Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Tango Menace

The Tango Menace is familiar to all who have spent much time dancing Tango. This is the person who constantly bumps into other dancers, or who uses more than his share of the floor - who causes confusion and sometimes injury. Usually he is the leader, since the leader has most control over the shape of the dance.

 Learning to handle The Tango Menace is a necessary skill for any tango community. But there are different types of menace, and they require different handling. Here are some of the most common.

 The Beginner Menace

It  is just a fact - new dancers on a crowded dance floor are a menace. They do not yet have the skills necessary to navigate a crowded dance floor, and are concentrating so hard on what they have recently learned that they really can't pay attention to where they are going.

 The solution: Give them plenty of space. The good news is that beginners tend to be fairly predictable, so you can usually avoid problems by not crowding them too closely. Encourage your beginners to dance at the beginning of a Milonga when the floor is less crowded, and avoid later hours when there are more people on the dance floor. And teachers, introduce the concept of good floor-craft EARLY.

The Ego-Driven Menace

The ego-driven menace is often an excellent dancer. He is frequently a superb performer, and many women love to dance with him. The problem is that on a crowded dance floor there is no room for individual ego.

The focus on a crowded dance floor should be on becoming one with the room - dancing with every other couple on the floor. This concept is foreign to the ego-driven menace.

The ego-driven menace seldom collides with other dancers. He is too competent for that. But he leaves multiple collisions in the turbulence of his wake, as he uses far more than his share of the floor, and dancers are driven to take unexpected steps in order to give him room.

The solution: An intervention. Have a respected member of the community, preferably the organizer, meet with the offender and explain that his dance style is causing problems for other leaders. This has to be very direct. A general announcement to the community will have no effect, since the ego-driven menace will never believe you could be talking about HIM.

Chances are, even if an intervention is handled reasonably tactfully, the ego-driven menace will get insulted and find another place to dance. Problem solved.

Very rarely, the ego-driven menace is the local dance teacher or organizer. You might still try an intervention, but it is unlikely to be successful. If you have the option, dance elsewhere. Otherwise, do your best to avoid this menace, and be hyper-alert when he is on the floor.

 The Clueless Menace

 This leader has studied Tango for years, danced in numerous places, and runs into people wherever he goes. He cannot help it. He has no spacial awareness, is lacking in coordination, and has little ability to improvise on the fly. And it is unlikely he will ever be able to change.

Solution: Stay out of his way. There is nothing else you can do but give him plenty of room. There is no point in trying to correct him; it won't work.

 The Weaponized Menace

 This is the follower with 3 inch stilettos, who loves off-the floor embellishments and high boleos. She is especially dangerous when combined with an ego-driven leader. 

Solution: As with the ego-driven menace, an intervention is the only solution. Explain that on a crowded dance floor, heels must remain on the ground, even if the leader is trying to fling them around in the air. A follower is responsible for her own weapons. She is well within her rights to refuse a gancho or to keep all boleos small and on the floor when dancing on on a tight floor.

 It is often up to the organizer and the experienced dancers to set the tone of the milonga. If the best dancers are dancing conservatively and thoughtfully when the floor gets crowded, the example they set will encourage others to do likewise.

No comments:

Post a Comment