Why I do not dance much

This text will have some redudancy with some of my other texts such as "How I started tango and photgraphy".

Main reasons

One thing that is not always clear to people who have never seen me dance (or just didn't pay attention while I was dancing in front of them) is that I do not need to make my "first steps in a milonga" any more. I first started tango and then, months later, I started photography due to tango. Not the other way around. So I already dance a bit, though I do not have much motivation for it now.

Unlike some people, I was not born a dancer. I could even say that I was born a non-dancer and that I can live without dancing. It is not something any teacher, dancer or orchestra can do much about. Regarding most dances, and espescially "shaking" dances, I do not understand at all why music should induce movement to my body. It does not mean that I do not feel the music or the atmosphere, I just do not feel the movement. Hence, for a long time, I was afraid of dancing places and hated it when people insisted dogmatically that I "just had to let go" and that I would be dancing. In tango, it's different, I understand movement a little better. Though I still do not like when people get dogmatic about tango, or about anything actually.

However, I do not consider myself a really good tango dancer either (especially regarding musicality). I need to spend a lot of time per week at it before I feel like "I'm dancing a little bit". But after summing the time that I already dedicate to work *1, to sleep but not enough *2, to study (I guess I'll stop studying next year), to photography/video, to other things I do and yet things that I want to/should do but that I already don't... I do not have enough time left to decently practice tango. Hence I don't actually feel like I'm dancing, I'm not necessarily satisfied with what I do. And so dancing tango as a regular dancer has become one of many things I would like to do but I don't have enough time to make them right. I still follow more tango classes by night and in multiple school (at least two), as I always found it useful to combine different approaches, but this year one weekly hour in one school is already enough in my agenda.

Secondary reasons

  • Crowd density
    • When you have a big camera in hands and somebody wants to dance, it is not necessarily easy to find a place to drop it. In a crowded place, it may take one or two songs.
    • I do not like dancing in an undercrowded space where I feel too observable. Espescially at the beginning of a milonga when I feel that everybody is fully awake, and there are just a few couple to watch on the dancefloor.
    • I do not like dancing when it's too crowded either. But I guess nobody does.
  • Milonga and vals
    • I do not enjoy dancing milonga. It is too rythmic for me. However I enjoy hearing milonga and shooting milonga tandas as they usually make happier faces.
    • I would probably enjoy dancing vals but tango is my priority over milonga and vals. And there are few milonga and vals classes. Hence, whenever I have a milonga or vals class, I feel like I am re-starting something from the beginning again and again, or nearly from the start. (During milonga/vals classes, out of extreme boredom with these styles, it happens that I dance straight tango movements in the middle of milonga/vals.)
  • Photography and videography impact on my perception of tango
    • My perception of tango is biased by working on too many maestro videos. I tend to want social tango to have as much energy, precision and vocabulary. Things I'm unable to do by the way. *3
    • If one of you objective is to film a good video of a maestro show, the few tandas before may be quite too stressful to dance. Having the material ready to use, finding a good place trying not to disturb too many people, usually not being sure when it will start exactly,...
    • (...)
  • People keep telling me that it's all about repeating simple steps on the "compás". After one song I get bored of "repeating simple steps".
  • I got a few health complications that make dancing "not-as-enjoyable", sometimes.
  • Even when I want to dance, I rarely want to dance for long.
  • Some times it happens that I feel like would actually like to dance. But let's suppose there is a milonga at the same time and that I get out in the cold, get my car, go the milonga etc. When I'll arrive, it is quite possible that I'll be in a completely different mood. (Already happened.)

Why I enjoy tango anyway

Apart from shooting photos and videos.

  • I still enjoy learning it. (Just milonga classes are a nightmare where I wish I was in a tango class or in my bed and would wake up.)
  • I still enjoy watching some dancers (not all) and maestros (not all either).
  • There is music but you do not have to scream to get understood.
  • There is no social pressure pushing alcohol drinking. (It's not that I do not drink alcohol at all, but I've had enough already in certain contexts.)
  • People are usually well-behaved.
  • I like the music, including milonga and espescially vals, it may even be better with some live orchestras. Though I don't listen to much tango outside of tango events and I think it's sad that it is so much stuck around its "golden age".
  • Even when you are used to it, it's still amusing: all women in tango exist in at least two distinct sizes... tall (with high heels) and shorter (without high heels). Beware that if you tell something to one version, the other version is immediately aware of it too.
  • Good milongas have coffee. (Actually, I am trying to stop coffee ... again!)

Conclusion

This may make it seem like life is much complex. But I enjoy complex things.

My motivation for actually dancing tango may come back, I hope it does, but for now it depends on many factors, some of which are out of control (and I do not see this getting easier before 2017). It comes and goes, but since some time it goes more than it comes.


TC, March 2016
Last modification, April 2016

  • *1 Photography is not my profession.
  • *2 "Sleep is for the weak." That's what I tend to think until I realise that I really need some.
  • *3 One that I like to tell is: one of the last time I tried to dance in the milonga, it was in the middle of the big room during the Brussels Tango Festival. In the crowd, I forgot things ... I could still do my "basic" stuff. "Basic" ochos, "basic" giros etc. But after some time I tried to remember some more sophisticated stuff. A few meters away were Noelia Hurtado and Carlitos Espinoza and a little bit further was an advanced local dancer (Stephane V.) with a follower who I didn't know. Seeing those two couples in front of me, I got totally confused. I thought "This isn't the same dance that I am trying to remember!".

Extra long version(not ready)

I had planned two versions of this, one extra short and on extra long which looked more like a texte than bullet list. But, because I am not sure if I will have time and inspiration to complete the extra long one, I did the short one a bit longer. And that's all there is for now.