Just about the dance

I was six months in Buenos Aires and returned in March this year - dancing the tango with 256 different men. Yes, 256, I counted them (I don’t know the names though…) With some of them I only danced once, with others the 3 song session. And every time it was a new dance for me - a new man and a new dance. 256 different styles, embraces and …. smells! Every time one takes you to the dance floor you dance the ‘close embrace’, no option you have to get close and FEEL it.

The first dance is often a bit difficult, the second one gets a little better and with the third one you know where he leads you. Then the session is over and another dance/man arrives.

I attended the World Tango Festival in October last year (2006) and from there onwards ‘enjoyed’ the many milonga places Buenos Aires has to offer (especially for those who know El Beso and La Viruta). All you do is make some time available and go there to dance. Strange, but in Buenos Aires there is no problem to go there as a women all by yourself … with your tango shoe bag hanging down your shoulder. I liked El Beso because it has a good mixture of tango dancers from all over the world. La Viruta is simply seductive and hot and they play mostly the romantic and slow Carlos Di Sarli tango music; a place to meet young and sexy people (they open at midnight and close at 6AM).

There is no conversation, no word too much, no looking around to find a lover for the night etc. but someone to dance with – that is all you want and do at the milongas in Buenos Aires. I found it was a very focused environment and I never saw anyone drunk or ‘hitting’ on a woman - the dance is all that matters. No jealousy, no competition everybody enjoys the tango and is happy to meet other people that tango as well.

Also in Buenos Aires everybody, so it seemed, attends Tango classes and never did I hear anybody claiming a certain ‘status or level’. One is there to dance and to learn, the learning never stops. No arrogance and no competition.

Back in Johannesburg I realized that the Tango scene is a bit different. Some places see a good dancer as competition and one is not ‘allowed’ to bring a ‘teacher’ into another studio. (…it happened to me…).

I also see that we do not have enough men on the dance floor and the few we have are overloaded with demand. Well I guess the demand is a positive one for the man… or is it? And with that demand women start to count how many dances they had with one man. Who dances with whom and how often have we now seen them dancing together….?

This creates an atmosphere filled with possessiveness, jealousy, competition and desperation…

I miss Buenos Aires, the easiness and the possibility to dance whenever you want and with no agenda, just the dance… and no competition for men. Don’t think that all the men I danced with danced well, no - you find every level there on both sides – men and women - but somehow they all manage to dance without criticism and attitude.

I am sure most men also just want to dance and not get into any complicated conversations and responsibilities to buy women a drink afterwards etc. I even cannot remember anybody flirting, it is just about the dance. And that is what I remember, you go there just to dance.

What I also realized (by looking into many eyes ... waiting) is that the Tango provides an opportunity to get close to another human being. We all have a basic need to feel safe and warm in someone else’s arms, even if it is only for a couple of minutes. I guess going back to the basics again, woman also enjoy a good lead. Yes, some women also want that leadership on the dance floor, a man that knows where to take them in every aspect … in life and in tango.

Women do not get that so easily nowadays (well, most women I have spoken to are all still searching and hoping that one day Mr Right comes along) and therefore the world is not a happy place. As we know from Bert, women lead on the emotional level and maybe it is because we as women are not happy and satisfied? How well do we know what he means by that…. lead on the emotional level?

Where I come from the women are very self sufficient and don’t need a man to define them. We grow up being able to maintain our own lives and not depending on a man. And yet when it comes to the tango, every woman wants to close her eyes and just feel a man’s lead. We want more men, we need more men….. just to dance with (and maybe a little more…). Where are they? How do we get more men…?

How do we get more men interested in the tango so that we all have enough different men to dance with?