Sunday, June 6, 2010
I Feel Blame in Your Embrace
¿La Culpa es Mía?
A favorite tanguera of mine wrote on Facebook, "Great tango vals class with Fulana today. She is very precise, and places the onus where it should be: on the lead."
I hope so much that it is not too late to convince my tanguera friend that believing such a statement will eventual suck every bit of joy out of her dancing.
Teachers that find it necessary to blame into the dance hurt both leaders and followers. Women who place onus on men create performance anxiety. In the long run these ladies will not get what they need on the dance floor or in bed -- or in life. Men will get in an argument which they will not win because so much responsibility is theirs. Yet, isn't blame childish? At least it is uniformed. Modern tango is a conversation, and blame is not a part of an enlightened conversation.
The Onus Theory is an educational, pedagogical theory. Please prove this theory with a demonstration of 100 women. If the onus is truly 100% on the lead, 100 women (trained or untrained) should execute what the perfect tanguero leads with precision. The Onus Theory is also an anthropological theory: The study of human behavior and the interplay of roles. Again, the onus or burden being alone on the male role is uninformed anthropology. Poor politics, poor marriages, poor work environments, poor production levels, poor team sports -- all are based on what this teacher has espoused in the Onus Theory.
I feel blame in her embrace
Nothing has to be said. I intuit the woman who believes this uninformed (but oh so handy) Onus Theory. I am forced to focus only on the music and the community of dancers around me because I am dancing with a ghost. The typical Onus Woman will either find her joy only in teaching or give up tango within seven years, I believe. I feel truly sorry for her. She is the classic victim. "I am not having fun, and it is his fault. Tango is no longer fun for me. I quit." The burden was on him to keep her joy of dance. Her tango is already soulless before she gives it all up. I feel it in the way she responds, the way she looks at me, the way she is not fully present.
The tanguera who wrote the above words is not that kind of woman. On the contrary, she is wonderful. She melts her right hand into my left like few women I have known. She gives herself fully to my embrace. The last time I danced with her she even apologized and said she hadn't been able to dance much because of a tragedy in her life, and she said she could feel my improvement. Yet, evidently the female teacher so impressed her that she started to believe the myth macho of tango: "Me Tarzan; you Jane. I talk; you listen." It is not Organic Tango, which is a sharing of the dance "conversation's" success not a burden on one role. (See a definition at http://www.organictangosf.info/organic.htm and my own at http://tango-beat.blogspot.com/2010/05/organic-tango-inspired-by-women.html.)
Only the Hard Headed Survive
Tango has a high drop-out rate because of the feeling of an onus both on women and men. They leave and never come back. In salsa that is not true at all. It is better for me when there are more leaders. At the last milonga I danced with nearly every women. I sat out two tandas. There are simply not enough leaders. Is it the onus they feel? The woman has a hard task -- just as hard to learn as the man's part. But why the blaming when things go "wrong"? Even these "wrong" moments have created things like volcadas.
Taking the Onus Seriously
Lately, all of the classes I have been going to are full of men trying to get better. Where are all the women? A tanguera explained: "Well, I don't know why, but many women get to a certain level, and then they enjoy a free ride with the good male dancers." Another onus? At least in my town, men are doing their best to learn their role.
Gentlemen: If you are blaming your partner, putting the onus her to get your lead, you needn't say anything. Ladies: If he is entirely to blame for why his lead was not clear, you need not say anything. Your partner can feel it in your embrace.