Monday, September 8, 2014


Life is not complicated.  The best advice is the most simple advice.

In personal finance matters, no doubt everyone has heard the advice: "Spend less than you earn".  Yet, levels of personal debt are always reaching new record highs and a third to almost half of Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck.

In terms  of personal health, everyone knows that in order to lose weight, you have to "Eat less calories, exercise more".  Three years ago, I lost fifteen pounds over a year's time and kept the weight off since then by simply not snacking, drinking water instead of sweetened drinks, eating balanced meals, and by being less sedentary.  I didn't have to attempt any fad diet, do any bootcamp exercise or try risky diet pills.  It worked for me, but when a friend of mine asked me for my secrets and I told her what I did to slim down, she stared at me in disbelief.  "What, no snacking?  Not even a little bit?  You can't NOT SNACK!"  It was like I was asking her to give up her firstborn.

In Tango, the best teachers give simple advice.   As Osvaldo and Coca always say to us, "LISTEN TO THE MUSIC!" and "BE MORE GENTLE!"

"WHAT?!???!!  I don't have to pay a million dollars, or waste time on hundreds of hours of private classes, or listen to bullshit metaphysical lectures by half-baked tango 'professionals' mixing post-modern philosophical theories with exotic eastern spiritual concepts for the secret of dancing Tango well?"

Yes, we are giving away the secret for free!  BUT IT WON'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE to 99.999% of Tango dancers anyway!  Everyone in Tango has probably heard one time or another the same kind of advice, and yet why are dance floors all over the world replete with dancers who are dancing like they are DEAF, who are also violently shoving their partners to and fro big manic grins on their faces?

The answer is simple.

It is easier to succumb to pressure of keeping up with the Joneses and buy the latest gadgets, handbags, clothes, dream cars, dream houses, and live the lifestyle you can't afford filled with expensive restaurant meals, daily gourmet lattes, and frequent luxury travel so you can fit in with your friends and acquaintances who are also doing the same thing and not saving a penny towards emergencies or retirement.

It is easier to satisfy your cravings for sweet or crunchy or convenient foods laden with empty calories and sit and watch marathon hours of tv and gain five pounds a year than to be active and eat right.

It is easier to disregard the music because you are too busy showing off all the steps (totally unsuited in a crowded milonga setting, by the way, but you were too busy showing off to notice) you have paid good money to learn at seminars or plundered off Youtube.  What is skipping a beat or two when you can draw attention to yourself and feel like a superstar?  It is easier to fling your partner around like a rag doll instead of treating her with respect and learning how to lead her properly and communicate with her.  You can push and pull her with all your might, no need to treat her like a flesh and blood person with feelings when it is easier to manipulate an object!

I tell you, the world is mad, mad, mad and people are crazy, crazy, crazy not to follow the simple advice to make things better.  Instead of doing things simple but right, people complicate things with their excuses and delusions and that's when things go wrong.

Over the weekend, we were assaulted on the dance floor by a leader who thinks he is an absolute hot-shot.  He has been terrorizing the dance floor for months with reckless tailgating, hazardous movements, weaving in and out of lines of dance and leading his partners into high boleos and kicks.  Every one we have talked to shake their heads when we bring up this guy.  Some have said, "I have been trying to get out of his way all night! I don't want a collision or to get my partner hurt!"  Others shrug their shoulders in exasperation, "What's up with him, is he nuts doing all that dangerous stuff on the dance floor?"

The guy tailgated us and led his partner into the usual dangerous high kicks and boleos.  We don't want to get sliced by his partner's stilettos so we told him to stop and control his movements, but he acted like he had every right in the world to do what he did.  Despite the warning, he tailgated us AGAIN in the next tanda and this time, he kicked me in the shins.  When we confronted him with this, his response was "What's the fuss?  YOU'RE JUST JEALOUS OF ME!"

Talk about staring in disbelief when we heard him blurt this out!  Any sane person would be embarrassed if they were dancing like this guy.  If we danced like this asshole we would want to COMMIT SUICIDE and all our teachers would disown us!  Instead of moving smoothly with cadence, he was always a furious frenzy of jerks and tics and twitchy spins.  Instead of dancing to the music, he was too busy shaking his booty and doing a tap dance to care about the beat.  Instead of embracing, he pushed his partners outwards so he could have space to execute his big flashy movements while staring with admiration at his feet!  Don't even talk to us about emotion, because for all his emoting "LOOK AT ME, I AM (SERIOUSLY) DANCING TANGO" - there was NONE.  He was too busy starring in his own internal "Tango Extravaganza Show" to be DANCING TANGO.

You would think it would be simple to respect others on the dance floor, to dance with care and not do anything that injures or may injure others...well, we have found out that the answer is NOPE!  It is IMPOSSIBLE - when you are too enthralled by your illusions of self-grandeur!

It is easier to self-inflate and believe you are dancing like the second coming of Pablo Veron...than to actually dance well.


AlanJonesj said...

Hey,Irene and Man Yung,I'm a Jones,:-),but not one of the ones ahead of you! In England I call it 'lession obsession',where dancers go to all the
privates/workshops,hope you're well,from Alan Jones in England...

jessiechung said...

Dear Irene and Man Yung,

Again, compliments to your writing. It's the best after dinner entertainment I can think of. We agree completely with your ideas. We hope that jerk didn't leave a mark on Irene's shin. We have a tango friend who once seriously considered hiring a hitman to take care of a crazy and dangerous tango leader who really terrorized the dance floor. Luckily, this crazy dancer switched to different venues and is still alive. We heard one of the milongas here has its tango police now. The host is ready to give you a speech if you commit too many errors.



Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Alan Jones,

Thanks for checking on us! Our genius Toronto dancers not only attend all the private and workshops, they also study and copy stuff off Youtube and inflict all that goodness on other dancers in crowded milongas!

Thanks for your comment,

Irene and Man Yung

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Dorian,

The best thing that a milonga organizer can do is to speak to his/her milonga patrons when they are misbehaving on the dance floor, so that the safety of the dance floor is maintained for everyone. This improves the quality of the milonga and the quality of everyone's experience at the milonga. We can't stand it if a milonga organizer spots something wrong and doesn't say anything to the offender because 1) they are too shy, 2) they are "buddies" with the offender, 3) the offenders are local or visiting teachers/professionals. If you make an exception for one asshole, then all the other assholes will have a field day everyone will be overcome with dangerous unbridled exuberance. All the good well-behaved dancers will stop coming to your milonga and all the jerks will eventually move on to the next hot milonga in town because that's just their nature to want the latest, new fangled thing. Pretty soon you won't even have a milonga.

We applaud the tango police you have in your community!

Thanks for your comment and a big hug to both of you,

Irene and Man Yung

Toronto Weather

Buenos Aires Weather