reason, It is
oddly uncomfortable to do this. Of course, the *best* tables and chairs get
taken first, so it is important to arrive soon enough to get the choicest
seats ;)

Of course, if one appears aloof or unapproachable, people (men) will be more
reluctant to approach and ask for dances. I agree that one must look like
one wants to dance and is interested in the dancing. Very good suggestions
Michel.


Many tangos to all,

Manuel
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Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 17:06:09 -0400
From:    Larry Carroll
Subject: Women waiting and wanting to dance


Lots of good comments on this topic so far. I'd like to expand it to
women waiting regardless of whether or not they came with a partner.

To some extent no matter what a woman is like or what she does she
can't win. Some men will never ask her to dance.

Are you utterly, stunningly gorgeous? "Oh, she can do better than me;
she'll say No." Are you an absolutely terrific dancer? "Oh, I'd
disappoint her; she'll say No." Young as the Spring time? "Oh, she's
just looking for some young stud; ...."

There are some things you should avoid to increase the number of men
who ask you to dance. (Most of them apply to men, too.)

Odor. I'm surprised at the number of women who will come to a dance
straight from a spicy dinner. Or will have a smoke & come back inside
with no attempt to fluff their hair & brush at their dresses. And many
European women have no concept of the importance North American men
put on bathing & deoderant.

Chatting. If you want to be sure to be passed up, sit facing someone
while you talk to them. The considerate men, who you most want to
dance with, will ask someone who's looking out at the dance
floor. This doesn't mean you can't look at your friend, but not
constantly.

Barricades & shadows. Sitting with a table in front of you, against a
wall, or out of the light suggests you're not eager to dance.

Lots of dances with one person. More than about three dances in a row
with one man (outside of Argentina) is a signal that you belong together.
Or at least that you like his dancing so much that other
men would be sure to disappoint.

And the biggest of all: remaining a stranger. It doesn't take much to
break the ice with men. A nod & a smile as you come in is all takes,
or a goodbye when you leave. Ask a question of some kind, make some
innocuous comment. Or do almost anything that includes non-hostile eye
contact. Don't worry if he seems oblivious; a lot of us are slow or
shy despite the brave front we put on.  Don't get angry or hurt. After
you've totally forgotten an apparent snub we may finally get up the
courage to ask you. Or we may have discharged our obligations to close
friends & be ready to ask a stranger to dance. And after one dance you
are no longer a stranger.

                        Larry de Los Angeles
                        http://home.att.net/~larrydla
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Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 2000 21:02:58 -0400
From:    Eugenia Spitkovsky
Subject: women in waiting...


Dear milonga compatriots,

It was so much fun to read everyone's opinion on the topic of women
waiting to be invited... with a male escort, or more than just an
escort.... or before that...should women be self-advocates for their
dancing needs...or should they not be because in BsAs men would not dare
invite a woman with a male escort to dance...

How about asking a woman who is alone, waiting at the table, or standing
by the wall TO DANCE? She came to a dance, there must be a reason why
she is willing to spend her time and money on attending a tango dance!
Guys!!!!! No woman will think less of you if you are that brave. More
than that: No man will think less of you if he is enjoying his dancing
with another woman and his partner is entertained. We are living  in the
21st century! Women do not belong to men. They do as they please. The
worst thing that may happen, she'll say "no".

Recently I went to a milonga in New York City alone. Although I usually
dance in my home town ( I am lucky to have a partner who is a wonderful
dancer),  noone invited me to dance for a long time. I enjoyed myself
anyway: listened to live music, watched dancing, observed  people and
their interactions. Surely,  there were some male dancers who only
invited popular women. We all know why.  Yet, there were  men  who made
a point of inviting women that were not dancing much. These men just
went from one woman to the next and danced with her 3,4 dances. Women
were ALL quite happy after dancing with them.

Thanks to you, brave souls! ...your dancing pleasure was ours...
Eugenia

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Date:    Thu, 15 Jun 2000 01:26:23 EDT
From:    Mirella Massetti
Subject: Re: women in waiting...


In a message dated 6/14/2000 8:47:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
 writes:

" It was so much fun to read everyone's opinion on the topic of women
 waiting to be invited..."

Eugenia,
I couldn't agree more! We are either splitting hairs of complicating a very
simple issue. We are incouraged since day one to "change partners", so we do.
We learn to appreciate different styles of dancing, different leading,
different music interpretations and yes, new challenges, because through
those we learn and we become better dancers.
When we travel we visit the local tango communities. Can anyone explain why?
May be, just may be, because we want TO DANCE, meet the local tangueros/as,
and since we share the same interest, dance with them.
If after a few dances the man starts inviting other women, it means that the
woman is confortable with her escort dancing with other partners, and the man
is confortable with giving the woman the chance to experience the same.
Men never "sit and wait", women do. And forgive them when, in a new
environment, they are somewhat unconfortable to get up and ask gentlemen they
never met to dance.
And thank you for all the valuable advices: Sit up front, smile, make eye
contact, establish yourself - do men ever need to establish themselves? -
look here not there, show this, do that, shave, use a good deodorant, don't
eat garlic, freshen up if you smoke, don't sweat, brush your teeth, introduce
yourself, entertain conversations, be a good dancer, don't be such a good
dancer...
Sometimes nothing seems to work.
Make no mistake: we go to dance, just for that: To dance. As Eugenia said, we
can be entertained also by other elements: observation of dancers, the music,
getting to know a different tango scene, but our main purpose is to dance.

Mirella
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Date:    Thu, 15 Jun 2000 11:31:50 -0600
From:    Dave Schmitz
Subject: Re: women in waiting...

Ah Mirella, are you ever coming back to Colorado,
at least for a visit?

You wrote:
> Men never "sit and wait", women do.

Not true.  We do have a few quiet men, acceptable dancers,
who sit on the sidelines and watch and wait.

You are correct in that these guys are probably not
waiting to be asked.  But they are still sitting and
waiting.  For what, I don't know.

Courage?
A particular partner?
Someone to come over and talk with them a bit
and get to know them and overcome their shyness?

Dave Schmitz
Denver, Colorado
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Date:    Thu, 15 Jun 2000 15:18:34 +0100
From:    white95r
Subject: Re: women in waiting...


----- Original Message -----
From: Dave Schmitz


& Not true.  We do have a few quiet men, acceptable dancers,
& who sit on the sidelines and watch and wait.
&
& You are correct in that these guys are probably not
& waiting to be asked.  But they are still sitting and
& waiting.  For what, I don't know.
&
& Courage?
& A particular partner?
& Someone to come over and talk with them a bit
& and get to know them and overcome their shyness?


There is another reason to sit and watch and wait at the milongas. In Bs As
(and I guess anywhere else as well) it is very advisable to observe and
notice everything before jumping in the dance floor with the first person
one sees. As Dave already said, there are people who come to watch and not
to dance or just to keep somebody else company.

It is crucial to observe and notice carefully who dances with who and how
they dance. It is the sign of an inexperienced dancer to rush to the floor,
particularly at a strange milonga or one where there are a lot of strangers.
You want your first dance to be a good experience and to show that you can
dance. This is how one establishes credibility at milongas. If you rush to
the floor with an incompatible or inept partner, you hurt your chances (and
your partner's) for the rest of the evening. You also must learn how the
music is played and what you can expect. The music you dance to is as
important as the partner you choose.

Another important thing is (at least in Bs As) not to rush and start with a
lot of firuletes and sacadas (for the men) or high boleos or embellishments
(for the women). Please show respect for your partner and the rest of the
dancers. *Walk* your first tango with *any* new partner. Only the simplest
and best executed steps should be done. Choose your music carefully and
avoid difficult dances at first with a new partner. Even if you dance a
great milonga with traspie or can turn a vals with the best, your partner
might not have the ability or desire to do this. You find this out by
watching and observing.

Courage to the men, good luck to the ladies!
Great tangos to all,

Manuel
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Date:    Thu, 15 Jun 2000 11:59:49 -0700
From:    Linda Valentino
Subject: Women Sitting Alone, Etc.


Hola, Listeros:
I must be missing something here. It seems more than obvious to me that if a
couple comes to a milonga and the man dances with other women, then the
couple has made an agreement that they are both free to dance with others.
This is the United States in the year 2000. How many couples do you know
where the woman is so submissive that she will tolerate her
boyfriend/husband/partner dancing with all the other women, while she sits
obediently at the table, not allowed to dance with anyone but him? How many
women in the U.S. tango community would put up with this double standard?
With all due respect, I think that sometimes we take things a little too far
in dissecting all of the dos and don'ts in the tango culture. As I have said
before, one needs to use common sense, while applying that common sense to
the cultural traditions of the person you are  dealing with. For example:
women should feel free to ask an American male friend for a dance if they
know that the man doesn't have a problem with this. If you're not sure about
a particular man's feelings about this, you might say to him upon the first
greeting of the evening, "I'd love to have a dance with you sometime this
evening." Now you've given him a very clear signal. If he asks you to dance
later, wonderful. If he doesn't, obviously he's not interested in you and
you shouldn't ask him. Ditto for the men. If you have asked a woman more
than once, and she has declined, she's probably not interested in dancing
with you, so don't ask her again. It is always wise to refrain from directly
asking an Argentinean man to dance, as we all know that their culture finds
this offensive. If you wish to ask an Argentinean woman who is with her
partner, first acknowledge the man and ask "Con permiso?" or "May I?" or "Do
you mind?" and then ask the woman. This shows that you respect their
cultural traditions. No one (man or woman) should interrupt a couple who are
obviously involved in a private, intimate-appearing conversation. Wait until
a break in the conversation.  And (I hate to sound like a broken record
about this) DON'T ask visiting performers or teachers whose classes you
don't attend. The bottom line is USE COMMON SENSE when you go out to dance.
Many Happy Tangos,
Linda

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Date:    Fri, 16 Jun 2000 12:25:14 -0600
From:    "Bauer, Russell"
Subject: Re: women in waiting...


On Wed 6/14/00 11:26 PM, Mirella Massetti wrote:
>>Men never "sit and wait", women do.


On Thu 6/15/00 11:32 AM, Dave Schmitz responded by writing:
>Not true.  We do have a few quiet men, acceptable dancers,
>who sit on the sidelines and watch and wait.

>You are correct in that these guys are probably not
>waiting to be asked.  But they are still sitting and
>waiting.  For what, I don't know.


Dear fellow Tango Enthusiasts,

I would like to add my observations and thoughts on this subject, which is
quite different than what has been written so far.  I am a male.

Last Friday (June 9th) at the milonga in Denver, a lot of men were sitting
and waiting on the sidelines because the men outnumbered the woman by a
fairly large margin.  This is not the only tango event I've been to where
the men outnumber the women.  The practica in Denver this last Tuesday had a
few more men than women.  The milonga on June 2nd in Denver was almost even,
but I believe had a few more men than women.  The milonga in Boulder in May
had two or three extra men.  There have also been other events where there
were more men than women.  Of course, many times at the milongas, women
outnumber the men.  My point is that in my experience, it's not true that
there are more women than men at all tango events or even at almost all
tango events.  If there are cities with overwhelming number of women than
men at all milongas, then I would like to visit.

I realize that perhaps I take notice more when there are more men and so it
sticks in my mind more than when there are more women.  I would like to know
what the actual count of men and women who came to dance is at the milongas
and practicas.  I contend it's not so unbalanced - in the Denver area
anyway.  My guess too, is that there may be more women in the tango
community, but that more men come to the milongas more regularly.  I've also
notice that with live music, there are more women and with DJ'ed music there
are more men.

I also realize that when there are more men than women, men don't sit and
wait to be asked to dance.  We sit and wait to have someone available to ask
though.  I think that if you are woman, go ahead and ask men to dance.  I
don't see what the problem is with this  - (I was raised in the USA in the
sixties and seventies and not in Bs As).  Of course we can say no.

When men outnumber women at milongas, I get turned down for dances often and
frequently I am told "because my feet hurt".  So because women wear high
heels and her feet start to hurt when she dances a lot, when there's more
men than women, the problem gets compounded as the night go on.  Then again,
perhaps, when a woman says no and tells me because her feet hurt, she simply
doesn't want to dance with me.  Maybe the statement "my feet hurt" is sort
of similar to the statement "not tonight dear, I have a headache". :)

The ratio of men to women at the practicas and milongas that I've been to
vary.  But the classes I've taken the last six months from local teachers
here in the Denver area have had overwhelming number of men compared to
women.  Most of the classes I've have taken were taught my Tom and Cindy
Stermitz and Lisa Battan.  Frequently there are three or four extra men in
these classes - I think typically something like 14 men to 10 women, but
there have also been many times where there are about 10 men and three
women.  And one of the women was there to learn to lead.

Russell Bauer
Denver, CO
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Date:    Fri, 16 Jun 2000 17:33:14 -0700
From:    Alan Hu
Subject: Re: women in waiting...

> Date:         Thu, 15 Jun 2000 11:31:50 -0600
> From: Dave Schmitz
        [...]
> > Men never "sit and wait", women do.
>
> Not true.  We do have a few quiet men, acceptable dancers,
> who sit on the sidelines and watch and wait.
>
> You are correct in that these guys are probably not
> waiting to be asked.  But they are still sitting and
> waiting.  For what, I don't know.
>
> Courage?
> A particular partner?
> Someone to come over and talk with them a bit
> and get to know them and overcome their shyness?


This message hit home for me.  I recently got back from my trip to
Los Angeles.  Thanks to all the Tango-L folks who gave me great suggestions!
Alas, I didn't have a car, and I only managed to talk my never-tangoed-before
friend into going out one night (Pasion, on a Tuesday night, interesting
lesson that was beneficial to my two tango newbie friends as well as to
me, and some very nice music and dancing -- I had a great time).

I generally spend a lot of time sitting around and waiting at milongas,
and I especially did a lot that night at Pasion.  Why?  Shyness,
especially at a new venue.  I also enjoy listening to the music, watching
the dancers, soaking up the ambiance.  Some songs I don't want to dance
to, or don't want to dance with certain people (e.g. a milonga with my
tango newbie friends).  Sometimes I'll wait for a particular partner,
perhaps someone whose dancing I really enjoyed.  Sometimes I'll really
want to dance a song, but not see anyone who looks as if she'd like to
be asked.

And that leads to this thread in general.  I believe the question was
approximately, "What should a woman do to indicate that she wants to dance?"
I think the best way would be for her to ask the person she wants to dance
with!  Simple enough.  If that's not culturally permissable, how about
positioning herself so that she's easily approached and asked to dance?
At Pasion, I noticed a few women who were sitting out a lot, whom I would
have happily asked if I thought they wanted to dance with people.  But
they were sitting behind massive tables, not making eye contact, not
looking out for potential partners, so I presumed they were waiting for
specific people.  If someone wanted to be asked, sitting right by the floor,
or better yet, standing at the edge of the floor, makes it obvious you
want to dance.
                                        --Alan Hu
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Garrit Fleischmann Jun. 2000
Email: kontakt(at)cyber-tango.com