9 mar 2008

Call it tango karma. Last night, The Late Shift. Arrived around 1 AM. The scene was unusually light, maybe 30-40 people, tops, and leader-heavy. Got there with an itch to dance but ended up sitting the whole night. I think perhaps my reputation as a reluctant dancer is biting me in the ass. Also I could be misreading a lot of signs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when a woman says she's "tired" I always took that to mean that she didn't want to dance right then, at least not with me. Or when I overhear someone turn down a dance invitation from someone else to say she is going to sit for a while, that means she's going to sit for a while, instead of accepting a dance the very next song. In both cases I never press the issue but that almost always ends up with me missing out. Or does it mean I end up not being the one burdening a woman with a charity dance? Whatever it is, the one thing it does mean is that I don't dance. El planchador.

Ah well. If that's one of the unfortunate consequences of my innate tendency to be finicky, so be it. I have tried it the other way--looking to dance when I'm not really moved to, with dancers I don't know or have connection issues with, to music that doesn't speak to me in the moment. Those encounters always left me with a particularly unpleasant resentment.

Maybe not exactly along the same lines, but lately I've also been struck by hearing things along the lines of, "I would like to dance with you, but only when I get better," or when I get a shocked expression when I invite someone. Bottom line, there's really nothing special about my dance, and especially when I'm dancing with someone who I'm still adjusting to (which is almost everybody) my dance is really basic. Think slow dancing at the prom basic. In fact, the only one I can really cut loose with is my regular practice partner A, and even then only under particular circumstances. So generally, I don't think that if anybody is missing out on a dance with me they're missing out on anything that they couldn't easily find elsewhere. But also the implication is that I'm considered something of a doyen in the community, which I certainly don't feel. Granted, I've been involved for longer than a lot of folks (c. 2000) but my level of involvement considering that time has been relatively light. I'm definitely not in the same league as folks like Nora, Homer & Cristina, Julian Miller, Felipe & Rosa, Rina, Marcelo & Romina... the list can go on and on. In Bay Area Tango High School, I'm probably a junior. But still, that shouldn't intimidate the freshmen and sophomores.


tangobaby said...

Hi Malevito,

I'm sorry that you've felt rebuffed. It's uncomfortable as a follower to turn down a dance, so I can't imagine why someone would be so insensitive to immediately get up and dance with someone else.

I wish I had gone that night...I might have had better luck getting dances. I would have enjoyed dancing with you, I'm sure.

If you are a junior in high school, sometimes I feel like in the Special Ed class. Or the kid that gets bussed in from another district. I hope you have better luck this week.

Malevito said...

Hi TB, how are you?

Thanks for the sympathy, but really it's not necessary as I wasn't actually rebuffed. It was pretty much just me being way too sensitive and perhaps reading things the wrong way. Like the "tired" thing, it's not that I asked anyone to dance and they responded by saying they were tired, but just that they mentioned they were tired in the course of conversation so I didn't want to burden them by asking them to dance.

And the thing about the sitting, it was more that I was situated close to someone who I may have liked to dance with but overheard them tell another person they were going to sit for a while, so I refrained from asking. In those situations, I always felt that even if the person was making an excuse but really wanted to dance with someone else they would still choose to sit for a while to "save face," so to speak. So I figure I won't ask, at least until the current tanda is over. But, of course, that just doesn't work a lot of times.

My approach to social dancing is a lot less aggressive than probably most guys. I'm not one to do the "hunting" thing where I walk around looking for someone to dance with, and I generally don't propose a dance if I haven't initiated things with a greeting and a little bit of conversation to break the ice. As such, I dance almost exclusively with friends. Lucky for me, I have a lot of friends in the community.

Hey, the kid that gets bussed in usually has a different and refreshing perspective on things. Home crowd exclusivity can get a bit familiar, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, thanks for writing, hope to see you out there soon :)


tangobaby said...

Hi Malevito,

Well, as usual, your reply is always well-considered and you seem very sensitive to other dancers.

I'm glad I over-interpreted the situation and it's not as bad as all that.

I didn't know you could cabaceo in a post, but hey, let's go!

Alex said...

Hola malevito...

I can totally identify with this post...it sounds like I am reading about myself...I, too, sit a lot...

Malevito said...

Hi Alex, how are you?

Well, I don't know how it is for you but I can be very happy just sitting, watching the people dance, listening to the music and soaking in the atmosphere. Some of my friends chastise me for sitting *too* much. "You've been sitting for YEARS! GET OUT THERE AND DANCE!"

But honestly, I feel no pressure. I like for every dance I have to feel special. They all have to mean something for me. So I'd rather keep it based on inspiration and serendipity. Because I know myself, and if I were to ever allow this thing to get too casual it would just die for me. I'd get bored with it and move on to something else, and who knows what it would be at this point.

Anyway, thanks for reading.