Thursday, 1 September 2011

Another visitor

I run into a woman from Scandinavia I danced with a few times on my last visit. I'm surprised to see her again and wonder if she lives here now, but it turns out our visits have coincided. I remember she speaks surprisingly little English for a Scandinavian, but is fluent in Spanish, and I discover she's actually Latin American by birth, and grew up in Europe; part of the diaspora from the bad years, no doubt. Would she want to live here? Emphatically no: after over 40 years, she tells me, she considers herself European. & she asks if I live in BsAs since she finds me here again: emphatically no! If I lived here I'd be fluent in castellano, and I might even be a passable tanguero too. She's come here for just two weeks to dance a bit, and it's really sad to see how little she gets to dance. She's an excellent dancer and knows the music really well, but she's not young and attractive. She has a few friends here who enjoy dancing with her, but it's a real shame she doesn't get to spend more time on the floor.


Anonymous said...

I've met quite a few younger women through tango over the years who said that one of the attractions of dancing tango is that you can do it for a very long time, even when you get old. However, eventually every woman learns that it gets more difficult to get invited when you grow older, I assume. But so far I thought this was less of a problem in Bs As. How sad to read about your Scandinavian friend's experience.

tangocherie said...

This is a perfect example of someone who could have enjoyed the accompaniment of a taxi dancer in the milongas.

Even if a woman is young and pretty, she doesn't get asked to dance that often until she's seen on the floor dancing.

Your friend probably just needed to put herself out there (unless, I'm sorry to say, she is very heavy.) But a taxi dancer helps in that case too.

Many women on short dance vacations in BsAs use them.

Anonymous said...

That might be an option for some women, but I can also imagine it to be very disappointing for others who - after having travelled all the way to BsAs, hoping to find a different situation than the one they know from home, real dancing after all - are unwilling to then pay someone for dancing with them.

tangocherie said...

Well, ok then, they can sit out their vacation. It's a small price to pay to do what they came to do--dance. What did they pay for their tickets?

And usually after being seen on the dance floor, then they are asked to dance by others.

Chris said...

TC, your comment about "being a passable tanguero" makes me wonder what you mean by 'tanguero'. To most, it means a man immersed in tango. As such, there's no mark to pass.

Sorry to hear about your friend's disappointment.

Anon, there's different and there's different. I doubt she felt disappointed when she started dancing at home and had to pay for a teacher. As Cherie says, when starting dancing in BA, many pay for a partner. This is a culture with a strong tradition of paying for partnership. :)

Anonymous said...

@tangocherie and chris
TC writes about an 'excellent dancer' who 'has a few friends who enjoy dancing with her', so she must have been seen on the floor dancing. Hence she is obviously neither a beginner nor a good example for someone in need of a taxi dancer. Moreover, being European and /not/ used to paying for partnership, she probably prefered sitting out many dances to being accompanied by someone she has to pay for it.

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks, as always, for the points of view. I suppose my post was on the theme of 'life can be unfair'... But it's part of the wider theme of 'getting dances in BsAs' which I've got notes on to be sorted out.

Just for the record, the comment by Anon immediately above sums up very clearly my own feeling: my friend does get to dance (and not only with me) but not as often as I think she deserves. & I agree that she'd probably prefer to watch than to be noticed dancing with a taxi dancer. Of course it depends how the taxi option is aranged, but I'm not sure it would have been the right option.

tangocherie said...

If your friend was happy with her tango experience in BsAs, why are we discussing it so much?

It's just that often tango tourists arrive here with unrealistic expectations. "I'm attractive and a great dancer; ergo, I should be asked to dance for every tanda."

But it just doesn't work like that here most of the time. There is no stigma in dancing with a paid partner for part of the evening, especially if he is a recognized, well-known excellent professional dancer. Dancing with such a man shows off the lady and makes the other men want to invite her. And that's what she wants, right?

Too many Anglo-Saxon fears prevent lots of folks from getting the most they can from their two week tango trip to BsAs. They are afraid to stare at possible partners in a cabeceo, they are afraid to pay someone to make them look good, etc.

Whatever works, I say.

Tangocommuter said...

If this reveals anything, I think it suggests that tangocherie should write a post about taxi dancers in BsAs, as she seems to know about it. Of course her comments here are very welcome but it seems the topic is worth a full post. (Maybe I've missed it.) She mentions only male taxis; and what about the convention that non-couples dance no more than twice together in an evening? Chris also suggests he has first-hand knowledge too.

I can only repeat; I felt sorry my friend didn't dance more. What she felt I've no idea: she might have been perfectly happy watching, as I have been myself, so I can't agree that she was 'a perfect example of someone who could have enjoyed the accompaniment of a taxi dancer' as I simply don't know. & although dancing with me wouldn't do her any favours, she had a porteno and an Italian friend, excellent dancers both, who danced with her when they were present so she didn't lack the chance to be seen on the floor. & she's certainly no newcomer to BsAs.

tangocherie said...

TC, I did write a post on this topic in 2007:

Sounds like your friend had a good time and worked it all out for herself. Why are we all so worried about her? :)

Anonymous said...

If this reveals anything, I think it suggests ... that your style of writing and your way of dealing with the various comments makes reading your blog really worthwhile. I don't know what 'Anglo-Saxon fears' are, but I know why I like you Brits so much. ;)

Chris said...

"Chris also suggests he has first-hand knowledge too."

No, Chris did not suggest that. I said only "many pay for a partner". I have not done so.

Tangocommuter said...

Anon (5 September): many thanks for your kind remarks!

Chris: you said 'This is a culture with a strong tradition of paying for partnership' which suggests that you know something about this culture.

& I didn't use the word 'friend': she's someone I've met and danced with a few times.

I'm sometimes astonished by the interest that posts attract! I hope we can send this one to bed now.