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Argentine Tango Dance Humor Inspiration Relationships

Relationship Lessons Gleaned from Lead/Follow Dances

Dancing Argentine Tango for seven years, many of my classes and workshops are on perfecting the skills of being a good leader and follower. I’ve noticed many of those lessons are good for relationships in general. While men are often leaders and women followers, anyone can lead or follow, so to be as all encompassing as possible, my references will be to leader and followers only, as opposed to gender. After all, I’m not North Carolina.

1. Both parties should stay on their own axis (balance). If you are leaning on your partner to the point they are having to hold you up, the dance will never work. Have we not all dated someone like that?

2. Leaders should not pull, push, shove, or otherwise forcibly try to get the follower to “get it”. I mention this since SC is quite high on the national list for Domestic Violence, and because reading followers posts, it seems to be epidemic. Maybe you really want to be in mixed martial arts or wrestling instead.

3. Stated differently in different languages, “the leader proposes, the follower disposes”. A lead is not a command, but an invitation, to which the follower accepts or rejects. (or maybe interprets differently then you intended in an even more lovely way) Followers, like people in bars, appreciate your picking up on this after your third invitation is rejected (or first). Know the difference between persistence and harassment.

4. If your lead doesn’t obtain the intended response, my advice is to consider this to be something you miscommunicated rather than an error on the followers part. Here’s why, there’s nothing you can do about an error on the followers part (during a social dance) , but there’s a lot you can do to make your non verbal communication skills better. In fact, one of the greatest benefit of lead follow dances is that you ACQUIRE non verbal communication skills. What married person wouldn’t like THOSE to be better? For themselves and their significant other (SO). For workshops, consider that most issues between couples are a combination of both parties. Take a “how can we make this better approach”, as opposed to a “you need to do or not do X,Y,and Z.” Even if it is one person’s issue, it’s easier to accept if determined in a cooperative format.

5. Likewise, as a follower, if you are confused by your partners lead, you can’t do anything about that in the moment. What you can do, is focus on what YOU’RE doing and go through your mental checklist: posture, balance, arm position, looking at partners chest, etc. Wouldn’t most relationships be better if we worked hardest at “fixing” ourselves, rather than taking our SO’s inventory.

6. Follow etiquette. “Etiquette is a code of polite conduct. If you practice proper etiquette, you are less likely to offend or annoy people — and you may even charm them.” https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/etiquette Rules regarding the dance moves in a counter clockwise circle, that one does not instruct during a social dance, that one doesn’t talk DURING the dance (before or after is fine) are all designed to avoid injury, and create an opportunity for everyone to have a pleasant social experience while dancing. While some neglect etiquette in relationships, one might argue that relationships need just as much etiquette as public situations. Like not talking during a dance. Who hasn’t been in relationship and far too often thought, “will they just not shut up”.

7. You will not have chemistry with everyone. This is not a surprise. You may even find that someone you had chemistry with at one time, you no longer do. Or you may find that they no longer have chemistry with you. Usually some distance is all that’s required. Stabbing, poisoning, shooting them is not recommended, nor is defaming them, trying to cause them financial ruin or slashing there tires. While intentionally hyperbole, anyone who’s been to divorce court knows exactly where I’m coming from.

8. Personal Hygiene. Who hasn’t wished this was a more popular endeavor in ALL facets of life. Whether dancing or in a relationship, applying the Golden Rule to yourself for any situation in which you will spend significant time cheek to cheek is not rocket science.

9. Your current lack of ability at “whatever” is not an excuse for not learning, participating or getting better. This is one of my favorites. When I tell people I take yoga classes, a typical response is “I can’t do that, I’m not flexible.” “Neither was I when I started, but I can now stick my head up my ass, and you’re apparently flexible enough for that”. Or, “I can’t dance, I have no rhythm”. Uhhh, that’s why you take lessons. Just say I’m not interested in that rather then suggesting a lack of knowledge is a good excuse. We could have all gotten out of public school if saying, “Wow, I can’t go, I don’t know math”. Over seven years, I’ve been told I have no rhythm, can’t move to a beat, act like I’m always at a funeral, lack musicality, have no creativity or imagination. And those comments were just from my former marriage.

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Argentine Tango Dance Humor

Men: How to know when your Dancing is Not up to Par and Needs Therapy

I arrived at my private Argentine Tango Lesson on Friday and said, “I need Tango therapy”. “What’s wrong?”, she asked. “I seem to dance fine at classes, but then I go to milongas [social dances] and my dancing just falls apart.” I’m not sure if it’s performance impotence or premature ambulation”. She laughed, then looked at me with that look that was a cross between regret that the ACLU provided the State an excuse to close all the mental health hospitals in the state and the look that says “I want to beat you with a tire iron”, which reminds me wistfully of my mother, who died in 1988, but all she said was “I’m not going there”. Then she said, “What do you think it is?”, to which I replied, “I don’t know, that’s why I’m here”. I love when you go to a doctor or other professional and they ask, “what do you think it is?” uhhh, if I had figured it out, would I be here? Anyway, she asked me how I knew my dancing was falling apart, then of course, she pretty immediately figured it out, and fixed it, which is why she is the goddess of tango and Zumba and all things dancing.

However, the rest of the day, I did reflect on her question, “how did you know your dancing was falling apart?” question, and it occurred to me that if SHE didn’t know how I knew, then maybe other guys needed some help figuring out when THEIR dancing needed some help. So, while I’m not expert, here’s just a partial list of clues you might focus on that’s suggestion your dancing at social dances needs some work. While this is taken from Argentine Tango, I’m pretty sure this applies to the Shag, Ballroom Dancing, Contra Dancing, maybe even free style, rock and roll dancing, as when it comes to dancing, I think women are pretty universal in this regard.

1. When most of the women you dance with, look at you at the end of the dance, like your neighbor does, when someone’s dog craps on her yard, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

2. When she gets back to the table, and takes out a voo doo doll that remarkably looks like you and starts sticking knitting needles through the groin area, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

3. When you’re dancing with someone you’ve danced with many times before, and both of you know things aren’t going well, and she blames the floor, the lighting, the humidity, and the recent outbreak of solar flares, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

4. When you go to a table where a lady you have previous asked to dance is sitting to ask someone else to dance, and the entire rest of the table gets overactive bladder and leaps to the bathroom likes the starting gun for the Boston Marathon has just gone off, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

5. At the end of the tanda, she looks at you and says “thank you”, but has that same expression on her face you saw those few days when Nelson Mandela died, this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

6. At the end of the dance, when she has that look in her eyes, like your loved one does, as if you just gave her a vacuum cleaner for Valentines day, instead of the lingerie, diamond necklace, and massage she was hoping for, then this is a sign your dancing is falling apart.

Hope it helps.

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Argentine Tango Humor

Some Musings on a Night of Argentine Tango

Some musings on a night of Argentine Tango. Dear Paula: since we started our Tango journey a month apart 4 years ago, I’ve enjoyed our unique friendship/tango connection, but after hours of research on the following arcane bit of argentine tango etiquette, and not finding any guidance anywhere on the internet, may I suggest that when I said, ” wow, that was the first time in four years I’ve been kicked in the balls doing a gancho.”; the proper response is not, “it’s all your fault, you didn’t open your legs wide enough”. Wow, really? But, I should digress.

(Please allow me just a moment of solemnity, as I would be remiss not to recognize Nina and Marie for their hundreds of hours of volunteer hard work to organize this wonderful weekend of tango Milongas and workshops with housing for all the beautiful tangueros from around the southeast and dale Ellison for hosting the milonga and as my tango and Zumba instructor putting up with my BS)
Allow me to briefly set the scene- Arthur Murray dance studio west Ashley, where the above floor Lego constructed wooden dance floor creaks like the bed in the next door neighbors hotel room where you swear to God Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are in there having sex with each other as if she really gave birth to those 9 kids. Ok, maybe having sex like she ADOPTED those 9 kids and the 7000 watt high intensity bulbs on the relatively short 10 foot ceiling, all trained on the 1975 John Travolta disco ball, are putting off enough heat that within 10 minutes we’re all sweating like 8th graders at their first school dance in a large concrete South Georgia gym in June with no windows where the air conditioner hasn’t worked in 3 months.

So, Paula and I were dancing a tanda (a series of 3 songs of the same style separated by a cortina where, in one song I led a gancho. As my wordsmithing abilities are not sufficient to describe what this looks,like, I have attached a brief instructional video at the end of this post, you can see the move in question @ 1 min 29 sec, you might want to take a look now, just so you can say, in your own mind, as I did, in mine, “OMG, how did that turn into a kick in the balls?”

I led the gancho, the testicular tap ensued, the comments above followed, and I briefly found my previously surgically removed tonsils temporarily replaced thanks to the back of Paula’s heel. (But very nice shoes they were). And I found myself feeling like a sexual assault victim who had “asked for it”. Now while I’m sure my lead was at least partially to blame, I more focused on a more appropriate reply, primarily as a guide for less experienced tangueros who may find themselves as either a testicular kicker or kickee. Despite the 29,472 instructional videos on Argentine tango and the 125,742 pages of floorcraft, terminology, etiquette, and technique; no one has tackled this problem.

My suggestions: “Are you ok?” Would be my top choice. “I’m sorry that happened”. Is another good one. Here’s some others you might want to avoid besides “your legs were too close together”. “Your too short and your balls are clearly too close to the ground”; “tee hee”; “it felt like I only kicked one, sorry”

Grand Milonga tonight at 8 pm. I’m wearing a cup.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.

Copyright 2013 lawrence a laddaga