Thursday, 25 September 2008

I feel mauled

I felt like he was leaning over me, bending me forcibly, wrapping around me and expecting me to do the same; it was too impertinent, too uncomfortable, I was being mauled by an octopus, and I protested.

He said I should have told him with my body, and I was very 'quiet' to dance with. I thought I'd already gone as stiff as a board without getting the message through, but he'd only just started the octopus act and there hadn't been time to do anything at all. I tried dancing louder anyway, with some success, although he still wasn't really hearing me. Perhaps I need to be physically stronger? Am I too quiet? I don't know - I haven't been dancing particularly well lately.

What does it mean to be quiet? I think I understand how to dance louder, and I think I managed it, but is being quiet a bad thing?

It's true I don't like the dramatic style that feels like a fight. Dancing with me is not like dancing with a doll. Well, I don't think so. But it's tiring to have to shout; I can't express myself at all.

And actually, I really hate people wrapping their legs around me and expecting me to create the same fake, disrespectful, tasteless drama by wrapping my legs around them. I know they think that's what you're supposed to do so that you're dancing tango, but I don't agree; I think you can do it if you both like it, but it should be kept for someone you dance with regularly and you are damn sure likes it as much as you do. Not a total stranger who's agreed to take a punt on you, when you're new here, and nobody's seen you before, at the risk of getting hurt, and embarrassed, and told how she's in the wrong by all those people who say bad dances are always the woman's fault for being the first to dance with someone she hasn't seen, and not being Mother Goddess World Police so that the men will have incentives to get better. When someone takes that risk for you, you don't have the right to use her body like that. And don't you know that other people, who dance well, will never dance with her, because she had the generosity to take that risk? And that makes her not good enough for them? Who do you think you are? What's so hard about being a bit more respectful, for the first tanda?

To be fair, I had made an important technical mistake; trying to get a milonguero/salon connection with someone who isn't transmitting it and has no idea that it's even possible. It took me a while to realise that that was the problem. I think he had a rather shoulders-forward, head-down posture, although not so much as some. I do find it very hard to get a good connection with this; I feel like washing hanging on a line. It worked much better when I broke the connection, hinged out, faced right and downwards so that my forehead was pushing against his cheekbone, watched the far side of his body, including his feet, and followed that with my eyes (along with the push from his skull). That gave me a lead - if I tried to get it from his torso it was late, vague, scrambled and scary. I wish I'd thought of it immediately and not had to say anything. But it feels like fake tango to me - as though I was acting. Once you know how to get the other kind of connection, it's hard to go back and you really wonder why you're bothering.

I feel a bit downhearted tonight.


Anonymous said...

Oh Ms. H! I know just the kind of dance you mean. I don't know that there is any one way of dealing with such moments, but it sounded like you find the best way.

Regardless, it does leave you feeling more like crumpled laundry than a Goddess.

Claudita said...

Oh, dear, yes! As for 'dancing loudly' - as far as I'm concerned Tango should never feel like a fight. One of my teachers said to me - yes, try and tell them with your body...but if they are not prepared to listen, there is not much you can do..

I'm going to stop here because I can feel a little seed of anger trying to grow in my guts..

Hope you will dance with someone soon who takes care of you and makes you feel that you are, well, dancing.

Anonymous said...

On 'dancing loudly': Tango is a conversation and you shouldn't have to talk over someone.

Anonymous said...

Oh, some people are hopeless. Plenty more fish in the sea.

As for feeling like you're not dancing so well - I usually take that as a sign of transition. You have to be able to feel a problem so that you can progress.

Elizabeth Brinton said...

Gosh you guys! What you do is say "thank you" and your are done. It's the only way they learn.

cindy said...

ms h, i feel you!!!

La Tanguerita said...

Quiet is good, quiet is subtle. It’s much more to discover to “quiet” than to any kind of glaringly obvious danced “statement” put out there on the dance floor for everyone to see.
Cut the tanda short and him out of your mind.
I hope you don’t feel downhearted anymore.

msHedgehog said...

I feel a better now for all your hugs. I don't normally do this sort of "ow" post but I'm glad I did.

The 'nuclear' option of ending the tanda early is still not one I take unless I'm feeling a lot more confidence than this. But this is probably a situation in which it would make sense.

tg said...

Oh dear. But I don't think you should hesitate to end a tanda early. 'I'm sorry, I can't follow these advanced steps...' and walk away. In a social dance no one is likely to notice. It happens.

I don't think that kind of tango can be led: at heart it's stage, staged, choreographed. To dance it unchoreographed means to be at arms length, looking down at the feet, the leader using a follower to show his skill: it's not particularly friendly. Most leaders I've watched in that kind of dance lead with their arms, heads down. Well-choreographed stage tango looks much more harmonious.

Dancing 'quietly' may be your tango; anyway, the tango you dance is the tango you've found, that suits you. It'll appeal to some leaders, and not others.

Anonymous said...

My heartfelt sympathy. A polite thank you and graceful exit should convey the message loud and clear.