|ALREADY SITTING TOO LONG?|
"Oh, please. Three teachers
with three songs each?
I could have stayed in bed or
have gone to a Zumba class."**
I am not the only one. Many seem to prefer to suffer in silence rather than challenge what appears to be a majority of adoring tango show watchers. But what would happen if a show at a festival or an encuentro were offered as an option. Maybe the majority isn't truly the majority after all.
Wouldn't it be nice if organizers would simply give it a try? It would be easy:
1. Offer at registration the option for participants to continue dancing in another room rather than go to the performance.
2. Then repeat the invitation to continue dancing in another room or to stay for the demo/performance at the registration table.
3. So as not to offend the performers, announce the performance or continued dancing one tanda before it begins, so those who want to dance can escape unnoticed.*
Why have I never seen any of these options at any event that plans a performance? If nothing else, I would like to know how long will it be? A recent milonga in Strasbourg, France had a great performance, but it went on too long, and THEN, the organizers came out and danced for everyone. Given the option, I would have been dancing even during the remarkable performance because even more remarkable than a performance is just dancing.
Tell us the duration! If we know how long the one-couple milonga will go on, we can time it with going to the restroom, getting some fresh air, going to sit at the bar, or going to visit our children if they are not too far away. You think I am being sarcastic? The tango show went on for two hours at the Fandango Tango Festival in Austin, Texas in 2011 (now in Dallas). I ate, and then slept for 45 minutes in my hotel room. I ran down, sure that I was late for the dancing. I wasn't. The show must go on, and on, and on . . . and it did! For another hour. I played with a teacher's children who were bored stiff. That was more fun than watching a tango show.
Envision with me a festival performance. The organizer announces that the room will be split for those who want to see the performance and those who prefer to dance. In the US this is feasible at most festivals in large hotels. Wouldn't it be interesting if 80% of the people decided to dance? But why embarrass the performers? Just offer continued dancing at registration, at the door, and announce the last tanda before the performance.
It's been done! Tangosutra in Washington, D.C., had great milongueros from Argentina, and featured having no performances. What a relief! I don't come to see teachers dance by themselves. I like to see how they can dance among others -- the real challenge of practicing what they teach. That is what I saw. I was inspired to dance near them, and feel the way they dance with the community. On the other hand, I have experienced some of the worst (asocial) floorcraft from professional milongueros after their performance. We were all in the way, I guess.
I complimented a man at the Tangosutra Festival (called an encuentro in Europe) without knowing that I was complimenting a tango teacher from BsAs. Without knowing who he was, I said, "I love dancing near you. You have excellent floorcraft." He had a little smile, and I realized he was probably an instructor. His behavior on the social dance floor was the best teaching ever, the best "demo" ever. Later he showed me how to protect a woman from a dangerous "rogue" dancer. You can look up the list of instructors at that 2011 festival. The teacher mentioned is a both excellent teacher and a humble man: Maxi Gluzman.
Performance at a milonga should be an option. Wouldn't it be interesting if 90% of the people decided to stand up and dance rather than sit down and watch? Dancers can vote. We can "vote with our feet":
Let your graceful feet do a tango walk to the other room. Dancing? Now that's remarkable.
*If an organizer cannot do these options, the next option is to ask what people want, and that may mean not to have a performance!
Photo credit **Online News. :-)