Sunday, January 19, 2014

Green Vegetables, Radishes

Some things in Tango are just unpalatable

Man Yung says that there's a saying in Chinese: "Green Vegetables, Radishes: Each to his own taste."

Everybody has their own preferences.

We have pretty specific things we like in Tango, and things we don't like.  Nevertheless, we couldn't care less what other dancers prefer - so long they aren't charging into other people on the dance floor or acting in a threatening, disruptive or space-hogging manner.

However, a problem arises when the organizers of our favourite milongas bring in guest teachers that they think are the bee's knees - and that we think SUCK.

What if the guest teachers teach stuff that they say can be danced socially, but in fact cannot? "Why should you care, you won't go to their classes anyway!" you say.  We might not be going to their classes, but if somebody goes and learns how to do "The Cool Helicopter Move!" (or some other stupid dangerous Tango stunt) and proceeds to execute it in the milonga - should we punch out the ignoramus or the person who taught the ignoramus?

And what if the guest teachers are asses and insist on doing their thrilling impromptu stage show on a crowded dance floor? What if the guest teachers refuse to end the pre-milonga class until a good half hour after the milonga has started?  What if the guest teachers look utterly disgusting and disrespectful of the milonga - like they can't be bothered to shave or put on clean, unwrinkled clothes?  Trust us, all of the above and more have actually happened in Toronto before.  Should we say something to the organizer, or should we not?

And lastly - what if we don't want to watch a show by a guest teacher who in our opinion should get two thumbs down, way down?  No, we don't want to watch "Tango 'n' Comedy",  "Tango 'n' Football", "Tango with Gimmicks", "Trendy Tango", "Tango with gratuitous underwear flashing or even nudity (lucky you!)",  "Unoriginal Tango Show copied off a Miguel Zotto extravaganza", etc. etc.  We just want to dance, and not only are we losing a precious quarter to half-an-hour of dance time to a "Show" we don't want to watch, we may even be forced to PAY EXTRA for the privilege of seeing something that would make us want to wash our eyes out afterwards!

Yuck.  How could we say anything negative to the organizers, who may be our friends?  Don't we have to continue to live with them and their milonga after the newest flavour in Tango has left town?  Organizers have invested a lot of time and effort to bring these people in and they might even be friends with the visitors - not only will they not likely to rein in their guests' bad behaviour (or bad dancing), they will definitely be upset if you dare to criticize. Once, Irene had the foolishness to be candid to one organizer who was pushing classes by some guest teachers who (in our opinion) were just not that great.  Black stormclouds with lightning bolts immediately gathered over the organizer's head and we had to flee or get struck by lightning!

Would you say something?  Or would you just stay away from the milonga until the circus has left town?


Martha said...

Dear Irene and Man,
I must say I agree with your comments 100%, sometimes you wonder....

FYI the video below says its private when I try to open it.

Best regards,

David G said...

I suggest all visiting teachers should demonstrate their competence in the real world by providing a video of them dancing in the clouded milongas of BsAs. bet they would not do it.
David Owen Australia

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear David,

We agree with your suggestion! Difficult to impose this criteria in real life though... our local organizers are sometimes so eager to get either 1) big names from Argentina or 2) argentinos, any argentinos at all (for cheap) they wouldn't care so long someone is coming. They will hype obviously "nothing but stage pyrotechnics! I have no idea how to dance in a crowd" dancers as "authentic true Argentine Tango social dancers" if that would draw people to attend the classes and workshops. We hear this BS all the time, sometimes we have to sit at a milonga and hear the little speech by the organizers with all this nonsense hype/marketing, as if we were idiots who wouldn't be able to tell the difference when we can see with our own eyes the collisions that visiting teachers are causing on the dance floor. Unfortunate.

Thanks for your comment!

Irene and Man Yung

tangogeoff said...

I think that voting with your feet is the only way. Once things are said it's difficult to unsay them. Perhaps organize your own milonga so you can set the rules yourself? It worked for me!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Tangogeoff,

You are right about voting with your feet, you just have to let the market forces come into play, and hope that there would be enough like-minded people so that things will improve to your liking instead in the opposite direction. It just irks us to stand by and watch 1) our favourite traditional milongas being invaded by clearly non-traditional guest instructors/performers and 2)the regulars of the milonga getting fed up with the carnival and not coming back, ever! The people make the milonga, and every person less makes others more likely to leave too, until the milonga has to close down.

Haven't thought about running our own milonga, we applaud you and the brave souls who have and wish you all success!

Thank you for your comment,

Irene and Man Yung

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