Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nighthawks: Tangueros who pass on the Right

This is NOT a collision but close embrace airborne tango

Tangueros collide.  Cars collide.  Airplanes collide.  Birds don't.  Or do they?

Well, we all know that birds do collide into windows, right?  Because they cannot see windows.  And I collide into people who pass on the right on the outside lane of dance, especially when my partner is a tall woman because I cannot see.  Men who pass on the right are "Night Hawk Tangueros."   In some respect tango dancers are very much like birds.  Not enough, but there are some similarities.  We are doing pretty well, and maybe even better than birds, given the task at hand.

Milonga movement together by outsiders looks harmonious -- like birds flying in a swarm.  As non-bird beings, we have no idea how birds are pissing each other off by getting too close or brushing up to each other.  We, as outsiders, have no idea about the peloton of birds.  Who knows?  Birds may be like a "flock" of le Tour de France cyclists.  Very dangerous, aggressive and not at all like most tangueros.  Or so we would hope.

The other thing is that birds of a feather flock together.  Ever see of swarm of sparrows changing direction with a few pelicans?  Tangueros have all types of birds flying in one swarm.  We are not birds of a feather. We are even more amazing than birds, I think!

Tango Birds (the abbreviated list):
Pelicans:  Tango Nuevo dancers need more room and flap around a lot more.
Eagles: Salon close embrace make a V-shape in order to do some cool maneuvers.
Song birds:  Milongueros tweeting around in a little space, loving the "feeling" of being a bird.
Mocking birds:  Sitting down at the tables and talking about all the other birds who are flying.
Night Hawks:  Tangueros passing on the right on the outside line of dance (also called, "bats-out-of-hell").
Wise Owls:  The man stalled out on the milonga floor explaining his wisdom to a new tanguera.  (Birds staying in any one spot for too long leave droppings, so watch your step.)
Chickens:  Tango lovers on sofas, watching "Dancing with the Stars."  Birds that do not fly, but are birds.

Wouldn't it be great if were all the same kind of bird?  It's never going to happen, so do your very best.  Collisions do happen, but lets hope that it is rare.

 If you do ever shoot a Night Hawk, be sure to do a slow barbecue.  They are really tough.

Photo:  See for great professional photos.


  1. Mark! very good, I am sure that there are many more birds that you did not mention What about the one that takes 10 minutes to lead a move, when a song only lasts 2.5 minutes? And the one that wants all the other birds to see how pretty it looks on the pista? Oh! and the one that seems to be in constant need of matting no matter the season?... :-)

  2. @Dieudonne: Nice to hear from you! Remember, this was the "abbreviated list." You have spotted some other birds! The look-at-me bird is a peacock. What about the birds that just never stop chattering on the dance floor? Geese going north, I guess. You can hear them from miles away. But, staying positive, we are doing pretty well, considering our "flock" is more like a menagerie in a zoo. :-) See you soon in Austin for the Spring Festival. Ciáo, Tanguero!

  3. If you are in an inner lane and stayed there, and the lane outside is faster there is nothing wrong with this. Just don't zig zag between them or create a lane not there.


Please leave a comment with four options:
(1) Here on the blog.
(2 & 3) On the links given above for Facebook/Google+ links.
(4) Comment via email at, which with your permission, I can paste into comments.