May 08

The joy of a mindful floor craft

The more I go to milongas, the better I can see and appreciate a good social milonga floor craft. This means that I’ve started cringing when I see people switching back and forth between lanes, overtaking, and making everyone else in the dance floor cautious about getting hurt. Truth be told, I may even not dance if two or more couples of kamikazes are on the dance floor. It’s just not worth it.

I’ve been reading a bit on blogs about how you behave and respect others on the dance floor. This of course implies that you can dance small and are mindful of everyone else in the floor. I see a lot of debate about what makes a great dance which always include, obviously, how you approach and dance with your partner. You need to put your heart in it. I don’t – at least as prominently – see people talking also about how social dancing implies everyone else on the dance floor. It is totally different to dance in a smaller setting where you are totally relaxed, not worried about anyone hitting you or being less mindful and a more guerrilla dance floor where you want to have a great dance but you know some kamikaze may ruin it.

I get joy of respecting and sharing the same floor in a respectful manner with other dancers. They are my tango friends and peers. Why isn’t this respect more widespread and why isn’t tango culture doing a better job at cultivating the joy of a shared experience? It is real.

May 08

Trapped between two couples

bell shaped curve

During a milonga, dancers on the floor tend to follow a bell-shaped curve. This means that at the peak time, there’s very few space for each couple on the dance floor. My ability to drive around the dance floor is still improving and I feel that my most common “mistake” (or less considerate action) is to not occupy the space left ahead of me as quickly as I should. Happens more often if I’m having a blast and doing very small and simple stuff on the spot. 🙂

But I’d like to bring your attention – and help – to another matter. Sometimes, I will get a couple that is right on top of me, just behind me. As in, 1 inch. I like to keep a small space between me and the next couple. Enough for him to setup a giro, 1-2 small steps, etc. At yesterday’s milonga, for a couple of times, the couple behind me was just right next to me, giving me virtually no space. Is this normal? What’s the best way to cope with this?